How to prevent varicose veins, swelling and spider veins during pregnancy

How to prevent varicose veins, swelling and spider veins during pregnancy
Varicose veins, swelling and spider veins are common in legs of pregnant women. In addition to unpleasant symptoms, their cosmetic appearance often worries future mothers. With adequate care, these problems can be minimized and even avoided.

During pregnancy, increased levels of feminine hormones are the main cause of varicose veins, swelling and spider veins. Hormones exert their effect on veins causing dilation and fluid retention. In the end of pregnancy, the enlarged uterus also compresses the abdominal veins, causing swelling. Both hormones and enlarged uterus cause appearance of new veins and also cause enlargement of preexisting varicose veins. They appear most commonly in legs, but can also be present around vagina and anus (hemorrhoids).

The following measures will help to minimize these unpleasant problems and to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy:
  • Do not stay standing or sitting for long periods.
  • Avoid excessive weight gain.
  • As much as possible, point your toes and feet down and up. This movement helps to activate venous circulation.
  • Lie down and raise your legs. Ten minutes two or three times a day should be enough.
  • Exercise yourself. Physical activity improves circulation and avoids swelling.  The best exercises are those with low loads and a lot of repetitions.
  • Sleep on your left side. In the end of pregnancy, lying down on your left side relieves the pressure that the uterus exerts over abdominal veins.
  • Wear compression stockings. They can relieve swelling, avoid spider and varicose veins and prevent venous thrombosis. Ask your doctor about which stocking is appropriate for you.

Removing varicose and spider veins during pregnancy is not recommended. Fortunately, most of them disappear spontaneously in up to six months after delivery. Some spider and varicose veins may persist after this period. Procedures can remove them with excellent esthetic results. Ask the vascular surgeon about that.