You've probably heard of it or know what it looks like. Like many things, it's better to prevent than to cure and that includes varicose veins. During pregnancy your body goes through major changes and every woman reacts differently. Pregnancy-related ailments are all around you, so it's important to keep moving and give your body what it needs. In this blog we explain how you can reduce or maybe even prevent varicose veins.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are dilated veins and are usually found in the legs, but also sometimes occur in the pubic area or lower abdomen. In the veins there are some sort of valves and when the veins widen, the valves no longer close properly. This causes an accumulation of blood and these accumulations further dilate the veins until eventually varicose veins occur. This manifests as writhing, bluish-purple blood vessels and can look like lumps (Thuisarts, 2017).
Varicose veins during pregnancy
Here we go again, because varicose veins is another crazy phenomenon that is more common during pregnancy. In fact, 5 to 20 percent of pregnant women are diagnosed with varicose veins. Women then experience heavy, tired or swollen legs during pregnancy (Medi, 2020). Causes varicose veins:
- Hormone levels: which changes during pregnancy and this causes the vessel walls to become weaker.
- Growing uterus: Because the uterus takes up more space, the blood has more difficulty flowing from the heart to the legs. Which causes congestion in the legs.
- Amount of circulating blood: the amount of blood increases in the mother when she is pregnant.
- Increasing weight: as you gain weight during pregnancy, the pressure on the legs increases.
(Maurice Clinic, 2020)
Reduce or prevent varicose veins
It may seem like this ailment is just around the corner right now, but by applying the following four things in your daily life, varicose veins may just pass you by, diminish, or even limit them.
- Keep moving. Consider pregnancy gymnastics, walking, biking or swimming.
- Do not sit or stand still for too long. And especially don't sit with your legs crossed, this will restrict your blood circulation.
- Support stockings can help. Wear these from the third month of pregnancy until two months after giving birth. Or even until the end of the breastfeeding period.
- A pillow under your legs. On the couch and in bed, put a pillow under your legs so they are higher.
(Maurice Clinic, 2020)
To get straight to the point: varicose veins are not treated or surgically removed during pregnancy. This is because varicose veins often disappear on their own after delivery. If this is not the case, you can request a duplex examination six months after giving birth. During this examination, the situation of your legs is mapped out and a treatment plan is drawn up (Maurits Kliniek, 2020).
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. In addition to causing unpleasant symptoms - such as pain, itching or restless legs - with it, many women also find it unsightly and a sense of shame is built up. Varicose veins are basically harmless, but if they persist, bleeding or inflammation can occur in the long run. So move around enough and throw those legs up.
Maurice Clinic. (2020, June 24). What about varicose veins during pregnancy? Maurice Clinic. https://mauritskliniek.nl/blog/spataderen/hoe-zit-het-met-spataderen-tijdens-de-zwangerschap/
Medi. (2020, February 6). Blood vessels and pregnancy. Webpage. https://www.medi.nl/gezondheid/gezond-leven/zwangerschap/bloedvaten-zwangerschap/
Home Doctor. (2017, June 30). I have varicose veins | Thuisarts.nl. https://www.thuisarts.nl/spataderen/ik-heb-spataderen#:%7E:text=Wat%20zijn%20spataderen%3F-,Spataderen%20zijn%20verwijde%20aderen.,aderen%20zetten%20nog%20verder%20uit.