Preparing for Changes
During pregnancy, women’s bodies go through many changes, some are noticeable—the baby bump—but others you may be less aware of. Pregnant women experience an increase in blood volume and fluid. This fluid can remain in the interstitial spaces of the tissues, which may cause swelling, often in the legs, ankles and feet.
Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
Hormonal changes and weight gain are two factors that contribute to the increased development of varicosities (causing varicose veins) during pregnancy. Many times varicose veins will become apparent during pregnancy and disappear soon after the baby is born.
Pregnancy and Deep Veins
A less common, but very serious, condition a woman may develop during pregnancy is Deep Vein Thrombosis (Blood Clot). A DVT is a blood clot (thrombus) that has formed in a deep vein. Although a DVT can occur anywhere in your body, it usually forms in your leg. If a DVT breaks loose and travels to the lungs it is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). A pulmonary embolism is a very serious condition and often fatal. Diagnosis and treatment of a DVT is meant to prevent PE.
Symptoms of DVT could be silent or could be symptomatic, such as pain or discomfort in the leg, or if blood clot travels to the to lung, you could experience a shortness of breath or a rapid heartbeat. Contact a medical professional immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
Managing Varicose Veins during Pregnancy
- Exercise daily – perhaps by taking a brisk walk. Movement is important to improving your circulation.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Elevate your feet and legs above the level of your heart at the end of a long day on your feet.
- Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time or cross your legs.
Use Compression Therapy
Worn during the day, compression stockings counteract swelling and protect you from developing varicose veins by applying a light, soothing pressure to the exterior portion of your legs, which helps prevent fluid from accumulating.
Compression stockings also help support the calf muscle, which is also known as the second heart. The calf muscle is the main source in moving blood through the deep venous system in your legs back to the heart.
Juzo maternity graduated compression stockings are specially designed to expand with you during pregnancy, so there is no restriction in the abdominal region. You also can wear knee-high stockings in your last trimester. They are easier to get on and off.
If you’re pregnant and experiencing varicose veins, tired, aching legs or excessive swelling in the lower legs and ankles, ask your OB/GYN or primary care provider if you should wear graduated compression stockings. You also may want a vein specialist to evaluate your symptoms.