What You Can Do About Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

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Varicose veins are a very normal response to pregnancy. What can you do about them?

Varicose veins are normal – we’ve all heard of them and we’ve all seen them.

Along with the joys of motherhood and the excitement of the coming of your new baby, some unpleasant side effects come along with pregnancy (the article Everything You need to Know About Varicose Veins in Pregnancy here in The Pulse will give you a great background).

At first, it can look just like an ugly scar that won’t go away.

Soon, it will become uncomfortable, throbbing or pulsing whenever you move.

They are veins that have become enlarged and filled to the brim with blood.

Varicose veins look swollen, big, raised from the rest of your skin, and they are often blue, purple, or red. The reason they can have a blue color is that the blood that is stuck in the vein is deoxygenated because it wasn’t recirculated.

The veins can be in your legs, ankles, and even your nether regions. As if that’s not bad enough, varicose veins can also be painful.

The real question is, what to do about them?

There are so many articles on what they are and how they happen, it is difficult to find constructive ways in which to handle them if you do have them!

We will discuss long term solutions and then go over some ways to handle varicose veins without getting procedures done:

Procedures:

1. Ligation and stripping the vein: This involves making small cuts over the veins, tying them off, and removing the veins.

2. Stab avulsion, also known as phlebectomy: This is when multiple small incisions are made in the skin so the varicose veins can be taken out.

3. Lasers: Lasers can be used on the outside of the skin to take care of smaller veins, or it can be used inside of the vein to force them to close up.

4. Foam or chemical sclerotherapy: This uses foam or a chemical to harmlessly close off the vein by damaging and scarring the inside of it. This method works best if the vein isn’t too large.

5. Radiofrequency ablation: Radiofrequency is used to scar the inside of a vein and help close it up. This method works well for big varicose veins.

However, if you do not feel comfortable getting procedures done or would rather not, we have put together some other solutions to handling your condition with minimal pain or embarrassment:

  • Think about your diet and change if necessary.

Instead of having ice cream every day, whip up a fruit salad or blitz a deliciously refreshing smoothie. Eat healthier and try and minimize your high sugar and processed food intake.

  • Drink!!

Yes, I know, you’ve probably heard this mantra half a hundred times before but drinking plenty of water really is that important. Especially during summer, when you will naturally perspire a little bit more- make sure to keep up your electrolytes.

  • Clothes matter.

Wear loose and flowing skirts and pants.

In addition to covering up your veins if you would like, loose bottoms do not constrict the blood flow to your legs even more than it already is. Tight clothing will only restrict your circulation even further and make the problem worse. Instead, why not consider a nice maxi dress or cargo shorts?

  • Sunscreen!!!

This is one of the most important tips I can give you.

Sunburn on its own cannot cause varicose veins, although it can seriously damage your skin which will affect the tiny blood vessels beneath the skin’s surface, giving rise to the appearance of spider veins. Sunburn naturally increase the temperature of your skin and dilate your blood vessels. Heat is not good news for your varicose veins, but sunburn also carries an additional risk of added inflammation.

Your body will perceive that a part of your skin has been damaged and will instigate an inflammatory immune response.

Not only will this enlarge your veins, it will also flood your system with inflammatory chemicals and upset your symptoms, perhaps even causing unwanted pain and discomfort.

Varicose veins are a very normal response to pregnancy. Oftentimes they heal after pregnancy and after the added weight is gone.

However, it is not uncommon for them to not disappear within the first couple of months post-pregnancy. If so, the procedures and tips mentioned earlier will be just as helpful.

Shoshi W.
Shoshi is an undergraduate student at Stern College for Women in New York City. Her areas of interest include policy, non-profit organizations, and administration. During winter 2018, she was a White House intern. Shoshi has also interned at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and at Save the Children in New York. As a millennial, Shoshi brings a young and fresh perspective to the worlds of pregnancy and lactation.

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