Essentially, varicose veins are swollen veins caused by increased fluids, increased venous dilation from the pressure of an enlarged uterus, and increased body weight pushing down on the main pelvic veins. In and around the anus, these are referred to as hemorrhoids, and in the vaginal area are called varicoceles. Sorry to say, but if you have them, they will typically become increasingly worse as you near your due date.
While varicosities usually improve after birth, there are some things you do to mitigate or even prevent them from occurring in the first place.
- Support stockings/Compression Hose — Put these babies on first thing in the morning and wear them until bedtime to help prevent fluid pooling in the legs and feet.
- Elevate Legs — Whenever possible, put those feet up.
- Periodic Movement — Similarly, regular movement such as a short brisk walk will help keep blood flowing and prevent clots.
- Shifting Weight — If you must stand for prolonged periods, shift your weight on each leg from side to side. Incorporate a chair into your new routine for occasional sitting.
- Weight Management — Try to stay within weight gain guidelines outlined by your caregiver. The less you gain, the less you will need to carry around.
- Keep Stools Soft — At all costs, try to avoid straining during defecation by keeping your stools soft. Stay well hydrated, eat extra fiber, and use a stool softener like Colace. For flare-ups, soothe with witch hazel pads or hemorrhoid medication. For any medications, use them as advised by your practitioner.
Remember to mention any concerns you have to your caregiver.
- American Pregnancy Association - Week 34
- WebMD - Varicose Veins