When you’re pregnant, you have plenty to worry about—what will things be like when your baby is born, what will you name your baby, what color should you paint the nursery, what things will your baby need—so the last thing you need to do is add worrying about varicose veins on top of everything else.
Varicose veins commonly develop during pregnancy due to the pressure your growing uterus puts on the large vein in your leg. That pressure makes it tougher for blood to flow through your circulatory system, increasing the chances that one of the valves in your leg veins will fail. When blood valves fail, blood pools in veins, and those veins appear through your skin as varicose veins.
Though you have an increased chance of developing varicose veins while pregnant, there are several easy things you can do to prevent varicose veins so you don’t have to add one more thing to worry about to your list.
Alternate Sitting and Standing Throughout the Day
Standing for long periods of time and sitting for long periods of time are both common causes of varicose veins, so try to alternate your position throughout the day in order to avoid being in one position for too long. If you are too tired to stand up and walk around—something especially common in the third trimester—prop your feet up above your hips while sitting to make it easier for your blood to make its way from your feet back up to your heart.
Avoid Wearing High Heels
When walking, the pressure of your heel hitting the floor helps propel blood from your feet back up your legs by contracting the muscles in your calves. However, when wearing high heels, calf muscles stay contracted, making it more difficult for blood to move naturally through your lower circulatory system. Avoiding wearing heels while pregnant will improve your body’s ability to properly circulate blood and will reduce your likelihood of developing varicose veins.
Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping on your left side at night will decrease the amount of pressure your uterus places on your large leg vein and will help promote proper blood circulation while you sleep.
Eat Foods Rich in Fiber
Straining because of constipation while pregnant can contribute to varicose vein development, so make sure you’re eating plenty of high-fiber foods to promote healthy digestion. If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your daily diet, check with your obstetrician to find out if it’s safe for you to take a fiber supplement while pregnant.
Know Treatment Is Available
Even if you end up developing varicose veins, there’s still no need to worry. Once your baby is born, you can have your varicose veins treated to get rid of them. Current procedures for varicose vein removal are safe and effective and require very little recovery time. To get an idea of how much treatment might cost, check out our varicose vein treatment cost calculator.