The changes that occur during pregnancy are so rapid, and often unexpected, that they can catch a woman by surprise. Between the swollen feet, expanding belly, heightened olfactory senses, extra hair growth, and sensitive stomach, a woman’s body completes a massive hormonal shift that prepares it to host a new life and deliver it safely into the world. One day you’re able to reach your legs for a quick shave, and the next you feel a foot jab your internal organs that makes it impossible to reach the same angle.
While many of these changes are temporary to keep your baby safe and healthy, they can provide unwanted side effects that you don’t want to keep after your pregnancy. One such side effect is spider veins and varicose veins, which can occur for the first time during pregnancy. Along with stretch marks, varicose veins in pregnancy and spider veins in pregnancy are some of the ways your body shows the stress that it has taken on during your 9 month journey. At the Vein Treatment Clinic, we have developed a treatment program to address spider veins and eliminate both the discomfort and the visual aspect that can make these veins unappealing. First, we will walk you through what causes these spider veins, what natural treatments you can pursue, and when it’s time to call a vein expert.
Why Do Spider Veins Occur During Pregnancy?
As your uterus is rapidly expanding to host your growing baby, the blood flow in your body also increases. At the same time, your progesterone hormone increases, which relaxes the walls of your blood vessels. Veins are the vessels that have to return blood back to your heart. So, this means that the blood being pumped back up your legs has to fight against gravity, your increased weight, and weakened blood vessel walls.
Another natural cause that places pressure on your veins is your uterus, which puts pressure on right side of your body, pressing on the major vein that returns blood to your heart. All of these factors combined cause valves, small one-way doors within veins designed to keep the blood from moving backwards, to bend. In turn, this traps the blood back in your veins. When you see the “spider web” formation on your skin, it is actually blood trapped from a faulty valve. While your body is preparing for the birth of your baby, it has also created the perfect conditions for the birth of spider veins.
How to Naturally Treat Spider Veins
If you’re finding spider veins in places that you’ve never seen them before, you’re not alone. Not only have many other pregnant women encountered this issue, but it’s likely that someone else in your family has as well. Spider veins are partially hereditary, so you can give your mom a hug not only for going through the same pregnancy issues that you are, but also for the new “guests” that have appeared on your legs. If you’re looking to alleviate the appearance of spider veins, you can utilize the following tips:
- Change your position if you feel that you’ve been sitting or standing for too long. A good idea is to set an alarm on your phone once an hour to make sure that you’re getting up and moving.
- High heels always look spectacular, but you might want to retire them for the next few months. Elevated heels put increased pressure on your calves and ankles, which are already under a lot of stress. Stick to flats or kitten heels to reduce this unwanted pressure.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! Consult with your vein doctor to see what programs are right for you, but keeping your body moving is great for your overall blood circulation.
- Maternity support hosiery or compression stockings can provide additional pressure needed to keep your blood flowing in the right direction.
- Reduce your sodium intake as much as possible. We know that salted, buttered popcorn sounds like a heavenly treat, but it will increase water retention, as well as decrease your veins’ ability to properly return blood due to swelling.
- Not only does elevating your legs feel great, it’s also a super tip for improving circulation. Add this to your hourly “get up and move” routine to give your legs some relief.
- Sleep on your left side, which will reduce pressure on your large abdominal veins.
When Should I Consult a Vein Expert?
Spider veins are not only a cosmetic problem, but they can also cause your legs to feel heavy, restless, and painful. Even if you follow all of the above tips, it still may not be enough to combat spider veins and varicose veins in pregnancy. If you are feeling self-conscious about your spider veins, or if they are becoming sore on a regular basis, it’s time to consult a vein doctor to discuss your options. If you have spider veins that persist or are painful after your pregnancy, know that multiple pregnancies can often exacerbate these pre-existing spider veins and make them worse. At the Vein Treatment Clinic, you will have a private consultation with one of our academically trained and board certified doctors to come up with a treatment plan that best suits your needs. Compression hose and elevation alone are often not enough to combat spider veins, and the experts at the Vein Treatment Clinic will help you feel great about your legs again.
Even though pregnancy re-shapes many parts of your life, it doesn’t have to re-shape how you feel about your legs. Reach out to the vein doctors at the Vein Treatment Clinic to see how we can help you eliminate spider vein pain and re-shape your confidence.