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Pregnant? Here’s How to Minimize Varicose Veins

Continuing to exercise can help to minimize varicose veins during your pregnancy.

Continuing to exercise can help to minimize varicose veins during your pregnancy.

First-time expectant mothers obviously expect their bodies to undergo lots of changes – weight gain, hormonal fluctuations and mood swings being chief among them. But there are a few pregnancy-related quirks that can come as a surprise. One of these is varicose veins developing in the legs – a condition that affects nearly half of all pregnant women.

Your veins work nonstop to pump blood from your extremities back up to your heart. Their job gets tougher during pregnancy for several reasons. First, the amount of blood in your body will increase upward of 45 percent during your pregnancy. To put that increase in perspective, consider that non-pregnant women typically have about 100 milliliters of blood per minute flowing through the uterine artery, while expectant women pump 120 ml per minute by the sixth week of pregnancy, hitting 350 ml per minute by the third trimester. All that extra blood places a far heavier burden on your veins.

Meanwhile, your rapidly growing uterus isn’t helping matters. As it grows, it presses your inferior vena cava (that’s the large vein on the right side of your body), placing even more pressure on your leg veins. Pregnancy also means a boost in levels of progesterone in your blood, which causes the walls of your blood vessels to relax. All of these factors combined mean that your vessels, veins and valves are working in overdrive to keep blood flowing normally. Eventually, the extra effort takes a toll. Blood that’s unable to flow quickly back up to your heart will begin to pool backward, forming varicose veins.

But there’s good news. First, most new mothers see their varicose veins improve or even disappear altogether within three to four months after giving birth. Varicose veins that persist are easily treated with sclerotherapy, a minimally invasive procedure that works via a saline solution injected into affected veins. Plus, there are multiple ways to help avoid or minimize the development of varicose veins during pregnancy.

  • Continue to exercise daily during your pregnancy, with blessing and instruction from your doctor, of course. Just a brisk walk around the block helps tremendously.
  • Don’t let the notion of “eating for two” tempt you into overeating. Take care to keep within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy.
  • Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods and be sure to take frequent breaks if either is a must.
  • Sleep on your left side. This helps to relieve the vena cava of the extra weight of your uterus, reducing the pressure on the veins in your legs and feet.
  • Wear graduated-compression stockings to help stimulate blood flow and curb swelling.

If you’re a new mother whose varicose veins have persisted past the four-month mark, schedule an appointment with Metropolitan Dermatology to find out more about sclerotherapy.

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Metropolitan Dermatology Locations

1075 Central Avenue
Clark, NJ 07066
732-574-1399
Clark NJ location servicing Edison, Westfield, Elizabeth, Linden, Scotch Plains, & Cranford, NJ

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Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-837-3939
Teaneck NJ location servicing Hackensack, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Englewood, and Bergenfield, NJ.

703 Kearny Ave.
Kearny, NJ 07032
201-998-4699
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Staten Island, NY 10301
718-448-4488
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Jersey City, NJ 07306
201-792-4500
Jersey City, NJ location servicing Jersey City and Newark.

114 Lakeview Avenue
South Plainfield, NJ 07080
South Plainfield, NJ location servicing Plainfield and Edison.

449 60th St.
West New York, NJ 07093
201-861-4226
West New York NJ location servicing Union City, Bayonne, North Bergen, Hoboken, & Secaucus NJ

469 Morris. Ave
Elizabeth, NJ 07208
Elizabeth, NJ location servicing Elizabeth, Linden, Roselle Park and Hillside.