During this very exciting time in your life, mothers-to-be may not pay attention to the changes that will take place in their body, especially in their legs. Deep veins, spider veins and varicose veins during and after pregnancy are several of the common signs often overlooked. Beyond cosmetic concern, enlarged veins that appear near the skin’s surface can be unsightly and uncomfortable, and worsen without treatment.
The good news is that today’s advanced vein treatments allow for quicker healing than only a few years ago. This should provide comfort and motivation to not neglect your needs, while caring for your new child. Many procedures can now be done in the office instead of in the hospital, which provides convenience and has you home quicker.
Varicose Vein Conditions
It is difficult to predict how any individual woman’s veins will respond to pregnancy or any other condition. Pregnancy often exacerbates existing conditions (weak or damaged vein walls and valves) or brings to light issues you might not have known about like blood pressure increasing inside your veins.
If a genetically-related individual suffered from varicose veins, you might experience them once you become pregnant. The condition tends to worsen with each additional pregnancy. While some varicose vein issues clear up after birth, varicose veins in postpartum mothers can sometimes become worse and create health risks that will affect your quality of life later on.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
- Appearance of blue blood vessels in your legs, ankles, or feet
- Pain or ache in your legs
- Unusual swelling in your legs
- A burning or itching sensation in the legs or around the veins
- Skin breakdown (ulcer) that appear at the ankles
In addition, a serious postpartum vein complication called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can occur, which is clotting of the deep veins in the legs or hips. Postpartum DVT often has no symptoms but pregnant women can experience an increase with a sore or achy feeling in the affected leg(s) with or without swelling. A Pulmonary embolism can occur, which is simply the migration of the clot in the veins to the artery of your lungs.
A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted immediately at the first sign of symptoms. They can help treat that dangerous complication of postpartum vein disease. It should be noted that the risk remains high for up to 12 weeks after delivery and can be life threatening.
How to Treat or Minimize Varicose Veins in Postpartum Mothers
Keep Your Legs Up
Whenever you sit or lie down, elevate your legs to keep your circulatory system operating at its peak. Chairs with footrests, a footstool or a small chair will provide that essential incline to keep fluid from pooling in your legs, thus helping to prevent blood clots and other vein-related complications.
Sitting for longer periods of time for new moms is usually unavoidable with nursing or with a sleeping baby. As noted above, keep your legs elevated and avoid crossing your ankles to prevent the constriction of your veins which can hamper your efforts. Flexing or stretching your leg muscles periodically while you rock your little one to sleep will also provide an added boost.
Effectively boosting your blood circulation will help alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins and help prevent new varicose veins from forming post-delivery. Engaging in any exercise at frequent intervals that gets your blood pumping is helpful. Extended standing can make the issue worse. Rather than walk or run on the treadmill for long periods, consider short stints on the treadmill, followed by exercises or activities you can do while seated.
Take it slow and gradually increase your activity to avoid overworking your sensitive muscles during this delicate time of recovery.
A postpartum girdle and compression stockings are a wise investment. Postpartum girdles help to re-align your body after delivery while eliminating excess fluid pockets, provide support to encourage healing in your leg areas and help eliminate or reduce varicose veins in these areas.
Compression or support hose provide support for your legs by helping your blood travel back toward the heart instead of remaining in your legs. This can help reduce varicose veins and blood clots by increasing circulation. Wearing compression hose are the easiest way to prevent venous disease and should be worn regularly once you discover you’re pregnant.
There are several medical treatments that effectively reduce the symptoms and severity of varicose veins of which one is Sclerotherapy. This minimally invasive procedure involves a sclerosant (a kind of medication) that is injected into your varicose veins, causing them to become inflamed, then collapse and simply fade away. The needle is so small that most people barely feel it, making this a safe and simple treatment that does not require sedation or anesthesia. Activities can resume as soon as the treatment is over.
Visual changes will begin to resolve themselves post-delivery and your veins may not be as noticeable, but this does not mean the problem has disappeared. The more proactive you are regarding your aftercare, the quicker your recovery will be and the lower the risks.
During this memorable time in your life, it is crucial to be proactive about your health to give your very best and take care of your bundle of joy for a very long time. To learn about the right treatment options to help with your postpartum varicose veins, contact OMNY Vein & Cardiovascular today to find out how to prevent and treat those varicose veins.