I’m sure you've heard about the radiant, flawless glow that's supposed to come with pregnancy. I kinda felt that way with my 1st one, but this pregnancy is… different.
Despite being active, eating healthy, and managing a reasonable weight gain … suddenly I started to develop awful blue and purple bulges on my calves. Varicose veins turned out to be inescapable and I now need to deal with them everyday. I used to hide them as much as I could and bought the 1st pair of grandma compression socks I found! That certainly didn’t make me feel much better…
Emotional well-being and mental outlook play an important role in pregnancy. I felt like my body was letting me down and it was difficult looking at myself in the mirror. I’m sure hormone swings don’t help, but to me it wasn’t just a pair of socks. I can deal with this big belly, but my legs made me feel dissatisfied with my body and appearance, this truly affected my self-esteem and happiness in general.
Pregnancy is the perfect recipe for varicose veins by the 3rd trimester (read more bellow the article)! I wanted a solution without feeling like an old maid. Luckily I found Lily Trotters socks. I now wear them everyday without being embarrassed. It’s funny how cute and fun socks can change the way I see my legs. They’re not only cute and hide my veins, but they also improve my blood circulation considerably. They added some color and fun to my workout outfit and quickly became a “must-have” accessory. I think the only times I’m without them are when I swim, sleep of take my shower! Compression socks have somehow worked their way into fashion!
Here are a few tips to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins, or to soothe symptoms of existing varicose veins during pregnancy:
- Wear fun Lily Trotters compression socks
Healthy and cute way to promote blood circulation by improving venous blood return back to the heart!
- Stay active
Regular physical activity (example: walking, swimming, low-intensity body weight exercises…) promotes good circulation throughout the body and overall health during the pregnancy. Moving legs are healthier legs!
- Put your feet up
Avoid standing and sitting for prolonged periods, especially sitting with crossed legs. Also, try to elevate your feet above the heart a few times a day to allow gravity to naturally circulate any pooled blood in your legs back towards your heart.
- Sleep on your left side or leg slightly elevated
Since the growing uterus is causing increased pressure in the large inferior vena cava vein on the right side of the body, try to sleep on your left side to relieve added pressure. You can also, lie comfortably with your legs slightly elevated.
- Cold water
Avoid extended exposure to heat from hot baths, hot tubs, or sauna. The excessive heat will cause your veins to dilate more. I try to end my showers with a jet of cold water on my legs. It feels great!
- Gain healthy weight
Now that I'm pregnant, I get to "eat for two," right? No… You need only about 300 more calories per day! Any extra weight increases gravity’s pressure on your leg veins.
The good news is that in most cases, if we didn't have them before we got pregnant, our varicose veins will shrink or disappear within a few months after we give birth. I know, nine months can sometimes feel like an eternity, but we need time to create life and when we get to meet that sweet little part of us, varicose veins won’t seam that important!
We are not alone!
According to a Swiss Medical Weekly, between 50 and 55% of American women experience varicose veins during pregnancy. 30% of women pregnant for the first time, and 55% of women who have had two or more full term pregnancies develop varicose veins.
But why are varicose veins so common during pregnancy?
Here’s an easy explanation:
- First, the blood volume increases 50% by the 30th week. So if the average blood volume is around 5 liters (1.3 gallons) of blood, that means by the 30th week of pregnancy we have about 7.5 liters (2 gallons) of blood in our blood stream. This extra volume of blood is essential to support two growing bodies, but it does put extra pressure on our blood vessels!
- Second, the veins in our legs have to work against gravity to push all that extra blood back up to our heart.
- Plus, the growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic blood vessels. (Should I mention that the large, swollen blood vessels can also show up almost anywhere in the lower half of your body – even your rectum or vulva)
- And finally, the extra progesterone we produce causes vessels to relax!