Not only are these veins (which can make your entire chest and belly look like a road map) normal ad nothing to worry about, they are a sign that your body is doing what it should, they’re part of the network of veins that has expanded to carry the increased blood supply of pregnancy, which will be nourishing your baby. They may show up earliest and be much more prominent is very slim or fair-skinned women. In some women, particularly those who are overweight or dark-skinned, the veins may be less visible or not noticeable at all, or they may not become obvious until later in pregnancy.
They aren’t pretty, but they aren’t varicose veins.They are probably spider nevi, commonly dubbed “spider veins,” for obvious reasons. There are a few reasons why spider veins might choose to spin their web across your legs. First, the increased volume of blood you’re carrying can create significant pressure on blood vessels, causing even tiny veins to swell and become visible. Second, pregnancy hormones can do a number on all your blood vessel, big and small. And third, genetic can predispose you to spider veins (thanks, Mom).
If you’re destined to have spider veins, there’s not much you can do to avoid them altogether, but there are way to minimize their spread. Since your veins are as healthy as your diet is, try eating enough vitamin C foods (the body uses it to manufacture collagen and elastin, two important connective tissues that help help repair and maintain blood vessels). Exercising regularly (to improve circulation and leg strength) and getting into the habit of not crossing your legs (which restrict blood flow ) will also help keep spider veins at bay.
Prevention didn’t do the trick? Some, thought far from all, spider veins fade and disappear after delivery ; if they don’t , they can be treated by a dermatologist -either with the injection of saline (sclerotherapy) or glycerin, or with the use of a laser. These treatments destroy the blood vessels, causing them to collapse and eventually disappear-but they aren’t recommended during pregnancy. In the meantime, you can try camouflaging your spider veins with flesh-toned concealers specifically designed for that purpose.
Varicose veins run in families-and they definitely sound like they have legs in yours. But being genetically predisposed to varicose veins doesn’t mean you have to be resigned to them, which is why you’re wise to be thinking now about bucking your family tradition with prevention.
Varicose veins often surface for the first time during pregnancy, and they tend to worsen in subsequent pregnancies. That’s because the extra volume of blood you produce during pregnancy puts extra pressure on your blood vessels, especially the veins in your legs, which have to work against gravity to push all that extra blood back up to your heart. add to that pressure you burgeoning uterus puts on your pelvic blood vessels and the vessel-relaxing effects of the extra hormones your body is producing, and you have the perfect recipe for varicose veins.
The symptoms of varicose veins aren’t difficult to recognize, but they vary in severity. There may be a mild achiness or severe pain in the legs, or a sensation of heaviness, or swelling, or none of these. A faint outline of bluish veins may be visible, or serpentine veins may bulge from ankle to upper thigh. In severe cases, the skin overlying the veins becomes swollen, dry, and irritated (ask you practitioner about moisturizers that can help). Occasionally, superficial thrombophlebitis (inflammation of a surface vein due to a blood clot) may develop at the site of a varicosity, so always check with your practitioner about varicose vein symptoms.
To give your legs a leg up against varicose veins:
- Keep the blood flowing. Too much sitting or standing can comprise blood flow, so avoid long periods of either when you can-and when you can’t periodically flex your ankles. When siting, avoid crossing your legs and elevate them if possible. When lying down, raise your leg by placing a pillow under your feet. When resting or sleeping, try to lie on your left side, the best one for optimum circulation (though either side will do).
- Watch your weight. Excess poundage increases the demands on your already overworked circulatory system, so keep your weight gain within the recommended guidelines .
- Avoid heavy lifting, which can make those veins bulge.
- Push gently during bowel movements. straining can be strain on those veins. Staying regular will help keep things moving.
- Wear support panty hose (light support hose seem to work well without being uncomfortable) or elastic stockings, putting them on before getting out of bed in the morning (before blood pols in your legs) and taking them off at night before getting into bed. While neither will contribute to your sexiest pregnancy moment, they help by counteracting the downwards pressure of your belly and giving the veins in your legs a little extra upward push.
- Stay away from clothes that might restrict your circulation: tight belts or panty, panty hose and socks with elastic tops, and snug shoes. Also skip high heels, favoring flats or medium chunky heels instead
- Get some exercise, such as a brisk 20-to30-minutes walk or swim everyday. But if you’re experiencing pain, avoid high-impact aerobics, jogging, cycling, and weight training.
- Be sure your diet includes plenty of foods rich in vitamin C, which helps keep blood vessel healthy and elastic.
Surgical removal of varicose veins isn’t recommended during pregnancy, though it can certainly be considered a few months delivery, In most cases, however, the problem will improve after delivery, usually by the time weight is reached.