So you’re waddling around in your pregnancy, minding your own business, when you catch a glimpse of yourself in unflattering light (rude) or a mirror (ruder) and you notice these gnarly 3-d veins running up and down your legs. WTF?!?
Yep, sorry. We hate to tell ya, but varicose veins are exactly that – enlarged veins that you’ll often find in the legs, but can even reach up to your butt. They’re one of the more unfortunate side effects of pregnancy, right up there with hemorrhoids and constipation.
See, during pregnancy, your blood volume increases, while the rate at which blood flows from your legs to your pelvis decreases. This can add pressure on the veins, which in turn causes varicose veins. Hormones are also to blame (aren’t they for everything?), as increased progestin can open up the veins. They’re generally harmless but they’re pesky and can be uncomfortable. Usually they’ll go down within three months to a year after giving birth, but here are some more ways in which you can lessen your chances of getting them.
- Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time. (Here’s one idea: break up your endless computer time by making constant pee breaks!)
- Avoid wearing high heels. Sorry mama, but lower heels or even flats work your calf muscles and creates healthy circulation!
- Wear compression socks or maternity hosiery that can put pressure on the legs and stimulate blood flow.
- Avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
- Elevate your legs once in a while to get that blood flowing.
- Reduce salt and sodium intake to minimize swelling.
- Drink plenty of water and eat healthy (as per usual!)
Do your best not to stress it. Hopefully they’ll be gone by the time your baby is sleeping 12 hour stretches.