Do You Get Blue Veins During Pregnancy? This Is What It Means
8 mins read
Symptoms for Pregnancy
If you have ever wondered why those popping blue/green veins on your thighs, breasts and foot appear during pregnancy and what exactly they are, we have the answers right here. Are the blue veins that appear in early pregnancy a danger alarm?
When you are pregnant, your body changes in more ways than you can imagine. Your hormones are doing their own crazy dance, your body is expanding to no limits and let’s not forget the swollen feet and morning sickness. When internally so many things are changing, its effects are going to show externally in some form too. One such signal is that of those blue popping veins in various areas of your body. If you were thinking that your veins are going to explode, well you need to relax. This condition is known as Varicose Veins.
What is Varicose Veins Condition?
Those large, swollen and bulging veins that appear on areas like legs and thighs and make them feel slightly heavy and achy are better known as 'varicose veins'. These veins swell above the skin's surface and form distinctive purple coloured lumps which many women despise. These are different from spider veins as the latter is smaller and does not bulge out from the skin's surface.
Varicose veins can cause no to minor discomfort. For example, if you have this skin problem on your legs, they may feel slightly heavy and the skin around could also itch, throb or feel like it's on fire! However, it will not cause any hinderance in daily activity or restrict mobility. The symptoms of varicose veins are quite prevalent during pregnancy and that's the first time when many women encounter this problem.
What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body produces an extra volume of blood. In fact, the volume of blood increases by a whopping 20-40% to help support the uterus! This is extremely essential to support yours as well as your baby's growing body. Accordingly, the amount of blood pumped by the heart also increases. But this also means that the veins in your legs have to work against gravity to push all the extra blood back to your heart.
Also, as the uterus grows, some pressure is put on the large vein which is located on the right side of the body. This in turn increases the pressure in the leg veins. These pressures combined together, along with increased progesterone levels, result in veins popping out, quite literally!
Watch: The Causes of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
To put simply, your body increases the blood supply to sustain you and your baby and your veins are simply trying to keep up with the pressure. The visible signs of varicose veins can be observed around 29th week of pregnancy. They are mostly found on the legs first and thereafter spread around the lower body.
In usual cases, the only visible symptom of this condition is the visibility of the veins. However, because of the several changes that take place in a woman's body during pregnancy, she may experience other signs as well.
Itching and discomfort around the skin with varicose veins
Tenderness in the area of the skin condition
Other skin conditions in the surrounding area (like eczema and ulcers in extreme cases)
So, Should You Be Concerned About Blue Veins During Pregnancy?
Well, the sight of varicose veins may not be very appealing and neither are the itch and pain associated with it. However, you can be well assured that it has no negative effects on you or your baby. Here are a few things to bear in mind when dealing with varicose veins during pregnancy.
They go away! In case you have been facing this problem only during your pregnancy, chances are likely that they will slowly disappear/shrink a few months post childbirth.
But, they may come back too! If you have faced this problem in your previous pregnancies, it’s quite possible that the problem may resurface in the subsequent ones. In fact, the same veins might pop back again. In some cases, varicose veins can also be hereditary. This typically means that if your mother had them during her pregnancy, you may end up having them too.
Be careful if the problem occurs between your legs As long as this problem is not persistent near the vaginal area, you mostly need not worry. However, if it does, then the doctor/midwife will keep a close eye during delivery, as applying too much pressure on the area could result into a tear. This could cause tremendous bleeding. Therefore, you may need to try different positions during childbirth to reduce the pressure. For example, you may be asked to be on your hands and knees instead of just lying down.
When should you seek medical attention? In severe cases, the skin over a varicose vein may become extremely thin. In this case, one needs to be extremely careful of any bumps/cuts as it may lead to vein rupture and excessive bleeding, which may be extremely difficult to stop. Another point to remember is that in a few cases, the skin above the veins may suffer from lack of oxygen and basic nutrients because of which blood flow gets restricted in that area. This leads to the development of eczema or ulcers. In such a case, you must seek medical intervention.
Preventive Tips For Varicose Veins
There aren't any guaranteed ways of preventing varicose veins from occurring. However, you may want to give the following tips a try as these have worked for many women in the past. They are also beneficial for maintaining health and fitness during pregnancy.
Exercise ensures proper blood flow in your body and therefore it is imperative to include mild exercise during pregnancy. For starters, include activities such as walking in your daily routine. With your doctor's discretion, you could also undertake mild circulation increasing exercises like calf raises as well.
Being sedentary isn't going to help your cause. Refrain from sitting/ lying down for a long period of time. From time to time, stand and flex your toes and ankles. You could alternatively also keep your legs elevated while sitting. This will help in facilitating proper blood circulation in your body.
Pay Attention to Your Sleeping Position
It is said that sleeping on your left side helps maintain a proper and consistent blood flow. Doing this helps avoid pressure on the main blood vessels, thereby allowing the circulation to continue without any interruptions.
Pay Attention to Your Nutrition
A healthy and well-balanced diet is extremely important for your pregnancy health and the same rule applies when it comes to keeping veins healthy. Foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, kiwi, strawberries, bell peppers, brocolli and baked potato can help produce collagen and elastin that are important to repair and maintain blood vessels.
Keep a Check on Your Weight
Although weight gain is quite normal during pregnancy (and essential), it is important to maintain a healthy weight gain and keep a check on it in case it exceeds the doctor's recommended range. Extra kilos only put more demand on your already overworking circulatory system. A healthy weight gain during pregnancy is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Needless to say, your skin needs to breathe too and therefore, ensure you wear clothes that allow your skin to do so. Opt for clothes that are not too tight but simply fit well especially around the tops of your legs. Refrain from wearing any tight belts, socks or tight elastic tops and say no to stilettos or high heels completely for a while.
Alternatively, have a look at this home remedy that can help relieve the effects of varicose veins.
Varicose veins are not a potential danger. Yes, they may not be too pleasant to look at, however, they do not pose any danger to your health or your baby's health. Just concentrate on taking care of you and your little one and everything else will simply fall into place.
New Treatment for Varicose Veins
The treatment for varicose veins was traditionally Stripping ( a surgery where large varicose veins are surgically removed from the leg by stripping them out and sealing off the ends of these veins.). However, this is an extremely painful procedure that required patients to have unsightly scars and bruising and having to stay in the hospital until complete recovery. Thankfully enough, new methods entail lasers for sealing off the ends of the veins causing problems. One of the most frequently used new techniques is EVLA (endovenous laser ablation). This method is almost painless and does not involve cutting the affected area open, thus avoiding scars, pain and stitches.
How Does EVLA(endovenous laser ablation) Work?
The final result is the sealing of the treated vein lumen. Patients have to be treated under a tumescent anaesthesia(a technique of local anaesthesia that where anaesthesia is administered in such a way that only the skin and subcutaneous tissue is numbed with a high dose but low risk of reaching toxic levels of the drug in the blood). What’s more? Patients who have been treated can return to normalcy and resume their routine immediately.
Know of more such preventive tips for relieving varicose veins? Share them with other moms to be by leaving a comment below.