Swollen feet and varicose veins are a common side effect of pregnancy, but they could be signaling a more serious problem. For some pregnant women, these become symptoms of DVT, Deep Vein Thrombosis, which, if it goes untreated, has the potential to cause an embolism.
It’s important to keep yourself safe during your pregnancy, but how can you do it? Here are five ways to avoid developing varicose veins during pregnancy.
- Exercise. Not only is moderate exercise good for your baby, it could also help to improve your mood and relieve painful swelling in the feet and ankles. While it’s probably a good idea to avoid contact sports like hockey, or anything that poses a risk of falling, like skiing, taking a long walk or swimming at the pool will get your blood flowing.
Be sure to pace yourself and listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or your heartbeat is erratic, take a break. Although it may seem like pregnancy is strenuous enough without adding exercise to your routine, soon you’ll have a kid running around – you’ll be glad you warmed up first.
- Avoid excessive heat. Going into a sauna or Jacuzzi can dilate your veins, causing more swelling and increasing the risk of varicose veins. Even worse, high temperatures have been shown to increase the rate of birth defects in the first trimester.
Instead, take a warm bath or enjoy a massage. It’s definitely healthy to relax and enjoy yourself, but save the tanning beds for another day.
- Try wearing compression tights. These tights help to improve your circulation, which combats both swelling and that ache you get after being on your feet all day. They are designed to be tightest around the ankles and stretchy around the belly, making it more comfortable to stand without hurting your baby.
Because of the tightness of the compression socks, some people have trouble getting them on, but there are guides that can help to simplify this. This is a simple way to combat varicose veins and avoid the threat of DVT.
- Elevate your feet at night. This is the simplest tip, and probably one your own mother could tell you – raising your feet on a pillow or rolled-up blanket when you rest can help with blood flow, relieving some of the pressure and swelling you feel during the day.
Varicose veins can make your legs feel tired and heavy, but raising your legs allows some of the blood to flow back to your heart. This can help to diminish some of the unpleasant effects.
The good news is that after pregnancy, many of these symptoms will fade away. Some women are bothered by the look of varicose or spider veins, but generally they will become less visible after you give birth. Besides, you’ll have much more important things to worry about once you have a baby to look after!