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It’s the least likely link you’d expect, but yes, pregnancy and varicose veins can be linked.
You might not know how those bulging veins appear on your legs, but it’s actually very closely tied to your hormones.
It All Starts With Blood Flow
If you remember Science back in highschool, you might remember that arteries pump blood away from the heart and veins pump it back.
What you might not remember is that veins have a harder job than arteries: they sometimes have to pump your blood against gravity. This is what causes what is known as venous insufficiency: when, for whatever reason, your veins have lost some of their ability to pump blood.
The result is blood pooling in your lower extremities. This is what causes varicose veins.
So How’s Pregnancy Related?
You might be wondering where pregnancy even comes into all of this. The fact of the matter is, there are many things that can cause venous insufficiency.
After all, what venous insufficiency means is simply that the veins have lost some of their efficiency and pumping power. This could happen for any number of reasons. The veins may have lost their elasticity due to age.
Or, in the case of pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen and progesterone may lead the veins to stretch, while increased pressure on the pelvis obstructs the flow of blood.
Thus, circulation is disturbed, and pregnant women are much more likely to develop varicose veins.
What Can I Do About It?
There are a number of things anyone can do for venous insufficiency — and therefore varicose veins. Don’t stand or sit for too long without changing positions.
Exercise in moderation, as much as you are capable with your pregnant body.
Circulation can be improved via use of compression. Buy compression hose.
Elevating legs can help by letting gravity aid your veins in pumpin blodo back to the heart.
If you want to know more, call the Vein Center of Maryland to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located in Westminster, Eldersburg, Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Bel Air.
We also service Ellicott City and Columbia in Howard County.