Monday, September 12, 2011

Natural pregnancy: How to avoid varicose veins and Deep Vein thrombosis

They say each pregnancy is different and this fourth time around I can testify that it's true! At my first pregnancy( 9-10 years ago) I gained more weight than I ever expected to gain in my entire life (thankfully I eventually lost most of the undesirable weight) and the only thing I experienced then as a leg issue was swollen ankles at one point. Once I got informed on the causes and precautions I could take to avoid them I was free from that discomfort.

So I have never had swollen ankles since my first pregnancy but I am now concerned about something else. Varicose veins. I don't recall being concerned with varicose veins during any of my previous pregnancies yet this time around it's on my list of things to control.

Why? Unlike my previous pregnancies I am now concerned with varicose veins because that's my 4th pregnancy and I am older than 5, 7, and 9 years ago.  I have been standing on my feet way too much lately, I haven't been exercising daily or I have been cutting my excercises time short, I am planning a trip soon so I need to take certain measures to stay mobile and I sleep too much on my right side.  If you wonder what all this have to do with it please read below you will understand!

How and why to avoid varicose veins during pregnancy!
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are  veins that are enlarged or tortuous.  They are the unattractive blue or purple veins due to blood clotting that we might see most often on some inactive or overweight people.  But you know what? Even healthy people, especially pregnant women can still be susceptible to varicose veins!
They are mainly located in the leg, calves muscles but can they can occur elsewhere.

Deep veins thrombosis is more serious than varicose veins  and can be fatal so it's vital to take precaution by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and consult a physician if you have it.  Some tests need to be done to confirm that one has it but people with DVT generally complain of pains on the led when the stand on it or touch the affected area.

During pregnancy.
Why can women get varicose veins during pregnancy?
For many women, pregnancy can be the first time that they develop varicose veins. If a woman already had it it can get worst during pregnancy. Why? As the uterus grows, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of the body (the inferior vena cava), which in turn increases pressure in the leg veins.  What are veins? Veins are the blood vessels that return blood from our extremities to our heart, so the blood in the leg veins is already working against gravity. When we are pregnant, the amount of blood in our body increases, adding to the burden on our veins. It addition to that our progesterone levels rise, causing the walls of our blood vessels to relax.

Varicose veins tend to worsen with each successive pregnancy and as a woman get older. (Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, and menopause). Other conditions that make a woman more susceptible:
  • being overweight
  • carrying twins or higher multiples
  • standing for long periods ( I have been guilty of that one lately) 
  • sitting for long periods of time.
  • chronic constipation
  • genetic
  • aging

So obviously, the extra weight on the body makes us, pregnant women, susceptible to get Varicose veins or deep veins thrombosis.  Thankfully there are ways to prevent or reduce them.

How to prevent or reduce varicose veins or Deep Vein Thrombosis?

  • Maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Manage your weight. During pregnancy it's easy to give ourselves a license to eat anything we wish. It's possible to gain inappropriate weight during the pregnancy so please be mindful of your weight gain.
  • Exercise daily Walking, stretching, swimming.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged period of time as it restrict blood circulation and add pressure to the veins. Standing causes high pressure to the veins of the legs hence the reason why varicose veins are so common in the legs.
  • Get plenty of fluids, especially water and avoid being dehydrated. Avoid dehydrating drinks like caffeinated drinks. Dehydration causes blood to thicken and vessels to narrow.
  • Avoid crossing your legs or ankles when sitting.
  • Elevate your legs when you are sitting or lying down. Prop your legs with a small stool or pillow.
  • Sleep on your left side (I need to practice that one more seriously it's not that easy I love sleeping on my right side)
When traveling:
When traveling, do your best to get up every hour and move around.  If you can't leave your seat curl or press your toes as often as possible. (I will actually need to diligently practise that on my trip to Orlando next week!)

Thankfully if varicose veins occur during our pregnancies the good news is that they will go away weeks-months after delivery. As for DVT please consult your physician and carefully follow their recommendations because DVT is more serious than having varicose veins. In the case of DVT the clot can be fatal if it moves to the lung or heart.

Well, hope you learned something that would benefit you!
If you are pregnant or planning on being pregnant Happy pregnancy to you!
If you are not pregnant please be aware that varicose veins and DVT can and do happen to anyone men included and that you can prevent or reduce them. For treatments consult your physician!

Thanks for stopping by and Following! Have a blessed week!


N'na

3 comments:

  1. WOW! Thanks for sharing this post. AS I read it, I realize I had at least 2 signs counting against me, I am over weight & I stand a lot because I an an hairstylist. I need to get more active because I can tell sometimes that my body is screaming for more activity. When I feel guilty & finally exercise, My body wants to keep going until I get tired. Very informative post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Keekee thanks for stopping by, I am so glad that this post could speak to you. I strongly encourage you in exercising daily and being more mobile. Hair stylists are proned to a lot of ergonomics and health issues that most people underestimate. Always make time for stretching and walking daily those are two activities that we should all strive to incorporate in our lifestyle regardless of how much we can or love excercising. Wish you great success in all your health endeavors!

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