You may have been celebrating from the time you confirmed your pregnancy. Indeed, pregnancy creates a lot of reason to be joyful. Along with the fact that you are soon to see another addition to your family, you will experience interesting changes in your body that may just be too fascinating to understand. Many expecting mothers report having a better quality of skin, nails, and hair. Not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy these perks, though. If you are one of those who sees web-like veins sprouting on your legs, wearing one of the best compression socks for pregnancy will definitely help.
As your body goes through a lot of changes while you are expecting, the last thing that you want to deal with is the sudden appearance of varicose veins, swelling, as well as other venous problems. These conditions are normally accompanied by painful, heavy, and tired legs. Even if you have never experienced any of these before, you need to note that they are quite common during pregnancy. Studies show that varicose veins occur in about 30% of those who are pregnant for the first time, and 55% of those having their second and subsequent pregnancies.
What causes varicose veins?
There are a number of reasons that can lead to the development of varicose veins during pregnancy. On top of the list is the expanding uterus. As it enlarge to give room to your growing baby, the fundus or the uterus upper margin of the body of the uterus at 12 weeks’ pregnancy or near the end of the first trimester, the fundus (upper margin of the body of the uterus) may be palpated (felt) through the abdomen above the pubic bone. It reaches its maximum expansion at about 36 weeks’ of pregnancy. Throughout these times, the uterus continues to press on the lower part of the abdomen, thus restricting the continuous flow of blood to the veins in your legs.
Blood volume in a pregnant woman’s body also increases by 30-50 %. Once a pregnant woman reaches full term, she will have about 1.5 liters more blood than her pre-pregnancy. The increase in the blood volume results in the increase in the increase in the blood plasma and in the red blood cells. these happen as the mom-to-be takes in more food and health supplements to provide adequate nutrients and oxygen to the fetus.
This increase in the blood volume in your body can cause veins in the lower extremities to work less effectively in sending blood back to your heart.
Finally, hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy can also increase blood clotting or cause the walls of blood vessels to relax, which can reduce the circulation of the blood, resulting in these common pregnancy problems.
Although many may not have been bothered with varicose veins, there are those who may have experienced some serious complications, such as the Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. This condition happens when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. If the clot breaks loose, it can move into the lungs and block blood flow, which can trigger a pulmonary embolism. This is a rare occurrence, however. Only about 1 in 1,000 women have been reported to have experienced such a complication. Studies also point out that complications become common when the following conditions are also observed:
- A family history of DVT or pulmonary embolism
- Repeated miscarriages
- Multiple pregnancies
- Standing for long periods of time
What to do when you have varicose veins, swelling, and other venous problems?
There are several ways that can give you relief from the discomfort of varicose veins and lessen the risk of having a DVT.
- The key is to allow better circulation in your body. Anything that will restrict the flow of blood from your lower extremities to the other part of your body should be avoided. Constant action is necessary as this will allow your blood and body fluids to be continuously moving. Thus, daily exercise can help improve blood circulation.
- If you need to work for long hours, try to avoid prolonged periods of standing or sitting. Changing your position or walking about for a while will encourage the movement of body fluids in your veins and throughout your body.
- Crossing your ankles or legs while sitting can also restrict the flow of blood. Avoid it.
- Elevating your feet and legs whenever you can also help. Do it once in a while.
- Changing your diet will also help. Eating food that contains less salt, as well as food that can cause fluid retention and constipation. Foods like chia seeds, blackberries, ginger, avocados, and beets can also help improve circulation. Incorporate them in your diet.
- One of the best solutions is to wear compression socks or stockings.
Although wearing compression stockings or socks may not be able to prevent the development of varicose veins during pregnancy, it can reduce the symptoms accompanying the condition and may also help prevent more serious complications.
What compression socks should you wear during pregnancy?
You will need to find real compression tights or stockings and not the regular hosiery labeled as ‘support hose.’ These compression socks or stockings come with graduated compression. They are labeled with the level of compression that they provide. The lower the number indicated in the stockings or socks, the less compression it provides.
These compression socks are one of these types: knee-high, thigh-high, and full-length. They all provide graduated compression, which means that there is a stronger compression at the ankle then gradually decreases as it moves up the leg. A gradual increase in the level of compression helps the blood move more efficiently back to the heart.
The lowest degree of compression is 15-20, while the strongest is 30-40 mmHg. For minor swelling and varicose veins, a pair with 15-20 mmHg is just right. Those compression socks that provide higher levels of compression will provide the most benefits if you have a more serious case of varicose veins and swelling. However, if you need compression socks that provide more than 20-3 mmHg, you will need a prescription from a doctor. If you have other concerns related to the use of compression socks and stockings, consult your doctor.
These compression socks may not be the most fashionable accessory that you can wear while you are pregnant. They can also be a bit hot, especially when worn during a warm weather. Still, you will need to wear them to help relieve yourself of the discomfort that varicose veins and swelling may create.