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6 Steps for Preventing Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

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Like stretch marks, swollen ankles, and acne, varicose veins are one of those annoying symptoms that you may develop during pregnancy.

In most cases, they aren’t a major health concern, but the ropey blueish veins can be unattractive. If you do develop them, you may want to have your doctor take a look at them just to be sure they are not indicative of a larger health problem.

Pregnant women are especially prone to getting them, especially if their mothers and grandmothers developed them when they were pregnant. However, there are some steps you can take to potentially prevent them. Here are six that you can start doing today:

1. Get Active

While it’s tempting to slack off on exercise during pregnancy, if your doctor approves it, keep working out. Any type of cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping can improve your circulation and help keep varicose veins at bay. Swimming is an excellent choice because you are taking some of the pressure off your lower body, but going for a 30-minute walk or taking a dance class is good, too.

2. Wear Comfortable Clothing

Pregnant women have a tendency to try to wear their regular non-maternity clothing for as long as possible, but tight restrictive garments can increase your chances of developing varicose veins. Jeans, pants, skirts, belts, pantyhose, underwear, and even socks and shoes that fit snuggly should not be a part of your daily wardrobe, as they can interfere with blood flow. You may also switch out your regular stockings for compression stockings to improve circulation.

3. Avoid Sitting and Standing for Long Periods

If you sit at a desk all day or you have a job that requires being on your feet, you may need to take a little 5 to 10-minute break each hour to mix things up. Go for a short walk, stand up and do some stretches, or sit down for a few minutes when you can. If that’s not an option, do calf raises or flex your foot to work your calf muscles and increase blood flow.

4. Avoid Unnecessary Weight Gain

The average pregnancy should lead to a 25 to 35-pound weight gain. Some women tend to gain more because they see it as an opportunity to eat what they want and stop exercising. Unfortunately, added weight can put unnecessary strain on the blood vessels. So, stick to a healthy diet and follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to weight gain.

5. Sleep on Your Side

Believe it or not, the way you sleep could put pressure on your blood vessels, as well. Try sleeping on your side instead of your back or stomach to allow the blood to flow freely throughout your body. Use pillows if this position is uncomfortable.

6. Elevate Your Legs

Whenever you get the chance, elevate your legs so that your feet are higher than your heart. This allows gravity to help push the blood from your lower body to your heart. Prop them up on pillows when you watch TV or read at night, especially if you do sit or stand for long periods of time during the day.

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