Preventing Swelling and Varicose Veins in Legs

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Compression stockings are often recommended during pregnancy to help energize tired, achy legs, help prevent and reduce swelling and promote better circulation. Great for those who are standing or sitting for long periods of time, gradient compression products help keep legs healthy.

Gradient compression hosiery during pregnancy helps keep your legs looking and feeling their best! Often recommended for those with tired, achy, fatigued legs and feet, swollen feet or ankles or mild to moderate swelling, gradient compression helps keeps your legs going strong! What busy momma couldn’t use a little extra energy?

By applying the tightest “squeeze” to the ankle and then gradually decreasing the pressure up the leg, gradient compression hosiery help promote better circulation and more leg energy.

If you are experiencing any of the following, you may benefit from wearing gradient compression:

• Tired, aching, fatigued legs

• Swollen feet, ankles, and legs

• Mild to moderate swelling

• Stand or sit for long periods

• Traveling

• Overweight

Even if you do not have any of the above conditions, you may still appreciate the benefits of wearing compression because of how great they make your legs look and feel! I do tend to swell during pregnancy and wearing compression stockings help tremendously!

• About 40% of all pregnant women suffer from varicose veins.

• Pregnancy increases the body blood volume.

• The increase level of the hormone progesterone cause blood vessel to relax. Therefore valves separate slightly and they don’t work properly, letting the back-flow of blood in the veins.

• The uterus presses against the major veins in the pelvic region and increases the pressure in the leg veins are then subject to becoming varicose.

• The weight increase enhances the risk of venous insufficiency affecting the legs.

Although I have not had to deal with varicose veins I know many women who have especially during pregnancy. I have always taken precautions to prevent them and so far so good. Below are some things I personally do.

But first… what are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are swollen veins that may bulge near the surface of the skin. These blue or purple, sometimes squiggly veins are most likely to show up in your legs, though you may also get them in your vulva or elsewhere. (In fact, hemorrhoids are really just varicose veins of the rectal area.)

You may have little or no discomfort from them, or they may make your legs feel heavy and achy. The skin around a varicose vein may also itch, throb, or feel like it’s burning. The symptoms tend to be worse at the end of the day, especially if you’ve been on your feet a lot.

Many women first develop varicose veins – or find that they get worse – during pregnancy. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body (the inferior vena cava), which in turn increases pressure in the leg veins.

Veins are the blood vessels that return blood from your extremities to your heart, so the blood in your leg veins is already working against gravity. When you’re pregnant, the amount of blood in your body increases, adding to the burden on your veins. And your progesterone levels rise, causing the walls of your blood vessels to relax.

They’re more common in women than men, and if you have them, they tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you get older. Being overweight, carrying twins or higher multiples, and standing for long periods can also make you more susceptible.

The good news is that varicose veins tend to improve after you give birth, particularly if you didn’t have any before you got pregnant. And if they don’t get better, there are a variety of ways to treat them.

You may have also noticed tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin, especially on your ankles, legs, or face. These are called spider veins. These don’t cause discomfort, and they typically disappear after delivery.

You may be able to prevent them or at least minimize them. Here are some tips:

• Exercise daily. Even just a brisk walk around the block can help your circulation. Swimming is also wonderful.

• Strive to keep within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy.

• Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible. Use a stool or box to rest your legs on when you’re sitting, and keep your feet elevated on a pillow when you’re lying down.

• Don’t cross your legs or ankles when sitting.

• Don’t sit or stand for long periods without taking breaks to move around.

• Sleep on your left side. Wedge a pillow behind your back to keep yourself tilted to the left and elevate your feet with a pillow. Since the inferior vena cava is on the right side, lying on your left side relieves the vein of the weight of the uterus, thus decreasing pressure on the veins in your legs and feet.

• Wear special support hose. Graduated-compression stockings, which are twice as thick as normal pantyhose, work best. These stockings are available from medical supply stores and pharmacies. They’re tight at the ankle and get looser as they go up the leg, making it easier for blood to flow back up toward your heart. As a result, they help prevent swelling and may keep your varicose veins from getting worse.

To prevent blood from pooling in your legs, put the stockings on before getting out of bed in the morning, while you’re still lying down, and keep them on all day. Heavy-duty support hose may be bothersome, especially in hot weather, but bad varicose veins can be more uncomfortable.

They may not be the sexiest stockings, but I promise they keep your legs super sexy!

** On a side note, not just pregnant women benefit from wearing compression stockings. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you a work night shift. Also my dad is a marathon runner and suffered from swelling post runs, compression stockings helped him greatly.

Cody Lawyer/ The Protein Princess
Mother of 3 and 29 weeks pregnant
Ironworks Gym Owner
ISSA CPT

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