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pregnancyDid you know that many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy? While a pregnant woman’s body undergoes many changes during this time, venous insufficiency is often overlooked. This is so common, in fact, that pregnancy is the most common cause of varicose veins in women. The key factors that lead to this are:

  • As the uterus grows, it puts an increasing amount of pressure on the right side of a woman’s body, which, in turn, increases pressure in leg veins. As a result, it’s not uncommon for the veins in the legs to grow larger.
  •  Rising Progesterone levels relax blood vessels which interferes with their ability to maintain a smooth, regular, one direction flow.

Other key factors affecting varicose veins during pregnancy are genetics, being overweight, carrying twins or higher multiples, and occupational factors such as standing or sitting in one position for prolonged periods.

Read an earlier blog post from VasCare for a more detailed look at the causes of spider and varicose veins.

How to Prevent or Minimize Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

While varicose veins are common during pregnancy, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it. In fact, there are simple, everyday measures you can take to prevent or minimize varicose veins during pregnancy.

  • Exercise daily – This seems basic, but finding ways to contract calf muscles (walking, jogging, etc.) is the best way to promote healthy circulation in your legs.
  • Maintain healthy weight – Being overweight is one of the most common causes for varicose veins. You can counteract this by trying to keep within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy.
  • Elevate – Let gravity work for you! Whenever possible use a stool or box to elevate your legs on when you’re sitting.
  • Don’t Cross Your Legs ­– Whenever you’re sitting for a long period of time, don’t cross your legs. Sitting this way could block circulation in your legs.
  • Move Around – One of the best weapons against varicose veins is movement. Whenever you’re sitting or standing for a long time, take breaks often and move around. This will increase blood circulation and get your muscles working.
  • Sleep ­on Your Left Side – Whenever possible, try to avoid sleeping on your right side. Sleeping on your left will decrease the pressure from the weight of the uterus on your inferior vena cava.
  • Wear Graduated Compression Stockings – Compression stockings (also known as support hose) are tight at the ankles and get looser as they go up the leg. This promotes flow up the legs back to the heart and can help prevent swelling and worsening varicose veins. Bring a prescription to VasCare to get measured and fitted for a pair of stockings

There’s not a strict rule, but varicose veins developed during pregnancy often improve within a few months after giving birth. If they don’t get better, we can help. VasCare’s surgeons specialize in treating varicose veins, spider veins and other venous disorders.

Contact our vein specialists.

Top 5 Jobs That Require Prolonged Standing or Sitting

When it comes to what causes varicose veins, there are many factors, including genetics, gender, and obesity. But one of the biggest risk factors for varicose veins is prolonged standing or sitting. Certain occupations that require people to sit or stand a lot can be bad for the health of your veins.

Here’s our list of top 5 occupations with so much standing or sitting that the jobs themselves can be one of the causes of varicose veins.

    1. Office Workers

In general, office workers sit uninterrupted at their desks for much of the day. In addition to being an unhealthy way to work (humans weren’t designed to sit all day), a sedentary desk job can be a contributing cause of varicose veins.

When you frequently sit for extended periods, the muscles in your legs that normally help pump blood aren’t used very much. As a result, blood could flow backwards in leg veins and pool, causing varicose veins.

    1. Nurses

In terms of jobs that require long periods of standing, nursing is right near the top. Whether it’s taking vitals, interviewing patients, checking up on patients, or assisting doctors during surgery, nurses spend the majority of the day on their feet. No wonder, then, that finding the right nursing shoe is so important.

Many of the nurses at VasCare wear compression stockings to help prevent causes of varicose veins.

    1. Factory Workers

If you’ve ever worked in a factory or an assembly line, then you know how much time these workers spend on their feet every day. If you haven’t, let’s just say it’s a lot. And hour after hour on your feet, sometimes in one place, can be one of the bigger causes of varicose veins.

Of course, as we mentioned before, there are problems associated with prolonged sitting as well.

    1. Cashiers

When we think about jobs that require a lot of standing in one place for hours on end, we immediately think about cashiers and about how the required standing of the profession can be one of the causes of varicose veins.

From retail cashiers at big-box stores to cashiers at grocery stores, working the register for long periods of time can take its toll on your legs and veins. To help fight vein disease, check out these exercises you can do while ringing up customers.

    1. Hairstylists

Ever seen a hairstylist sitting while they work? Neither have we. Even though you get to sit in a comfy chair while you get your hair cut, they don’t. Instead, they typically stand on a hard floor all day, which can be what causes varicose veins and a host of other health issues.

Do you have a job that requires standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time? Is there something you do, like wear compression stockings or perform exercises, that help you cope? Let us know in the comments.