Pregnancy Skin Care - How To Deal With Varicose Veins

During pregnancy a womans circulatory system adapts to meet the needs of two and the blood vessels have to expand to accommodate. The blood volume increases by between 30% and 50%. Increased blood circulation and an increase in secretion of sebum, or skin oil results in what many people know as the 'pregnancy glow'. This can make a woman look beautiful however it also can result in spider and varicose veins, the latter being unsightly and often painful.

Spider Veins

Increases in blood circulation can result in spider veins or spider nevi to appear during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. They are web-like blood vessels often seen on the arms, chest, neck and face.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large, blue-coloured veins that appear mainly on the legs and pubis which results in the legs becoming swollen, sore and prone to blood clots. They are a result of excessive weight and pressure on the womb which affects how blood circulates around the body. Risk factors for varicose veins are;

-multiple pregnancies

-excessive weight gain

-long periods of sitting or standing

-a family history of the condition

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

DVT happen in less than 10% of women. Women who are complaining of leg pain, swelling, warmth and redness may be experiencing deep vein thrombosis and should seek medical help as this is potentially life threatening.

During pregnancy there are a few things that you can do to prevent or limit the varicose veins or spider veins. Exercise helps along with having a healthy diet - a diet high in vitamin C will increase collagen in the connective tissue which will help with tonifying the blood vessels. Having a diet rich in green leafy vegetables can increase calcium in the blood which in turn helps with blood health and prevents clotting.

Other activiites can help in preventing the problem.

- avoid prolonged sitting
- elevate your legs when resting
- avoid standing in the same position and if you have to move your weight from one leg to the other
- light exercise
- lying on you left side at night
- wearing support tights or leggings

Circulation problems can also lead to cutis marmorata or 'marbled skin' of the lower legs when exposed to cold weather, hot and cold flushes and oedema.

Spider and varicose veins are a normal part of pregnancy for many women and in many case they resolve post delivery. However, if there is no improvement after 3 or 4 months then lazer treatment for spider veins is available and in severe cases varicose veins can be surgically removed or undergo sclerotherapy, a procedure in which the veins are injected with a solution which causes the veins to collaspse and fade.