During pregnancy the increase in blood volume puts pressure on the veins, and hormonal secretions relax the walls of the blood vessels, making it more difficult for blood to return from the lower body back up to the heart. The weight of the enlarge uterus can put additional stress on the pelvis veins and constipation may also obstruct pelvic circulation. As a result, blood may pool in the lower body and varicose veins may appear on the legs, or in the vulva, or rectum. They can ve unsightly, painful, and itchy. Those that appear in the rectum are commonly known as hemorrhoids or piles.
A tendency to varicosities may be hereditary but in pregnancy they are more common in women who have to stand for long periods. Vulval varicosities will usually disappear after birth; varicose veins in the legs may or may not improve, although they are more likely to do so if given early treatment.
Eat well, including plenty of fibre in your diet and exercise regularly to encourage the smooth functioning of both your circulatory and eliminatory systems. Do the pelvic floor and inner thigh stretch exercises (below)
Caution: The exercises on this page involve lying on your back and may be done throughout pregnancy up to 34 weeks. In the last six weeks, or if you feel uncomfortable or dizzy when lying on your back, then leave out the positions, roll onto one side, rest there for a moment and then come up slowly.
This exercise releases tension in the inner thigh muscles and improves venus return. Sit down sideway swith one hip touching the wall. Swing around and lie down in one movement, bringing your legs up against the wall at a right angle to your body. Make sure your buttocks are touching the wall and your upper body is straight. Getting into this position will become easier after a little practise.
1.1 Breath deeply into your belly and release your spine, bringing the back of your waist down onto the floor. Tuck your chin in and lengthen the back of your neck. Relax your shoulders, jaw, and face. Extend your heels
1.2 Breath out and spread your legs, gently extending your heels. Release your lower back toward the floor and softly take your arms over your head and place them on the floor. Relax and breathe, bending your knees as in squatting to take a rest. Continue for one or two minutes.
Herbalism- An ointment of either comfrey, yellow dock root, plantain, or yarrow made up by a herbalist, may help to stop bleeding, reduce swelling, and ease pain. Acupuncture may improve blood circulation. Aromatherapy- This therapy can be effective in the treatment of varicose veins. Essentials oils may be prescribed for massage or for external application in compress form,
Self- Help suggestions
– Avoid squatting or standing for long periods and when you sit, never cross your legs. Instead put them up whenever you can.
– Raise the foot of your bed 7.5 to 10 cm
– If you wear support stockings, put your legs up for a while before putting them on.
– To ease pain and reduce swelling, apply witch hazel on a lint compress to affected areas.
– Applications of grated raw potato are particularly effective for hemorrhoids and vulval varicosities, and you may also find helpful to apply ice compresses to the perineum and anus.
– Horse chestnut ointment may be applied locally
Eat raw garlic, onions,and parsley to increase the elasticity of your veins, and avoid constipation. Sunflower seeds and wheatgerm are rich in Vitamin E, a deficiency in which is linked with varicosities. A daily Vitamin E supplement of up to 600 IU is recommended to help repair broken capillaries. Rutin supplements will build up the walls of the veins but should not be taken until the fourth month of pregnancy. Buckwheat is a good source of rutin that you should include in your diet.
Increasing your intake of Vitamin C rich foods will promote healing and strengthen blood vessels, and raw beetroot/beets, either grated or as a juice, will fortify the liver and aid elimination. It is best to avoid spicy foods and aloe vera products.
Sources: Natural Pregnancy by Janel Balaskas