While pregnancy is a blessing and a beautiful time for women, it is accompanied by some not-so-beautiful side effects. As a woman's body grows during pregnancy, extra pressure is put on the lower extremities. This extra pressure can often lead to pregnancy-induced varicose and spider veins—which often cause mayhem on an expecting woman's legs and groin area. Not only are the varocities unsightly, but they may also cause discomfort during what can already be an uncomfortable time in a woman's life. Although the varicose veins are typically harmless and diminish in the first few months after labor, there are some natural and safe ways expecting mothers can lessen the discomfort using essential oils and movement. Below are three routines to incorporate into your day, during pregnancy and after since varicose veins tend to be reoccurring as you age.
Sit down…and then get up!
Because varicose veins occur when the walls of the veins are weakened from extra pressure, it is important to do things to fight against that damage. You can do so by:
- Sitting down periodically each hour if you stand often. Elevate your feet above heart level to give the blood a chance to circle back more easily. If you have a desk job and sit for long periods of time, do the opposite—stand for a few minutes every 15 or 20 minutes. While sitting at your desk, prop a box under your feet to keep your legs from hanging straight down. Keeping your legs elevated will cut back on your veins having to fight so hard to defy gravity and will hopefully delay the further development of varicose veins.
- Going for a walk every day for at least 15 minutes. Routine exercise can increase blood flow and circulation, so although you'll be on your feet, you are actually working to assist your veins in pushing the blood through. This will make the discomfort and swelling better if you keep up with it.
Get those hose on!
Compression hoses get a bad rap for being "old-lady hose", but they are actually great for keeping the blood flowing in your legs. In fact, even if you're not pregnant, wearing compression hose regularly can decrease your risk for developing varicose veins if they run in your family.
First thing in the morning, put compression stockings on! The stockings are tight so they force the blood to circulate back up toward the heart. If you're pregnant and already showing signs of varocities you will most likely need a higher prescription from your doctor. The best part is that new-age compression hose come in more colors than your standard "old lady" tan. Get them in black and wear them as tights under a cute maternity dress—no one will even know you're working your circulation at the same time!
Massage with essential oils
During pregnancy and nursing, women have to be careful about the things they put in and on their bodies. Essential oils are great for naturally remedying ailments, but you have to be extra careful when you're expecting as some of the side effects on a fetus are unknown. There are several essential oils that are known to be safe for pregnancy. Incorporate daily leg massages and food soaks into your routine to fight the bulging veins and release some associated discomfort.
Varicose Vein Preventative Massage Oil:
Dilute five drops of peppermint, cypress, lemon and geranium oils into two tablespoons of a carrier oil such as sweet almond or grapeseed. You can also use common olive or vegetable oil if that's what you have on hand. Carefully and slowly massage the oil onto your legs in the morning and evening each day. It is important to always rub in the direction of the heart, from the foot, up the leg. These four essential oils are known for promoting circulation and blood flow. Peppermint is good for inflammation if your feet are swollen.
Relaxing Foot Soak:
Dilute two drops of geranium with five drops of lavender and chamomile into a basin of warm water. Soak your feet for five to ten minutes before bed to relax you and also to stimulate blood flow.
There is not much you can do to permanently get rid of varicose veins during pregnancy. However, getting enough exercise, not sitting or standing for long periods of time, and massaging your legs daily may help stimulate your circulation and hopefully decrease the appearance and discomfort of varicose veins. If you are more concerned about the pain associated with your varocities, always consult your physician such as Alaska Vein Care.