You have just found out you are pregnant, things can’t get any better and then you find out about varicose veins, swollen ankles, tired aching legs, all of which are more likely during pregnancy. Being pregnant means that extra blood is pumped around your body to support you and your baby and this inevitably increases the likelihood of vessel walls relaxing with the increase in pressure. In addition, heightened hormone production when you are expecting naturally exacerbates this relaxing of the veins. As your womb expands the veins at the tops of your legs then come under even further pressure which can make them varicose. In most cases veins significantly improve once your baby is born.
Compression therapy works by applying controlled pressure to the surface veins, keeping their diameter small and forcing blood back into the deep vein system which in turn pushes the blood uphill towards the heart. Stronger compression is applied at the ankle and decreasing up the leg. Improved blood flow aids in the healing of varicose veins, venous leg ulcers and lymphatic problems.
Tips for healthy legs during pregnancy
- Avoid standing for long periods of time
- When you sit down we recommend putting your feet up when possible
- Try sleeping with your feet higher than the rest of your body
- Start wearing Gloriamed tights as early as possible into your pregnancy. Either knee length, hold-ups or maternity tights
- To prevent blood from pooling in your legs, put the tights on before getting out of bed in the morning, while you’re still lying down, and keep them on all day
- Try and do some exercise every day, walking, swimming or yoga are all fine
- When sitting do foot exercises, bend and stretch your foot up and down 30 times
- Drink plenty of water
- Try not to put on too much weight
- Sleep on your left side. 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
- In hot weather, try and keep your legs cool with either cold baths or showers
- Try not to sit with your legs crossed