During pregnancy you may face a number of aches and pains, or feel generally uncomfortable in your legs and pelvis as the pregnancy progresses. Various factors are behind this discomfort, such as the weight of the baby, increased blood flow in your body, and hormonal changes. There are several ways in which you can alleviate these pains, and in many cases compression stockings may be a good option to look into.
What Changes Happen During Pregnancy to Your Vascular System?
When you are pregnant a number of things change in your body, including your hormones, blood flow, and pelvic bone and ligament structure.
Particular hormones are produced which cause the pelvis and ligaments to relax, to allow the baby to more easily move through the birth canal. This is important and useful for giving birth, but can have side effects on your veins, and the walls of the veins and arteries relax as well. The result is that the veins naturally enlarge, leading to a greater chance of varicose or spider veins developing. When you combine this with the growth of the placenta, uterus, and baby, pelvis pressure and sore or achy legs can be a common pregnancy complaint.
To support the growing baby, the blood flow in a pregnant woman’s body increases significantly, which also increases the strain on your lower limbs and the veins inside your pelvis and legs. Dr. Chaloner, an expert on varicose vein treatments, notes that “usually, problems with veins are worse in the later stages of pregnancy when the heavy uterus is blocking the return of blood from the leg veins to the rest of the body, causing the veins in the legs to bulge out more and become uncomfortable.”
Your vascular system is working hard to support the baby and your changing body, but the effects can be painful swelling or a feeling of discomfort that you may want to alleviate. There are a number of approaches you can take to help you to feel more comfortable.
Relieving Pain and Pressure During Pregnancy
Several different methods and techniques can be helpful for reducing pain in your legs and pelvis during pregnancy, and preventing vein swelling or varicose veins from occurring.
First, make sure you rest frequently throughout the day, and allow yourself some time off your feet whenever possible. If you are working in a sedentary job, also make sure that you take regular breaks to walk around and allow the blood-flow in your legs to keep moving.
Second, consider using compression stockings to promote circulation in your legs, and relieve painful swelling in your ankles and lower legs. There are a number of different kinds of stockings available, with different lengths and compression levels. Some stockings only cover the ankle, while others cover the lower leg and some go up to the top of the thigh. Different levels of compression are also available, with higher levels of compression feeling more firm. You can get stockings from supermarkets and pharmacies, but if you need a higher level of compression you may need these prescribed by your doctor.
Third, eat healthy foods and avoid sodium, and make sure you drink plenty of water. A healthy diet and good hydration can help to reduce swelling, and can result in feeling less painful and under pressure.
Aches and pains during pregnancy are common, but are not something you need to put up with. By understanding the changes your body is going through, and the ways in which you can help your body, you can have a smoother and more pleasant pregnancy experience.