During pregnancy, you may notice jagged blood vessels running down your legs branching out like sunbursts or a spider web. But don’t get anxious on seeing them. These are called spider veins, which can commonly appear on the legs and face during pregnancy.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are purple or blue veins that occur typically during pregnancy on a woman’s legs, ankles, or face. They usually don’t cause much pain but can make your legs feel heavy. If you have spent a long time on your feet, the skin around these veins can also feel itchy or may even throb.
Are Spider Veins Normal in Pregnant Women?
Yes, spider veins are extremely common during pregnancy with about 30-40 percent of women developing spider veins when they are pregnant. Also, it can be a hereditary phenomenon. Around 80-90 percent of women with a parent who has had spider veins can develop them during pregnancy.
How Do They Differ from Varicose Veins?
Spider veins can sometimes be mistaken for varicose veins, which are more swollen and larger than spider veins. Spider veins are small and visible through the skin.
What Causes Spider Veins in Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, you have a lot more blood running in your veins to supply to your foetus. Also, your levels of hormones oestrogen and progesterone will also change causing more blood in your veins to pool up. This increase in blood volume and blood circulation in your body causes spider veins to appear on your legs or face. Although they might get uncomfortable for you, the good news is that they will not affect your baby in the least.
How Long Do Spider Veins Last?
While you might be irritated with their appearance, just keep in mind that spider veins are a temporary side effect and tend to improve within 3 or 4 months after giving birth. But don’t worry, there are many ways you can reduce their appearance.
How to Reduce the Effects of Spider Veins in Pregnancy
Below are a few ways that you can try to reduce the appearance of spider veins during early pregnancy.
1. Stock Up on Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important source to make collagen and elastin which are two important connective tissues used to maintain and repair veins.
2. Include High-fibre Food in Your Diet
Make sure to include high fibre foods in your diet since another common condition during pregnancy is constipation, which can contribute to spider veins. When you exert too much pressure during a bowel movement, the blood in your deeper veins gets constricted. This means that the blood must find another route to flow through, which is most often the superficial veins, leading to those spidery blue veins on your legs. Good sources of fibre include whole grains like bran, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
3. Exercise Your Legs
Timely exercise helps improve circulation, leg strength, and stability in your veins. Exercises that work your legs are most effective, like walking or running. Make sure to watch your weight as any extra weight places extra pressure on your legs.
4. Keep Your Blood Circulation Going
Sitting restricts blood flow in your legs so try not to cross your legs while sitting. You can also elevate them while you rest so that the circulation in your legs and feet are eased back to your heart.
5. Wear Loose Clothing
Don’t wear any tight clothing like tight jeans or anything which puts pressure on your waist, groin, or legs.
6. Camouflage It
There are some flesh-toned concealers especially available for hiding spider veins so you can use them to hide your more visible spider veins.
7. Don’t Stand for Long Periods of Time
If you absolutely have to stand for long periods of time, make sure to shift your weight from one leg to another every two minutes. If you are sitting for long, stand up and take a short walk every half an hour to free your legs.
8. Try Cosmetic Solutions
There are several ways for treatment of spider veins during pregnancy which can eliminate or minimize them, like laser treatments and sclerotherapy, a process where veins are injected with a solution which helps them collapse and fade from your skin. But you cannot try it until you deliver your baby.
How to Prevent Spider Veins while Pregnant
There are few procedures to prevent spider veins on legs while pregnant. You can visit a doctor who will diagnose you first. He can give you a compression hose which can increase the circulation in your legs. Spider veins usually go away post-pregnancy, but if they don’t, then you can opt for laser treatment post delivery to restore the original look of your skin. A laser is used to penetrate the vein under the skin. The heat will coagulate the blood, causing the vein to collapse and seal. You can opt for this treatment, but do it only after the delivery.
Spider veins are extremely common in pregnant women so do not worry about them sticking around forever. You can always follow the above suggestions to prevent them from spreading.
Also Read: Swelling during Pregnancy