Bringing new life into the world is a miracle and gift, but it is not without caveats. Most women who have been pregnant will agree that two of the most difficult yet underestimated conditions that arise from pregnancy are swelling and varicose veins.
What is Edema?
Edema, or swelling, is a natural part of pregnancy. Your body will produce more fluids to ensure your baby has all it needs to develop properly. You will retain more fluids to help keep your body pliant as the baby grows. But your body can only do so much to accommodate the growing baby in your womb. Your pelvic veins and vena cava, the large vein responsible for transporting blood from the lower limbs back to the heart, is “squeezed” by the growing uterus as the pregnancy progresses. This pressure hampers your blood flow and causes your body fluids to pool in your ankles and feet. Your hands, face, and neck may also experience swelling as your body fluids are pushed into tissues due to changes in your blood chemistry and hormones. Pregnant women typically experience pronounced swelling in their third trimester.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins, usually blue or purple in color, which cause a distended or uneven appearance of the skin area they are found in. Varicose veins develop when the natural flow of blood is restrained, weakening the walls of the vein where the blood collects until the vein swells and becomes visible as a bulging blue or purple varicose vein. As you go further along in your pregnancy the body will steadily retain all those excess fluids while blood from your legs has a harder time flowing back to your heart, leading to the formation of varicose veins. Studies show that at least a third of first-time mothers and more than half of women on their second (or more) pregnancy develop varicose veins.
Are Edema and Varicose Veins permanent?
The good news is edema and varicose veins go away once the pregnancy ends for most women. For the next three months after delivery, your body naturally expels all the excess fluids from your body and your hands, legs, feet, and other parts affected return to their normal appearance and color. But until your due date comes, you have to cope with living, and for some, working, with these two.
How to treat Edema and Varicose Veins naturally during pregnancy?
Living and working with edema and varicose veins is challenging for most expecting mothers, and it can be debilitating for some. That is why it is important to find safe and natural ways to treat them. This is to ensure that the development of the baby and the health of mother and child are not compromised by undesired effects from additional medication.
Fortunately, most of the prescribed natural treatments are easy, need little to no equipment, and can mostly be categorized as slight lifestyle changes. Here are the five most commonly prescribed natural ways to treat edema and varicose veins:
1. Avoid prolonged sitting or standing in one place. It is important to take breaks, ideally every thirty to sixty minutes. Get a cup of coffee, or glass of water, or anything to get you moving (or sitting) if only for a few minutes before you resume work.
2. Engage in physician-approved exercises. Even if you have been exercising your entire life, always consult your doctor before engaging in any exercise or strenuous activity.
3. Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid restrictive clothing and artificial fabrics that prevent the skin from breathing and sweat from evaporating properly.
4. Wear appropriate footwear. Stilettos and other heeled footwear distribute the body weight unevenly which can worsen your edema and varicose veins. Wedges and platforms, although seemingly more comfortable than heels, make you prone to sprains and tripping.
5. Wear compression socks for better blood flow in the leg and ankle area.
What are the benefits of wearing compression socks during pregnancy?
In a nutshell, compression socks are designed to help or improve blood flow. Clothing accessories imbued with compression technology all seek to improve blood flow, improve the comfort of the wearer, and enhance performance. On a more serious note, they can help to prevent some medical conditions such as DVT or deep vein thrombosis which can be life-threatening.
So why wear compression socks at all during pregnancy?
Because they directly address the swelling and varicose veins that come with pregnancy. They are snug so your legs will feel taut but stretchy enough so that you do not feel as if you are wearing a leg corset. They compress or hug the ankle area with the right amount of pressure, and this pressure gradually decreases moving up the leg, to help the blood from your legs flow back to your heart.
Are all compression socks are created equal?
If you are pregnant, then it is better to avoid synthetic compression socks that are made of 100% oil derived yarns and can cause rashes and allergies when worn for long periods of time.
The best choice is to use good quality cotton compression sock as they are safer, hypoallergenic and just much more comfortable. Cotton compression socks let the skin breathe during hot summers and provide added warmth during cooler temperatures. Sockslane manufactures high-quality compression socks made of cotton that are comfortable, durable and fashionable. To learn more about Sockslane and how it has made a difference in other women’s lives, click here.
Pregnancy and motherhood come with its challenges but sometimes something as simple as wearing the right pair of socks can go a long way in ensuring the safety and well-being of expecting mothers and their babies.