Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.
Pregnancy is not just a time of happy expecting. It's also a great challenge for the body: as the baby grows inside the womb, your body is exposed to unpleasant ailments, such as varicose veins, swelling, leg cramps, and back ache. Most of them cannot be completely eliminated, but they can be relieved. Here are my tips for varicose veins, swollen legs and leg cramps.
Are these already varicose veins?
During pregnancy, I noticed that my body was covered by a net of subcutaneous blue veins on my breasts and tummy. Full of concern, I went to see a doctor, who calmed me by telling me that it was completely normal. He said that subcutaneous veins were simply more visible then, because there was much more blood running through my body than before pregnancy, and that it was necessary for the baby's proper development. My delicate physique made it look much worse - my skin looked like a river map! However, it didn't mean that my whole body was covered in varicose veins.
Unfortunately, my happiness didn't last long. When I was six months pregnant, I felt the first symptoms of approaching problems with my legs - swelling, veins under my knees that were more and more visible, nightly leg cramps. In order not to let the ailments develop further, I found out about their causes and then quickly started to act. This way I managed to avoid thrombophlebitis.
Where do varicose veins and swelling come from?
This unpleasant ailment usually appears still before pregnancy, and simply intensifies during it. Some women, however, develop it only during pregnancy. Varicose veins develop because of the growing womb which applies pressure on the veins in the pelvis and, as a result, increases the blood pressure in the veins around the legs. Your legs also don't benefit from the fast weight gain, which is a heavy burden for them, or the hormonal changes - increasing level of progesterone, which decreases the elasticity of blood vessel walls and causes the venous valves to operate poorly. In addition, the increased amount of fluid running through the tissues during pregnancy can also increase the risk of swelling. My legs were in bad shape - swollen and aching, they were calling for help. It was time for decreasing the pressure in their veins and a anti-swelling treatment.
1. I went to the doctor regularly to check the condition of my veins.
2. I learned not to sit or stand for long periods of time. When at work, I had breaks when I would walk around the office.
3. I tried to avoid crossing my legs when sitting.
4. When working at the computer I kept my legs in the same level as my bottom and hips. I placed a footstool with a pillow under my desk and put my legs on it, gently bent in the knees. If you too work at a desk but you don't have space underneath it, put the footstool by your desk and turn the computer on a slant. In addition, I moved my feet once in a while.
5. I went for a walk every day and signed up for pregnant women's exercise group. Lack of exercise is the fastest way to develop vein problems, so exercise, dance or practice yoga. Sport is good as long as it doesn't involve lifting weight or excessive strain.
6. When my calves were aching, I soothed them with compresses made of cool, wet towels.
7. I gave up pumps with narrow toes and heels, and started using comfortable shoes with profiled insoles.
8. I exchanged knee-length socks and socks with a tight welt for anti-varicose tights (I asked the doctor to choose the appropriate type of tights), and tight underwear for looser ones.
9. I tried to eat food products rich in vitamin C and fibre, which have a positive effect on the elasticity of veins, as well as foods rich in magnesium and calcium which prevent leg cramps.
10. I drank a lot - 3 litres of water every day. It helped me get rid of excessive fluid.
11. I walked barefoot at home - it relieved the cramps. When I got a cramp in the night, my husband helped me get up and walk barefoot around the room. After a short walk, the cramp went away. Then I lied down on the bed with my legs bent in knees and my feet resting on the mattress. When I wasn't too tired, I also massaged the calves.
This programme really worked for me. However, sometimes problems with varicose veins and swelling are so serious that they need to be relieved with medicine. Nevertheless, don't take medicine without consulting a doctor. If ill chosen and incorrectly dosed, they can do more harm than good.