Prenatal vitamins: Pregnancy and veins

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Agree, you do want to see your slender figure again in the mirror after childbirth: neat belly, elastic hips, smooth legs without varicose veins. Let`s speak about ways to keep your vessels healthyб including prenatal vitamins.

Veins are one of the most vulnerable structures of organism, they are
subjected to rather serious danger during pregnancy. To assure in it,
it`s enough to look at statistics. About 30% of women, living on our
planet, suffer from varicose veins, and 80% of them get this problem
right during pregnancy. The fact that during expectation of a first
baby a probability of this diseases is the highest is also interesting,
and if you still managed to keep your veins healthy till third
pregnancy, you almost risk nothing (percentage of appearance of
varicose veins is extremely low in this case: about 20%). Hence it
becomes clear that pregnancy is just a comfortable time of realization
of a hereditary disposition towards this disease. “Well, nothing can be
changed? I have only bear child and wait till my veins turn to small
tubes?” - you will ask. Let`s see.

Prenatal vitamins. Some words about veins. For a start let`s make a short
excursus into anatomy. What are veins? These are vessels, bringing
blood to heart. You all know where heart is situated, and understand
that blood has to go through veins against gravity. And the bigger this
gravity is, the harder work is. That`s because fat people suffer from
varicose veins much more often, than slender ones. But if blood flows
through arteries due to a favorable emission of heart and
well-developed muscular wall of these vessels, then what still moves
blood through veins, which wall has no muscular fibre? There`re several
mechanisms: heart itself pulls it somehow, muscles, surrounding veins,
contract, thereby pushing blood.

Veins are provided with valves, preventing regurgitation. If valves are
broken, congestion begins, dilations are formed, and then turn into
vascular sacs and cylinders, filled with blood. Blood flow slows down
through such veins, thrombi are formed in them, which accumulate on a
vascular wall, contributing to its inflammation - trombophlebitis
develops, or they spread in organism, corking up arteries.

Thus, 3 troubles can threaten our veins: varicose veins (more often during
pregnancy), trombophlebitis (more often after delivery on the
background of changed veins) and thrombosis of arteries (extremely
seldom). But what`s the fault of pregnancy?

Prenatal vitamins. Should you be afraid of varicose veins? During expectation of a baby
there`re quite enough conditions for veins diseases development. Let`s
try to divide them in 2 groups: reasons we cannot affect, and
those we rather can correct. Let`s start with first ones. First
of all, a baby, growing in uterus, squeezes veins of abdominal cavity
with his increasing weight. These are iliac vein and lower cava, which
gather blood from whole lower part of body: legs and organs of small
pelvis. Accordingly, these regions blood flow-out slows down,
threatening local veins health. And these are not only veins of lower
extremities, which we usually connect term of varicosity with, but also
veins of rectum (their dilation is called haemorrhoids) and vagina.
Moreover, volume of blood, washing uterus, increases significantly.
This leads to the fact that much more blood comes to already squeezed
lower cava, thus overloading it even more and increasing congestion in
lower sections. Well-known hormonal changes of a pregnant organism
influence also conjunctive tissue, making it less elastic and easily
extensible. And as it is it that forms veins walls and their valves, it
becomes clear, that these structures relax and stretch gladly, not
wishing to struggle with pressure, increasing with every week.

Now let`s go to the second group of reasons of varicosity
during pregnancy: those, which can be affected by us. Increase of
general body weight is on the first place, which is often abnormal. And
every excess kilogram makes veins work harder, which already suffer due
to circumstances beyond our control and receive little prenatal vitamins. Then go reduction of physical activity, long standing or sitting. In this case problem is redoubled
because muscles of legs don`t work, and they should make veins wall
contracting. Your mothers probably told you that it is not recommended
to sit crossing legs? Do you think these are prejudices? Wrongly. In
such position popliteal veins are squeezed, an obstacle for devastation
of shank vessels is formed. Superheating in every form creates
additional conditions for relaxation of a wall and valves, this way
supporting lop-sided action of pregnancy hormones.

How does it look? Probably, every woman knows how varicose veins look,
as they also cause cosmetic defect. Firstly the smallest vascular
red-cyanotic net appears on shanks or hips, called “spider”. If you
noticed such changes for the first time - be quick to prevent further
development of a disease. You know, this is the earliest stage of
varicosity, and effect of treatment will be best right now. But if you
missed a saving moment, you will be able to see already bigger veins,
situated on legs and (or) perineum. It is very easy to recognize them:
they have bluish color, come out on skin, are elastic by touch, can be
easily squeezed. Sometimes so-called varicose angles are formed, these
are enlarged sites of a vessel, in which blood is accumulated and

They become main source of thrombosis - an invisible and
imperceptible, but quite serious danger for our organism. However,
besides loss of past beauty, disease begins affecting also your health.
Firstly you will feel tiredness and heaviness in legs, appearing to the
evening. Then edemas of feet and shanks may develop, bringing new
troubles: from possibility of wearing favorite shoes to troubles in
moving. Sometimes cramps of gastrocnemius muscles appear too, worrying
you in the nights. What shall you do to prevent development of these

What to do: preventive measures. When should you start preventive
measures against varicosity? Right now. Start with gathering of a
family anamnesis: ask your mother whether she suffers from varicosity.
In case of positive answer find out, when it appeared, which measures
she took? Why do you need it? To imagine yourself in future. Naturally,
inheritance of this pathology is not 100%, however, if your mother
gained varicosity during pregnancy, you should be morally ready to the
same. On no account we want to direct you to inactivity. On the
contrary, you are predisposed to such pathology, you should observe
recommendation on reduction of load on veins with great care and don`t
panic, if you still won`t be able to avoid this problem completely. All
the same you will be able to reduce it, hold up, relieve. If nobody of
your family ever suffered from varicosity, this does not mean you can
relax and ignore good advices. Above we described that inheritance is
not a governing factor in development of this disease. So, as we cannot
influence growing uterus and hormonal background of organism during
pregnancy, let`s try to influence other circumstances, contributing to
development of varicosity.


- control your weight gain. Popular opinion that overweight is ok in
not authorized in this case. Go in for gymnastics, swimming, yoga -
what you like more. While correct and regular exercising you will make
your gastrocnemius muscles work in necessary mode and will be able to
control your weight;

- do not lift anything heavy. While pregnancy you can lift things only
up to 2 kg. Spare yourself only for a while in your life: bring
pleasure to your husband, allow him showing his masculinity, strength
and care;

- do not sit or stand for a long time. “It`s easy to say, but who will
work then” - you will object. If you have a sitting work (and majority
of us has), just do several rules. In the end of each hour stand up and
walk along corridors, and better go upstairs, if there`s a possibility.
Do several simple exercises. While sitting, stretch your tiptoes
towards and from yourself periodically. While standing, rise on your
toes again, stand on your heels. Squat a couple of times. Twist your
foot over and back. You can do such exercises almost always, they will
greatly help to restore blood flow-out.

- do not sit on low chairs, don`t cross your legs. Take care of your
working place. Holding your legs at an angle, you help broken blood
flow-out: you create a new obstacle for it in the form of bent and
squeezed veins. “Of course, best of all would be lie and lying with
raised legs” - you will say, and you will be right. Don`t forget about
it, when you have such possibility: after work, during weekend. Before
going to bed you can put a pillow under your feet - in such position
better blood circulation is provided.

- walk more, and wear low-heel shoes. This makes gastrocnemius muscles working
in necessary mode, without overloads.

- don`t do short intensive loads. They include, for example, running,
playing tennis etc. Postpone such sport events till later, replacing
them by softer ones.

- do not overheat: don`t take hot baths, sunbathe under straight sun
beams. Conjunctive tissue of veins walls relaxes under high
temperature, walls become pliable for further stretching.

- bring regular pleasure to your legs in the form of cool shower. Move
from foot to hip, along veins - this will strengthen them, add tone.

- take ascorbic acid and rutin, called also prenatal vitamins C and P. They have
a strengthening effect on vasculars wall and reduce their
penetrability. Usually these substances are included in prenatal vitamins, however, they are also manufactured separately (for example,

- use special tights, creating elastic compression. In appearance they
look like usual ones, but effect from their wearing is quite high.
Future mothers, predisposed to varicosity, should listen to this advice
especially attentively. After 20th week wearing of special tights
becomes especially actual, don`t ignore it.

If varicosity is already here. What to do, if varicosity still appeared
and continues progressing? You need to treat it, and in this case
therapy will be directed on improvement of your present condition and
prevention of possible complications during delivery and after them.
All above-mentioned recommendations are valid still. Plus doctor may
prescribe special preparations for you, both in the form of pills and
ointments and gels. Their action is directed on improvement of blood
circulation in veins, reduction of their penetrability, prevention of
thrombi appearance. Don`t use such remedies by yourself, as many of
them are contra-indicated during pregnancy. If you feel burning pain,
itch, notice reddening along vein, strong edema of legs, increase of
body temperature, consult a doctor urgently! This may be a sign of
trombophlebitis, which should be cured seriously.

Another important decision - is choice of way of delivery. The main
problem in this case - is presence of varicose veins in the area of
perineum and in vagina. This is an absolute indication for Cesarean
section in connection with the fact that natural delivery can cause
strongest bleeding.

In case when varicosity is rather strong, doctor makes a decision about
necessity of carrying out additional tests and possible treatment,
which will prevent formation of thrombi. So you should definitely
inform your gynaecologist about existing pathology.

Let your legs be always beautiful and healthy!

Tatiana Konotopskaya, doctor of center “The ABC for Parents”.

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