17w0d Vein-ity

Your baby’s the size of a sweet potato!

Your baby’s getting ready to bust a move. At five and a half inches long and almost 7 ounces in weight, he now may be large enough for you to feel him twisting, rolling, kicking, and punching his way around the womb. Plus, he’s developing yawning and hiccupping skills (you may feel those soon, too!) and his own unique set of toe and fingerprints.

Oh, my aching back! If you’ve uttered those words more than once this week, here’s why: Your uterus, now about the size of a cantaloupe, is causing your body’s center of gravity to shift, pulling the lower back forward and pushing the abdomen out (so now everyone can see that you’re pregnant!). On top of all that, joint-loosening pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc on your muscles and ligaments, adding up to one big ouch!

(Source: What to Expect and The Bump)

OH MY GOD, I was getting dressed for work this morning when I spotted these faint bluish spots on the backs of my knees…AM I GETTING VARICOSE VEINS?!  This is one of my biggest pregnancy fears.  I’ve seen several of my friends with varicose veins during their pregnancies, and for a couple of them, these yucky veins never went away after the birth of their babies.  Varicose veins don’t harm the baby, but they are unsightly.  I know this makes me sound horribly vain (or shall I say, vein), but I’m already losing my waist, butt, arms, diet, face, and all control of my bodily functions to Baby Z, must I give up my legs as well!?

I’ve done some research into varicose veins, and this is what The Bump says about them:

What are varicose veins?

Veins carry blood from your organs back to your heart, which means they’re basically working against gravity. This ain’t easy, especially in a pregnant lady. That’s because, thanks to your expanding uterus, increasing blood volume and changing hormones, your veins are under even more pressure than usual right now. And in the spots under the most pressure (usually your legs, but sometimes your rectum and vulva), blood can accumulate, which results in swollen — varicose — veins.

What are the signs of varicose veins?

You’ll notice veins are visibly dark purple or blue and are twisted and enlarged. Sometimes your legs might ache or feel heavy. Varicose veins may also cause your legs to swell and itch. The pain normally occurs if you’re sitting or standing for a long time — so make sure you change positions often.

What’s the best way to treat varicose veins during pregnancy?

To improve circulation, prop up your legs whenever possible, exercise, avoid tight clothes and shoes, get lots of vitamin C and try not to gain more weight than your doctor recommends. Compression hose can also help, as can sleeping on your left side (so your uterus doesn’t press on the vena cava, a major vein on your right side).

What can I do to prevent varicose veins?

To prevent varicose veins — or at least keep them under control — try to keep excess pressure from building up, especially in your legs.

BABY Z, DON’T YOU DARE GIVE MOMMY VARICOSE VEINS!!   (Oh, and happy 18 week birthday pumpkin.)


One response

  1. Sorry about the veins. May I also recommend buying TUMS now for heartburn as well as cranberry juice to ward of UTIs.

    From babycenter.com (http://www.babycenter.com/0_urinary-tract-infections-during-pregnancy_9403.bc):

    Higher levels of the hormone progesterone decrease the muscle tone of the ureters (the tubes between the kidneys and the bladder), causing them to dilate and slowing the flow of urine. Plus, as your uterus enlarges it may compress the ureters, making it that much more difficult for urine to flow through them as quickly and as freely as usual.

    Your bladder also loses tone during pregnancy. It becomes more difficult to completely empty your bladder, and your bladder becomes more prone to reflux, a condition where some urine flows back up the ureters toward the kidneys.

    The upshot of these changes is that it takes longer for urine to pass through your urinary tract, giving bacteria more time to multiply and take hold before being flushed out, and it also becomes easier for the bacteria to travel up to your kidneys. What’s more, during pregnancy your urine becomes less acidic and more likely to contain glucose, both of which boost the potential for bacterial growth.

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