Thursday, August 30, 2012

Week 8

Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from your baby's hands and feet, his eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his throat to the branches of his developing lungs, and his "tail" is just about gone. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways. You may be daydreaming about your baby as one sex or the other, but the external genitals still haven't developed enough to reveal whether you're having a boy or a girl. Either way, your baby — about the size of a kidney bean — is constantly moving and shifting, though you still can't feel it.

I am really happy I kept a blog and wrote down each week what I feeling and what was going on. I looked back to week 8 when I was pregnant with Luca. I have the same symptoms last time that I did this time. I was getting some cramps and pulling yesterday and I had those same feelings. It’s the round ligament pains.

They say every pregnancy is different and that is the truth. With Luca I never was nauseous, and this time I was. It has gotten better. This time though I have been getting pains in my legs. They have been feeling heavy and crampy. They are worse when I am home with Luca. By the end of the day they are killing me that I can’t wait to go to bed to put them up.

So this is most likely varicose veins.

What varicose veins during pregnancy are:

The large, swollen blood vessels found predominantly in the legs, but that can show up almost anywhere in the lower half of your body. (In fact, hemorrhoids are nothing more than varicose veins in the area around your rectum — but at least you don't have to look at those.) When they swell above the surface of the skin, they create those distinctive purplish bulges women love to hate.

What causes varicose veins during pregnancy:

The extra volume of blood you produce during pregnancy is essential to support two growing bodies. It does, however, put extra pressure on your blood vessels, especially the veins in your legs, which have to work against gravity to push all that extra blood back up to your heart. Add to that the pressure your burgeoning uterus puts on your pelvic blood vessels, and the vessel-relaxing effects of the extra progesterone your body is producing, and you have the perfect recipe for varicose veins.

What you need to know about varicose veins during pregnancy:

You may not like the way varicose veins look (who would?), and they may itch or ache, but they're unlikely to put either you or your baby at any risk. The good news is that in most cases, if you didn't have them before you got pregnant, your varicose veins shrink or disappear altogether within a few months after you give birth. The not-so-good news? If you have another baby, there's no way of preventing varicose veins that time around (the same veins are likely to pop out again). And like many other pregnancy symptoms, including stretch marks, varicose veins tend to be hereditary. If your mother had them during pregnancy, you're more likely to have them, too.

There is some remote risk that a varicose vein could become inflamed, possibly indicating a blood clot, so be sure to keep your practitioner informed and aware of your varicose veins.

What to do about varicose veins during pregnancy:

Preventing varicose veins isn't a perfect science, but these tips can definitely help:

• Keep the blood circulating. Get off your feet whenever you can, and keep your legs elevated when sitting. When standing, put one foot on a low stool and alternate legs. Flex your ankles every so often, and break the habit of sitting with your legs crossed (this strategy will also help keep spider veins at bay).

• Exercise is key in preventing varicose veins. Take a walk (or even better still, several walks) each day, or do some other form of low-key, circulation-increasing exercises.

• Make sure you wear clothes — including underwear — that fit well and don't bind, especially around the tops of your legs. Don't wear tight belts or socks with tight elastic tops, and stay away from tight-fitting shoes and stiletto heels (as if you could balance in them anyway).

• One kind of tight that's helpful though: support hose, which can counteract the downward pressure of your belly and give the veins in your legs a little extra upward push. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning to prevent the blood from pooling. (Okay, not your sexiest pregnancy moment!)

• Keep your weight gain during pregnancy down to what your practitioner recommends. Extra poundage only increases the demands on your already overworked circulatory system.

• Sleep on your left side to avoid pressure on your main blood vessels, and keep circulation going strong.

• Don't strain. Heavy lifting or straining on the toilet can add to vein visibility.

• Get your daily dose of vitamin C from your balanced diet, which keeps veins healthy.

• If the veins don't go away after the baby has arrived, you can think about having them medically treated or surgically removed then — but not during pregnancy.

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