Vaginal varicose veins. Umm, nice.
One of the few pregnancy ailments that are barely mentioned (understandably), but now that I’m suffering I’m finding that most others are in the same boat (particularly second-or-more timers). Basically the weight of the baby and the increased blood flow to that area means that the veins are filling up with blood and it’s not flowing easily through them.
On the plus side, they should subside post birth (I’ve had reports that this happened).
On the negative side, they can burst during birth (also reported by a close friend) leading to potentially serious blood loss for the mother. The person this happened to had quite severe veins and had to sit on icepacks when pregnant just to ease the discomfort and heaviness.
Mine are apparently ‘mild’ (though things do feel swollen in that department) and the birth centre, which doesn’t have a labour ward attached to it, where I want to give birth in 2.5 weeks have said I don’t need to worry. The midwife there said if they burst they’ll tie a knot in them (I think she was joking). The pregnancy yoga teacher said to focus on pelvic floor exercises on short, sharp bursts, rather than long holds, to try to encourage the blood flow.
I think it’s interesting that, at least in the UK, you can go through a pregnancy without anyone actually having a look around that area. So if you don’t feel confident enough to mention that things are uncomfortable, I imagine that lots of people experience these varicosities without any explanation of what they are, just putting them down as one of the many ailments of pregnancy that we just grin and bear.
More on that list later…