When your body expands to accommodate the baby, the ﬁbers of the skin can tear, leaving thin, red lines that eventually turn white or silver. There are a few ways to pre- vent stretch marks, but once you have them, they won’t go away (although with time, they do fade signiﬁcantly.)
Eat wheat germ and use cold-pressed oils in your salad dressings and cooking. The vitamin E in these products promotes skin elasticity.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) also keep the skin healthy and pliant. Fish, ﬂaxseeds, and ﬂaxseed oil are all high in EFAs, as are the cold-pressed oils mentioned earlier.
Super Prescription—Stretch Marks
Super Prescription #1 Vitamin E oil
Apply the oil to the stretch marks each morning and evening.
These enlarged veins on the surface of the leg are caused by the weight of the baby and by hormonal changes. Straining to have bowel movements also places pressure on the veins. If you’re having trouble passing stools, consult the recommendations for constipation during pregnancy. See the Varicose Veins section (pages 518–523).
Vitamin E will prevent blood clots, a possible side effect of varicose veins. Wheat germ and cold-pressed oils are good sources of this nutrient.
Red– or blue-colored berries are an ideal dessert or snack for you. They fortify vein walls and improve their elasticity.
Buckwheat strengthens capillaries.
Super Seven Prescriptions—Varicose Veins
Super Prescription #1 Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
Take a standardized extract containing 25 percent anthocyanosides at 160 mg twice daily. Bilberry improves circulation and strengthens capillary walls.
Super Prescription #2 Flaxseed oil
Take 1 to 2 tablespoons daily. Flaxseed oil improves regularity and reduces strain- ing. It also contains essential fatty acids that promote tissue healing. Note: Reduce the dosage if diarrhea occurs.
Super Prescription #3 Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Apply it as a gel or a cream to external varicose veins.
Super Prescription #4 Bioﬂavonoid complex
Take 1,000 mg two to three times daily. Bioflavonoids reduce swelling and inﬂammation.
Super Prescription #5 Homeopathic Hamamelis
Take a low potency (6x, 12x, 30x, 6C, or 30C) twice daily for varicose veins that are large, sore, and easily irritated and that sting.
Super Prescription #6 Homeopathic Arnica (Arnica montana)
Take a low potency (6x, 12x, 30x, 6C, or 30C) twice daily for varicose veins that are large, sore, and easily irritated and that sting. It’s also helpful for varicose veins that are swollen and look bruised.
Super Prescription #7 Homeopathic Pulsatilla Nigrans
Take a low potency (6x, 12x, 30x, 6C, or 30C) twice daily for varicose veins in the legs that are hot and painful at nighttime. The legs feel better out of the covers and with the windows open.
Although a regular massage is usually an excellent tonic for pregnant women, do not rub varicose veins directly. Instead, ask your therapist to work around the affected area.
See pages 686–687 for information about reﬂexology areas and how to work them.
Work the colon, the liver, and the kidneys to keep your points of elimination open and to reduce the pressure on your legs.
To minimize inﬂammation, make a wet compress using witch hazel, and apply it to the affected area.
Other Bodywork Recommendations
Make time every day to lie down with your feet higher than your head. Even if you don’t suffer from varicose veins, this will improve other pregnancy-related discom- forts and will reduce the chances that varicose veins will develop later.
• Bicycling is usually recommended to improve circulation, but if you’re preg- nant, you may ﬁnd it uncomfortable to ride a bike. Instead, try swimming or aqua-aerobics, which are good nonimpact exercises.
• Maternity support hose are available in many department and specialty stores. It’s best to put them on ﬁrst thing in the morning or after a period of rest, when your legs aren’t already swollen. Make sure to get a good ﬁt—anything that’s too tight will make varicose veins worse.