You are expecting a brand new bundle of joy, but what you didn’t expect is another very common side effect, varicose veins during pregnancy. Many women discover that varicose veins form during their pregnancy when they never had them before. While this may seem like an unwelcome development to many women, in most cases, they are not a health risk.
Why do varicose veins form during pregnancy?
While pregnancy isn’t the only cause of varicose veins, it is a prevalent one. A pregnant woman’s body goes through many physical changes that are visible and some not. Here are a few reasons varicose veins might form.
Blood Volume: As your baby develops inside your body, you will experience increased blood volume. The volume of blood inside your body may increase by up to 20%! More blood coursing through the same number of veins means more work and stress on your vascular system.
Hormone Changes: Hormonal changes, like extra progesterone, can make your veins softer and more relaxed. This means that blood traveling upward has a harder time, and as more blood starts to get backed up, it can amplify the problem.
Pressure and Blocked Veins: The pelvic veins coming from your legs can become blocked or put under pressure as the uterus grows. Pressure can cause the veins to enlarge under stress as they work against gravity.
Are they dangerous?
Generally, no, varicose veins are not dangerous and will begin to improve or disappear after giving birth. It is worth noting, however, that if you get pregnant again they are likely to come back. Like stretch marks, varicose veins can be hereditary and multiple pregnancies may increase their occurrence. Some women report burning or aches in their legs and the veins can be red and swollen. Even though in most cases, varicose veins during pregnancy don’t pose a health risk, you should still bring them up to your doctor.
Uncommon symptoms include skin breakdown, severe pain, and blood clots.
Prevention and Natural Relief
It may not be possible to ensure varicose veins do not develop during your pregnancy. You may, however, be able to ward them off or keep them at bay. Try these tips for a more comfortable pregnancy.
- Wear compression socks. A doctor can give you a prescription for stronger options than OTC.
- Don’t sit for long periods of time, get up and walk around periodically
- Put your legs up higher than your hips when resting if possible
- Ditch the heels for now if they are your shoe of choice
Professional Varicose Vein Treatment
If veins persist after pregnancy, cause pain, or in rare cases, have dangerous complications, it may be time for an advanced form of treatment. The good news is, some procedures may be covered by health insurance. You will need to schedule a consultation to identify the problem and determine the correct route of treatment. Some treatments offered at The Vein Centre include radiofrequency, VenaSeal, Varithena, laser, and sclerotherapy.
If you are experiencing varicose veins during your pregnancy, you may wish to consult a professional. The surgeons at The Vein Centre are board-certified, and each patient’s care is tailored to their needs, health, and goals. Contact us to schedule an appointment.