Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Why do women get varicose veins during pregnancy?
Varicose veins are a very common occurrence during pregnancy. A woman’s body produces much more blood during pregnancy in order to support both the mother and the growing baby. Also, the mother has increased levels of progesterone that relaxes the blood vessel walls. In addition, the enlarged uterus may mechanically obstruct the venous flow coming from the legs causing congestion and partial obstruction of the flow. The veins in the legs have delicate bicuspid valves which allow the flow against the gravity, towards the heart. These changes in the pregnant woman can lead to mechanical destruction of the valves causing progressive symptoms and signs of varicose veins.
Can you prevent varicose veins during pregnancy?
While there aren’t any guaranteed methods of preventing varicose veins during pregnancy, here are a few tips you may want to consider. Please consult with your physician before following any of these suggestions.
- Keep the blood circulating by elevating your legs when sitting and by engaging in light exercise such as walking.
- Try sleeping on your left side to avoid added pressure on your inferior vena cava.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing and avoid tight shoes or heels. Specially designed support hose can be helpful.
- Maintain healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy.
- Avoid heavy lifting or straining which can cause pressure on the veins.
What if your varicose veins don’t go away after you give birth?
If there is no permanent damage to the valves, varicose veins go away within 6 months after giving birth. If they are long lasting, you may want to consult a vein specialist. Dr. Kaveh is trained to perform the latest techniques available for the treatment of varicose veins and can help you explore your options.