Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
Varicose veins, those bulging twisting lines that often appear on the lower leg, can be an unfortunate byproduct of pregnancy. There are changes that occur to the body during pregnancy that make these swollen veins more likely to develop. The good news is that most women find varicose veins that appear during pregnancy often resolve on their own after the baby is born. For those that don’t, there are a myriad of minimally-invasive options for treating varicose veins today.
Varicose veins occur when tiny valves inside the veins that keep blood moving in a single directly become damaged or wear out. This creates pooling of blood in the veins and eventual swelling of the vessels. The problem is more common in lower leg veins because these veins have to work much harder to push blood back up the legs and to the heart. The harder work means the valves in these veins are more likely to wear out over time.
As the body changes to adjust to the pregnancy and the growing baby, conditions can become ripe for varicose veins to develop. First, blood flow increases in the woman’s body throughout those nine months, to ensure sufficient nutrition and oxygen to the baby growing inside. More blood flow means the veins have to work that much harder and increases the likelihood that valves inside with malfunction.
The hormone progestin, which is necessary during pregnancy, is also responsible for opening those veins wider, which also increases pressure in the veins. The expanding uterus adds additional weight to make it harder for the lower leg veins to get blood back up to the heart. That combination of events explains why so many pregnant women will experience varicose veins during their pregnancies.
Preventing and Treating Varicose Veins
Although varicose veins are a common occurrence during pregnancy, there are some things you can do to lower your risk for varicose veins throughout those nine months:
Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible
Continue to exercise, since contracting calf muscles add support to lower leg veins
Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing during pregnancy
Use support hose or compression stockings to maintain healthy blood flow
Monitor your weight gain during your pregnancy
If varicose veins do develop, they are likely to disappear within a few months after your pregnancy. If they persist, we offer minimally-invasive varicose vein treatments like sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and laser treatments that eliminate varicose veins with little discomfort or downtime. To learn more about your options in varicose vein treatment, contact our staff at Center for Vein Restoration.