Veins and Pregnancy
It is reported that more than 40 percent of pregnant women experience problems with varicose veins of the legs and/or vulva during their pregnancy. Treating patients during pregnancy is not advised due to multiple reasons. During pregnancy, the lower extremity venous system is constantly changing. The body increases blood volume during pregnancy. It also decreases the speed that blood returns from the legs to the pelvis. A higher level of the hormone progesterone also contributes to the veins becoming more dilated. With childbirth, these factors that stress the leg veins are eliminated. As a result, in a percentage of women, leg veins return to normal function. Furthermore, during pregnancy the body has a higher likelihood of forming blood clots, thus pregnant women are at higher risk for developing deep vein blood clots especially during surgical procedures. Lastly, certain medications that may be utilized to treat diseased veins have not been proven safe for the fetus in pregnant women.
For the reasons above, we recommend waiting until after pregnancy to be evaluated for venous disease or varicose vein disease. If varicose veins, leg swelling or painful legs persists for 10-12 weeks after pregnancy, it is best to speak with a vein specialist in order to prevent potential complications like painful skin conditions (ulcers) or clotting of the varicose veins (phlebitis). We recommend scheduling treatments prior to a subsequent pregnancy if possible. Pregnancy will only worsen the condition once it exists. Worsening vein disease may require more extensive vein treatment if it is not addressed prior to the next pregnancy.