Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Are you pregnant and discovering that you’ve developed varicose veins? Are you wondering what you can do about them?
Varicose veins are swollen veins that may bulge near the surface of the skin. These blue or purple veins appear squiggly and are most likely to show up on your legs, though it's possible to develop them elsewhere. Varicose veins during pregnancy are relatively common, affecting 10% to 20% of pregnant women. Luckily, they are usually painless and temporary.
Why Varicose Veins Develop During Pregnancy
Pregnancy has a lot of unwanted side effects and varicose veins are unfortunately one of them. Weight gain and increased blood volume to supply your baby and placenta with blood they need are natural changes of pregnancy. Both of these changes do, however, put extra pressure on your blood vessels – especially the veins in your legs. Your progesterone level also rises, relaxing the walls of your blood vessels. All of this combined makes it more likely that you’ll develop dilated, swollen veins.
You're more likely to get varicose veins if other members of your family have had them. They also tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you get older. Being overweight, carrying twins or other multiples, and standing for long periods can also increase your likelihood of developing varicose veins.
When Do Varicose Veins Appear During Pregnancy?
Varicose veins can develop anytime during pregnancy, but tend to correspond with changes in your weight. As your baby - and you - grow, varicose veins tend to develop, and get larger and more pronounced as pregnancy continues.
How Can I Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
While it may not be possible for you to prevent varicose veins during your pregnancy, there are some tricks that may help minimize any varicose veins that make an appearance.
Watch your weight. Keeping your weight gain within normal recommended limits of 35 pounds or less during pregnancy is one of the best tips for preventing varicose veins in pregnancy.
Sleep on your left side. This helps avoid pressure on your main blood vessels and promotes strong circulation.
Elevate your feet and legs as often as possible. Rest your legs on a tall stool or box when sitting, and elevate your feet and legs with pillows when you're lying down.
Don't sit or stand for long periods of time. Take frequent breaks to move around.
Get moving. Exercise is key in preventing varicose veins. Take a walk - or two - each day, or do another form of low-key, circulation-increasing exercises.
Will My Varicose Veins Go Away After Giving Birth?
While varicose veins are unsightly, and may may itch or ache, they're unlikely to put either you or your baby at any risk. In most cases, if you didn't have them before you got pregnant, your varicose veins will shrink or disappear altogether within a few months after giving birth.
When Should I See a Vein Specialist?
To ensure that you don’t develop any varicose vein complications during or after your pregnancy, make an appointment with a vein specialist if you notice changes in vein size or appearance. These medical professionals treat and diagnosis vein disorders, and will be able to spot a complication before it becomes serious.
Even if varicose veins disappear after your first baby is born, don’t be surprised if they return with subsequent pregnancies, and don’t go away in the months after delivery. If your varicose veins remain visible a few months after giving birth, you may consider having them medically treated or surgically removed.
Elmore Medical Vein & Laser Treatment Center is the premier vein specialty medical practice in the Central Valley. Dr. Mario H. Gonzalez and his staff offer years of experience and medical expertise that you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.