The joy of pregnancy probably doesn’t include varicose veins for most women.
VARICOSE VEINS AND PREGNANCY: Varicose veins occur during pregnancy for many reasons but heredity is a major contributing factor. Other factors are rising hormone levels during pregnancy, which cause the walls of the veins to relax; increasing blood volume, which can make the veins bulge; and growth of the uterus puts pressure on a large vein (inferior vena cava) on the right side of the body, which increases pressure in the leg veins. Being overweight, carrying multiples and standing for long periods increase the risk as well. Varicose veins do tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and with mom’s age.
Varicose veins occur when the valves that keep blood flowing from the legs back to the heart don’t function properly. This can cause blood to pool in the legs, bulging veins and pain, aching, swelling, itching, leg heaviness, restless and fatigue.
Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of varicose veins while pregnant:
- Keep your weight within the range recommended by your doctor
- Exercise daily as allowed by your doctor
- Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible
- Don’t sit or stand for long periods without taking a break
- Don’t wear clothing that is binding or tight
- Sleep on your left side to relieve the weight of the uterus on the vena cava
- Wear medical grade compression stockings that are fitted by a trained professional
Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy may improve within three to six months after the baby arrives. In some cases they do not improve and remain after delivery. That is when it is time to consult with a vein specialist to determine the appropriate treatment.
If you’d like to meet with a Vein Specialist about Varicose Veins that appeared during your pregnancy? Call now to get your legs evaluated by The VEIN Specialists at 309-862-4000 or use our online form to Request an Appointment.