Pregnancy is usually a wondrous and joyful time for most women. It is one of the best experiences in a woman’s life; however, some things can occur that are less than joyful—one being varicose veins during pregnancy. Here are five things that you should know about varicose veins and pregnancy.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are bulging, enlarged veins that usually appear in the thigh and other leg areas. They are generally caused by a disruption in the blood vessels that causes the blood to back up or pool.
Pregnancy Does Not Cause Varicose Veins
While pregnancy does not actually cause varicose veins, it can exacerbate the appearance. This is due to the fact that during pregnancy the volume of blood can increase which increases the stress on veins.
Increased Hormone Levels Can Exacerbate Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
The increase in hormones, especially progesterone, can cause the blood vessel walls to relax, causing the blood to pool and the appearance of varicose veins. Additionally, while most varicose veins appear in the legs, they can appear in the vulvar area during pregnancy. Vulvar varicose veins are usually caused by fluid retention and weight gain.
How They Can Be Prevented
There are several things you can do during your pregnancy that can help eliminate the risk of developing varicose veins during pregnancy:
• Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine
• Avoid standing and/or sitting for long periods of time
• Elevate your legs when possible
• Avoid crossing your legs or ankles
Traditional treatments for varicose veins are not recommended if you are pregnant. Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy will usually go away after the baby’s delivery, as the pressure on the veins will be eliminated. If after delivery the varicose veins do remain, you should contact a physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Dr. Thomas Wright of the St. Louis Laser Vein Center says, “While most varicose veins will disappear after delivery, some women may not see them go away. We have several treatments and procedures that can help reduce the appearance and other symptoms of these veins.”
If you are concerned about varicose veins, or other vein conditions, whether you are pregnant or not, please contact us to schedule a consultation to help you get healthy veins.