Pregnancy and Varicose Veins: Everything You Need to Know

Among the many effects pregnancy has on a woman's body, increased blood volume and decreased blood flow in the legs and pelvis can cause excess pressure on veins in the area. This often leads to varicose veins, an uncomfortable condition in which veins become enlarged and visible through the skin. Here's what you need to know about varicose veins, including which vein treatments may help.

What Causes Them?

As the uterus begins to expand during pregnancy, it puts a lot of pressure on the inferior vena cava, a major vein found behind the abdominal cavity. The decreased blood flow this causes, added to the increased blood volume already in a pregnant woman's system, can lead to varicose veins in the legs and pelvis. There are also other causes: heredity can determine how likely one is to develop varicose veins during pregnancy, and hormonal changes can affect vein strength.

 

Will They Last Forever?

The good news is, once pregnancy is complete and the uterus has had time to return to a normal size, varicose veins may significantly improve or even disappear without the need for professional vein treatment. This typically happens between a few months and a year after pregnancy. There are also natural ways to decrease the severity of pregnancy-related varicose veins, including getting regular exercise, avoiding sitting in one position for too long, wearing flat shoes instead of heels, and elevating the legs from time to time.

 

What Other Options Are Available?

Pregnant women may also choose to wear compression/support knee highs with 20-30 compression. These need to be applied first thing in the morning and should help with swelling and discomfort. They are to be removed at bedtime.

Once a woman has decided that she is finished having children, and after a sufficient amount of time has elapsed since her last pregnancy, there are professional vein treatments available that can greatly improve remaining varicose veins, including vascular surgery. Using the newest technology and procedures like radiofrequency ablation, treatments and surgeries are usually minimally invasive and require little to no downtime.

The experts at Vein Specialists of Georgia have been serving patients in the Atlanta area and its surrounding suburbs for over 30 years. To learn more about how we can help with pregnancy-related varicose veins, contact us by calling 404-524-0095.

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