Varicose veins and pregnancy

varicose veins pregnancy

There is a definite relationship between varicose veins and pregnancy.

There are many changes that a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy, including hormonal alteration (progestin enlarges the veins) and an increase in blood volume. The enlarged uterus produces pressure in the abdomen, reducing the rate at which blood flows back from the legs.

All these factors can lead to varicose veins in the legs, vulval region and even buttocks.

Fortunately, they usually reduce in size within three months after giving birth.

Besides the visual impact, varicose veins can be very uncomfortable, producing many symptoms including amongst others, itchiness discomfort, heaviness, restless legs, tiredness and a burning sensation.

Now for the good news!

There are things you can do to minimise the development of the veins and to reduce the symptoms:

  • Reduce your salt intake to minimise ankle swelling.
  • Elevate your legs when possible, allowing gravity to assist blood flow back to the heart.
  • When sleeping, sleep on your left side. This reduces the pressure on the veins in and abdomen,
  • taking blood from the legs back towards the heart.
  • Regular exercise. It is best to discuss with your obstetrician to confirm what type of exercise is safe for you during your pregnancy. Walking is usually an excellent exercise to maintain fitness.
  • Drink enough water and eat enough fibre to avoid constipation.
  • Avoid sitting cross-legged for long periods of time.
  • Avoid wearing high heels. Occasionally would be okay. Flattish shoes are better as it allows your calf muscles to work, encouraging your circulation.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  • Compression stockings may be of use to help the flow of blood back towards the heart.
  • Avoid tightfitting clothing constricts the legs groin or waist.

Contact to Doctor if any of the following occur:

  • The veins become hard, red and tender to touch. This may be a sign that a small clot has developed in these veins. This occurs due to the reduced flow of the blood out of the legs, the blood generally increasing its clotting capacity, together with often increased sitting, weight gain and reduced activity.
  • If they begin to bleed.
  • If you develop a rash on your lower leg or around the ankle.

What can be done to treat pregnancy related varicose veins?

Treatment of varicose veins is not recommended during pregnancy, and usually not performed until approximately 3 months after delivery.

Depending on circumstances, treatment of your veins can be performed before pregnancy, between pregnancies or once your family is complete.

Depending on the extent and size of the varicose veins, several non- treatment options are available, including ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation or ambulatory micro phlebectomy.

Make an appointment today to have your varicose veins assessed by Dr Berman, please phone 9561 5155

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