Why Varicose Veins occur during pregnancy?
Patients that are currently pregnant or even planning to get pregnant or in the process can have a tough time with varicose veins. It can be quite challenging when you develop veins in your lower limbs. You go from one day having nice smooth legs to another day where all these changes of pregnancy are happening and it can be quite overwhelming.
What’s worse is as the pregnancy actually progresses, these symptoms can actually get worse. This can include symptoms like pain, aching, even swelling or heaviness in the legs. This is because the uterus or the womb gets bigger, putting a lot of pressure on vessels in your tummy. This prevents blood from actually returning back into your heart and therefore you get a lot of blood actually stagnating in your legs.
This then causes these veins that were usually quite small to start bulging and popping up in your legs. A lot of patients can deal with the signs such as the varicose veins, but they can’t deal with the symptoms, which can be quite annoying. Now during pregnancy as well, you get a lot of hormonal changes and this is due to progesterone predominantly. It can be also due to estrogen causing a lot of these valve changes in your veins and also distension.
Treatment Options of Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
What I generally tell patients, especially if you’re pregnant, is unfortunately you can’t have treatment now. You have to sort of wait till you have the delivery and oftentimes wait until you’re done with breastfeeding. More importantly if you are pregnant and you are developing symptoms, the options are, you can wear medical grade compression stockings that basically avoid that distension of your veins and keep your legs nice and tight.
This is something we can help you with at our clinic, especially if you’re going through that period where you’re in that grey area where you are pregnant and you can’t get treated at this time.
The other thing you can do is actually elevate your legs above your heart as much as possible. I know with you being pregnant, the chances are the last thing you want to do is lifting your legs and putting it against a wall. If you can lift it and put it on an area sort of a little bit higher that it’s comfortable enough for you, this allows draining of blood back into your heart.
Myth of Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
Now there is a myth or a little saying that goes around that a lot of patients come to me and say, I’ve been told that I should get my veins treated once I’ve completed the number of children that I want to have.
This is not true at all and the reason for this is because if you wait till you complete your pregnancy, oftentimes you’re going to struggle with quite a bit with symptoms during the pregnancy with your varicose veins. You are going to have quite a lot to treat if you wait long enough and I often tell patients that if you have a lot to treat, this going to be a lot more costly for you, as there will be quite a lot of treatment needed. Cosmetically it may not look so good, if you do wait.
When to treat varicose veins during pregnancy?
I tend to tell patients, to get their varicose veins treated in between pregnancies. The other thing is you can’t get treated during pregnancy, during delivery times, and oftentimes within the first three to six months.
So you do have to actually wait because that is a time where you may consider breastfeeding or you may not. It also gives you the opportunity for your body to go back to normal and the possibility the veins will actually regress, usually during the first three to six months.
We actually give your body that chance to get back to what was normal or what could be a reduction in these veins. Now, I hope I sort of made this clear in terms of the conservative options if you were pregnant, as well as some of the reasons why you get this varicose veins and when you optimally really want to get them treated.