There are a lot of things you prepare yourself for when you’re pregnant, but varicose veins aren’t usually one of them!
It’s actually quite common for pregnant women to develop varicose veins, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worrying when it happens to you. So why do they appear and how can they be treated?
What causes varicose veins in pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, your body needs to produce a lot more blood to support your baby’s growth. Unfortunately, this additional blood can put a lot of pressure onto the blood vessels; particularly in the legs. It’s harder for the body to pump the extra blood up from the legs to the heart, hence varicose veins tend to largely occur in the legs during pregnancy.
It’s not just the legs that cause problems however. Your uterus also pressurises the blood vessels in the pelvis. Then there’s the increased progesterone levels which cause the vessels to relax. All of these changes within the body are what lead to varicose veins, usually around week 29.
How can they be treated?
We get a lot of enquiries at the Cornwall Vein Clinic from pregnant women desperate to get rid of varicose veins. However, unless you had varicose veins before you got pregnant, it’s recommended you leave them be.
Varicose veins brought on by pregnancy usually disappear a few months after you’ve given birth. So, they may look unsightly and feel uncomfortable, but the good news is they are often only temporary.
There are ways to minimise the chances of developing them, such as watching your weight, keeping your body active to ensure adequate blood flow and keeping the legs elevated whenever possible.
Overall, varicose veins in pregnancy are usually not something you need to be concerned about. They will usually disappear on their own. However, if you had varicose veins before getting pregnant, it is recommended you seek treatment after baby is born.