Varicose veins and smaller spider veins are a common part of pregnancy for some women. During pregnancy, many women develop varicose veins or discover that existing ones have become worse. They may or may not cause symptoms, such as making legs feel painful, achy, heavy, throbbing or itchy, especially after standing for prolonged periods of time.
Spider veins and varicose veins tend to have a hereditary aspect and are more common when other family members have developed them. Women who are older, overweight, or carrying twins or multiples may be at greater risk to develop varicose or spider veins. Some women also find that varicose veins may worsen with successive pregnancies.
During pregnancy a woman’s blood volume increases, and there are also greater levels of hormones that dilate the veins. This added blood volume along with dilated veins places added pressure on the entire vascular system and especially on the veins in the legs. The uterus may also apply additional pressure to the large vein that returns blood from the feet and legs back to the heart.
Generally, varicose veins and spider veins are not dangerous during pregnancy, but a doctor should be consulted if the veins bleed, swell, or redness, warmth, or tenderness occurs. If a rash develops on the leg or ankle, or if the skin on the leg changes color or thickens, these should also be brought to the attention of the doctor.
Although varicose veins and spider veins may not be preventable during pregnancy, these steps that can be taken to help keep them from becoming worse, and to lessen their symptoms:
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing by taking frequent breaks to walk or move around and change positions. Take a moment to walk in place or perform calf raises, which can also be beneficial.
- Elevate the legs whenever possible, using pillows to elevate legs when lying down and by resting legs on a stool or other available surface when sitting.
- Perform some low impact exercise daily, such as walking or swimming.
- For each stage of pregnancy, try to stay within the recommended weight range.
- Help circulation by keeping legs and ankles uncrossed when sitting, and by avoiding high heels and tight clothing.
- Reduce sodium intake and drink plenty of water to minimize swelling.
- Consider support hose or stockings to gently compress leg muscles and squeeze veins, helping to push the blood back toward the heart. Support hose apply the most compression at the ankle and progressively less as they rise up the leg.
Fortunately, varicose veins often get better after delivery. Typically, they take around twelve weeks to fade or disappear. However, after this period of time, veins will likely have improved as much as they will.
If your varicose veins persist, you may want to consider seeing a varicose vein specialist. A specialist vein doctor can offer various treatment options including sclerotherapy for varicose veins or endovenous laser ablation.
With these modern therapies, there’s minimal discomfort, and most people can resume their daily activities immediately after treatment. Additionally, most major health insurance carriers provide coverage for the treatment of vein disease and venous insufficiency when medically necessary.
If you would like more information regarding symptoms of varicose veins or spider veins after your pregnancy, please contact the Goldman Vein Institute today at one of our two convenient locations:
Jupiter 561-625-9853 or Wellington 561-790-4550 or visit us at www.goldmanveininstitute.com.
At the Goldman Vein Institute, our mission is to provide our patients with comprehensive care for varicose veins, spider veins, and other conditions caused by venous insufficiency. Our highly-qualified and experienced, board-certified vein specialists, Dr. Goldman and Dr. Varghese-Goldman, combine their extensive knowledge and experience, with the latest innovations in vein treatments.
With our offices in Jupiter and Wellington Florida, the Goldman Vein Institute serves patients from Stuart, Hobe Sound, Tequesta, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Hialeah, Sunny Isles, Bay Harbor, Bal Harbour, Miami Beach, Aventura, Surfside, Hallandale, and Hollywood, and we welcome patients across South Florida to visit our state-of-the-art vein centers, where we provide the latest in vein treatment technology.