If you have varicose veins, you might think you need to hold off on treating them until after you finish having children. This can be a painful mistake, though. Find out why you should consult with a varicose vein specialist now, even if you intend to get pregnant again in the future. Then, you can welcome more children into your family without suffering from painful varicose vein symptoms.
You might think that pregnancy causes varicose veins since the condition is so common. In fact, researchers estimate that around 40% of pregnant women are affected by varicose veins. Multiple factors play a role in the development of varicose veins during pregnancy. Their are physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy that can lead to varicose veins.
First, your blood volume increases by around 40% during pregnancy to ensure the fetus receives enough nutrients. As the pregnancy progresses, the enlarging uterus adds pressure to the intra-abdominal and intra-pelvic vein, causing increased pressure in the leg veins. Along with the added blood volume, there is damage and weakening of the leg veins resulting in varicose veins. At the same time, hormone fluctuations can cause your veins to dilate, also impacting the blood flow.
Unfortunately, varicose veins are a progressive issue. Thus, if your veins are already weak and damaged, your symptoms will get much worse when you become pregnant again. That will make it harder to get through each subsequent pregnancy.
However, you can seek treatment before getting pregnant again. Your varicose vein specialist would intially start with an ultrasound of your legs, to determine the cause and source of your varicose veins. A common source of varicose veins is venous reflux of the great saphenous vein. Once the source of the problem is determined, these abnormal veins can be easily and safely closed to help resolve symptoms of varicose veins. Then, your body will send the blood through healthy veins. Once these abnormal veins are closed, they are unlikely to be a cause of recurrent complaints during subsequent pregnancies.
Due to the increased blood volume, pregnancy hormones, and added pressure to your veins, you can form new varicose veins during pregnancy. However, your varicose veins specialist will go over ways you can reduce the risk after treatment.
For example, your specialist will likely recommend that you exercise daily and stay within the recommended weight range during each trimester. Also, you’ll need to elevate your legs and feet to promote blood flow. Additionally, your doctor will recommend avoiding prolonged standing or sitting since that makes it hard for the blood to flow.
Finally, your provider might recommend that you wear compression stockings when pregnant. The stockings will help the blood flow, so it’ll be less likely to pool in your legs.
Dr. Vinay Madan of the Center for Varicose Veins has more than 20 years of experience treating varicose veins. He offers minimally invasive closure procedures, including radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and endovenous laser ablation (ELA). Contact the Center for Varicose Veins to schedule a consultation with Dr. Madan. Then, you can avoid the painful symptoms you experienced during your last pregnancy.