Why do I experience varicose veins during pregnancy?
- The amount of blood circulating in your body increases
- Weight gain in your womb increases the pressure placed on your pelvic veins
- The inferior vena calva (a large vein that runs down the right side of your body) is put under increased pressure
- The progesterone hormone causes your blood vessel walls to relax
- Each additional pregnancy results in the increased chance of experiencing varicose veins
What will I experience?
The following symptoms may occur during, or between pregnancies. Even if you do not display symptoms, still consult your doctor to maintain optimal vein health.
- Heavy, achy, and uncomfortable legs
- The swelling of feet, ankles, and calves
- Restless legs or muscle cramps at night
- A desire to itch the veins
- Pain experienced over the skin of the vein
- In extreme cases, deep and superficial vein thrombosis (blood clots) may occur and may lead to serious health complications
The continuous increased physical pressure placed on your body due to the growth of your little one means there is not a lot you can do to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy. However, you may wish to try these suggestions.
- Sleep on your left side
- Completing gentle exercises or going for a quick walk if sitting or standing for prolonged periods
- Eat a balanced diet and partake in regular exercise
- Consult a vein health specialist to receive a prescription for Graduated Compression Stockings
- Monitor your lower veins for changes or discomfort
What treatment is available?
Between pregnancies, non-surgical treatment is available which will help elevate painful symptoms and physical appearance. For more information on varicose veins and modern-day treatments please see the factsheet below:
During pregnancy, it is unadvised to undertake any surgery for the treatment of varicose veins. However, the great news is that between pregnancies, laser surgery will prevent discomfort, health complications, and the unwanted appearance of varicose veins. Unlike traditional varicose vein surgeries, laser surgery is quick, the recovery time is minimal, it is non-surgical and most importantly, it is effective.
At Vein Health Medical Clinic, phlebologist Dr. Peter Paraskevas offers all the modern-day walk-in, walk-out-based treatments including Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy, Endovenous Laser Ablation, and Ambulatory Phlebectomy.
Injecting a sclerosant detergent solution through a tiny needle into the diseased vein, causing the vein wall to collapse. The veins dissolve and disappear as the body gradually absorbs them. For non-visible veins, ultrasound guidance is used to help guide the needle into the vein. This is referred to as Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)
The latest method for treating larger saphenous veins, previously treated by ‘stripping’ surgery under general anaesthetic. This has been used with great success for over a decade. It involves placing a laser fiber with ultrasound guidance into the abnormal vein. The vein is then numbed with local anaesthetic and the laser is activated and slowly withdrawn, heating and sealing the vein along its entire length. This vein will then gradually be reabsorbed by the body’s natural mechanisms.
Eliminates varicose veins through a series of small punctures (as tiny as 2 mm) made in the skin adjacent to the vein under local anesthetic. The varicose vein is then removed in small segments.