Congratulations, you are pregnant! Your bundle or bundles of joy are on the way to change your life forever! The body changes quickly during pregnancy, and some of these changes are not so wonderful! Varicose veins are a common occurrence in pregnancy. There are a number of reasons for this: blood volume increases, hormones shift, and baby grows.
- A woman’s blood volume almost doubles during pregnancy. This increased blood volume is to help provide nutrients to you and baby, but it also increases the pressure inside the veins in your legs. The increased pressure causes strain on the walls of the veins making them more likely to appear on the surface of the skin.
- Hormones are thrown into overdrive during pregnancy. One effect of this hormone shift is the increased dilation of the vein walls and weakening of the valves which exist inside the veins. It is like stretching out a rubber band. Dilating a vein causes it to be weaker and it is less able to get the blood up back up to the heart.
- Lastly, the bundle of joy, as any woman in her third trimester can tell you, is growing. A baby gets bigger and bigger, there is less room in your abdomen, causing some things to get squished. It isn’t just your bladder that gets pushed on as your body makes room for baby, he/she or they put pressure on the large veins in your abdomen causing increased pressure in the veins in your legs.
These factors, combined with any genetic precursors such as family history of venous insufficiency or blood disorder, make the odds of developing varicose veins even greater. This also increases your risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis, or even worse a pulmonary embolism.
Varicose Veins Home Remedies
Unfortunately, there is not a proven method of preventing varicose veins during pregnancy. Symptoms such as swelling, fatigue, heaviness, night cramps, restlessness, itching, and painful varicose veins are the most common symptoms associated with venous insufficiency in pregnancy. With your Obstetrician’s blessing; routine exercise, use of compression stockings, and elevation of your legs during periods of inactivity will help to minimize symptoms, as well as, visible varicosities. Homeopathic medications that have been shown to minimize symptoms of venous congestion include Horse Chestnut and Arnica Montana (again, please get the approval of your Obstetrician prior to taking any medication, supplemental or otherwise).
Vein Specialists in Arizona
Finally, there is hope! Some women find that the symptoms associated with varicose veins during pregnancy improve about 10-12 weeks post-partum. If they do not improve, there are treatment options which are safe in the post-partum phase and even while breast feeding. If you have any concerns during pregnancy, a consultation can be performed with no risk to you or baby. Everyone’s experience during pregnancy is different, and there are patients who require evaluation while pregnant, to ensure one of the most exciting times in their life is not hindered by a complication associated with venous disease.