Varicose veins and pregnancy

Varicose veins are blue or purple colored swollen veins that appear near the skin surface. It is most commonly seen in the legs and in some cases may also appear near the anus, forming hemorrhoids. Varicose veins may appear for the first time during pregnancy in many women, while those who already have may feel that it is aggravated.

Causes

Pressure on the large vein on the right side of the body due to the growth of uterus leads to varicose veins. Moreover, amount of blood in the vessels increases during pregnancy adding to pressure in veins. Hormonal changes also lead to varicose veins by dilating veins.

The risk of developing varicose veins increases with a family history of this condition. Standing for a long duration, multiple pregnancies and being overweight also increases the risk of varicose veins.

Treatment and Prevention of varicose veins

Treatment for varicose veins, if needed, is generally done only after delivery. The symptoms of varicose veins can be reduced by simple preventing measures.

Daily exercise helps to minimize the effect of this condition. Try to stay within the target body weight. Rest with your legs elevated and avoid crossing legs while sitting. Try to take a break and sit for some time, if your work demands to stand for a long duration. Opt for flat shoes or low-heel shoes to improve circulation. Graduated compression stockings are used to improve the blood flow through the veins, easing the condition. Lying on left side, while sleeping, helps to reduce the stress on the big vein.

When to call your doctor?

Varicose veins are generally harmless and may resolve on its own after delivery. In some very rare cases, varicose veins may be serious.

Inform your doctor immediately if

  • Small blood clots are seen near the skin surface
  • Veins are severely swollen
  • Legs have sores
  • The skin shows color changes

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