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How Pregnancy Affects Your Veins

Posted on April 4, 2023

During pregnancy, you probably expect your body to change in various ways. With so much to think about during this time, the least of your concerns might be the development of unsightly varicose veins. Unfortunately, varicose veins are a common pregnancy complication. Sometimes they even appear for the first time during pregnancy, causing pain and heaviness in the legs.

At Varicosity Vein Center, we prioritize your vein health. Our vein specialists offer tailored consultations to teach you how to lower the risk of serious vein issues. We want you to know all of the potential reasons and treatments for varicose veins during and after pregnancy.

The Effect of Pregnancy on Your Veins

A common expectation during pregnancy is a change in hormones. Progesterone is a crucial hormone for a healthy pregnancy. This hormone helps the uterus grow and keeps it from contracting. It also aids in bone growth, maintenance of a healthy weight, and maternal breast tissue growth.

The baby’s development relies on your increased blood supply. On top of all of its other jobs, Progesterone aids in blood flow, allowing the veins and arteries to stretch and accommodate a higher volume of blood flow toward your heart. The stretched veins might not fully retract, in turn causing the blood to flow in the wrong direction and leading to the creation of varicose veins.

In the later stages of your pregnancy, pressure becomes a factor that works against gravity and your veins’ efforts to carry blood back to your heart. At this point, the baby has also become heavier. This additional weight creates more pressure that could stand in the way of blood flow through your pelvis and legs.

Other pregnancy factors that contribute to varicose veins are additional pregnancies and genetics. With each additional pregnancy, vein elasticity becomes more difficult to maintain. The continuous stretching of the veins prevents the valves from touching and promotes the flow of blood in the wrong direction. Because of this, new varicose veins might form, or current varicose veins might become more prominent. Genetically, you might have been destined to encounter these painful veins due to a parent or grandparent suffering from the same experience.

Not Just Varicose Veins

During pregnancy, varicose veins are not the only vein issue that you might face. Chronic venous insufficiency also creates the bulging look of veins. This problem usually occurs due to weak veins or a blood clot that partially blocks the vein. With chronic venous insufficiency, you might experience swollen lower legs, itchy skin, and venous ulcers.

Blood clots can also create pregnancy-related problems. When you become pregnant, your body begins fighting the potential for excessive blood loss during delivery. Clotting factors increase as delivery gets closer with deep vein thrombosis often occurring in the first trimester and the first six weeks following birth.

Vein Treatment After Pregnancy

For the most part, varicose veins improve or become much less noticeable 6-12 weeks after delivery. Staying active is instrumental in achieving positive results. Stretching and utilizing compression garments could expedite the improvement process. However, if the varicose veins persist, you do have treatment options.

Sclerotherapy is a small shot that helps shrink bulging veins. The procedure is brief, and results are swift. This treatment is usually the first choice for new parents who don’t have a lot of time for surgical recovery. While research shows that sclerotherapy is safe while breastfeeding, it is best to consult with your vein professional.

Surgery is another option for the relief of varicose veins. Radiofrequency or laser ablation and endovenous adhesive ablation are two types of safely performed surgical operations. Radiofrequency ablation targets the larger veins at the surface of the skin. Endovenous adhesive ablation targets source veins. Because only lidocaine is used, side effects are often minimal for both procedures.

Learn All of Your Options

Varicosity Vein Center wants you to know that you are not alone. Up to 25% of women maintain bulging varicose veins for up to 6 months postpartum. While it is understandable to wait until you have completed breastfeeding to seek treatment, please contact our experts if you find that your symptoms are too severe to wait.

Consult With Alabama’s Premier Vein Specialists

When you come to the best, you can expect the best. Begin your journey to optimal results by scheduling your consultation with one of our renowned vein specialists today. We look forward to providing you with the most enjoyable and effective vein treatments in Alabama.

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