What You Should Know about Pregnancy & Varicose Veins

Varicose veins (large ropey veins that stick out in your legs) can commonly occur during pregnancy. In some cases, the enlarged veins can feel sore, itchy, or a sense of heaviness that worsen at the end of the day. As a pregnant woman, here’s what you should know to help mitigate and prevent varicose veins.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Veins bring blood from the legs back to the torso, and eventually to the heart. When we stand up, the blood has to travel 4 to 5 feet up to the chest, while gravity is trying to pull the blood back down towards our feet. Our veins have valves inside that help push blood upwards and prevent blood from flowing backwards.

However, these valves often become weak over time. As blood pools in the veins of our legs, they become engorged and larger than normal, causing varicose veins. Varicose veins often develop during pregnancy for women.

Why Do Varicose Veins Affect Pregnant Women? 

There are many reasons why varicose veins occur during pregnancy. A woman’s body increases the volume of blood to supply the fetus, and the blood pressure can increase. As the uterus grows, it pushes on the veins in our pelvis, forcing more blood to pressurize in the leg veins. Hormones can also cause the veins to enlarge. The combination of these factors can cause the valves in the veins to malfunction, allowing blood to flow backward down the leg, leading to swelling and development of large surface veins, which we see as varicose veins.

When Will You Experience Varicose Veins? 

It is most common for varicose veins to appear during the second trimester and to worsen through pregnancy because of the increased pressure on pelvic veins caused by the growing uterus, causing blood flow to be restricted to veins in the legs. In some patients, the varicose veins can improve after childbirth, but in some women the varicose veins are permanent, and can worsen with subsequent pregnancies.

Where Will You Get Varicose Veins?

The most common location for varicose veins is in the inner thigh and calf muscles. The location of varicose veins also coincides with the worsening effects of lifting and standing during pregnancy. Those extended periods of activity exacerbate the pressure on these areas.

Does Genetics Have Anything to Do with Developing Varicose Veins? 

Yes! Varicose veins are more likely to develop during pregnancy if your mother has them. Before becoming pregnant, consult your doctor if you know that someone in your family has experienced varicose veins.

Next Step: Consult with Vanishing Veins Northwest 

At Vanishing Veins Northwest, we offer recommendations to help you manage the effects of varicose veins during and after pregnancy. We know how much work it is to take care of your newborn and young children, and love supporting our many young moms to make sure their legs are healthy!

Learn about what you can expect and how we can help you cope with varicose veins’ results while pregnant. Reach out to our team today.

Call us at 425-277-8346 (VEIN) to Schedule Your Appointment Today!