Pregnant? Here's What You Should Know About Your Risk for Varicose Veins

Pregnant? Here's What You Should Know About Your Risk for Varicose Veins

Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life, producing many physical changes in your body. In addition to the change in your body shape, you may have noticed you’re developing unsightly varicose veins — large, rope-like bulging veins running up your legs. 

Varicose veins are very common during pregnancy — up to half of pregnant women experience them. Most of the time, they’re harmless, but they may bring on uncomfortable symptoms. In rare cases, they can cause serious health complications. 

Our board-certified radiologists with REDI Diagnostics Corp in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, are experts who diagnose and treat vein dysfunction. Our diagnostic imaging tells us whether your varicose veins are placing you in danger of a health complication, and our interventional radiologists perform minimally invasive procedures to eliminate problem veins when needed. 

Why are varicose veins likely to occur with pregnancy? 

During pregnancy, your body generates about 20 percent more blood — blood that carries life-giving nutrients for both you and your baby. But the number of veins that carry all of that blood doesn’t expand. Your vascular system has to work harder.

This extra volume places more pressure on your blood vessels, especially your leg veins. Those veins have a heavy job; they must carry an increased volume of blood up to your heart. 

In addition, your hormone levels are surging. An increase in your progesterone relaxes ligaments and muscles in your pelvic veins, preparing your body for childbirth. These veins begin to dilate, causing excess pressure on the valves which allow the blood to flow toward your heart. 

Your weight gain is another factor in the mix causing your varicose veins. Your expanded uterus increases pressure on the pelvic veins that carry the blood back to your heart. 

The extra volume of blood you’re carrying, your hormones, and your weight gain are all factors that cause the valves in your veins to malfunction. Some of the blood starts pooling in your veins, usually in your legs: you now have varicose veins. You might also see varicose veins in your pubic area. 

Typical symptoms of varicose veins 

You can see the bluish-purple, rope-like veins in your legs. You may develop any or all of the following uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins as your pregnancy moves along. You should communicate with your gynecologist if you encounter any of these: 

Warning signs of a possible complication

Most of the time, varicose veins are simply an uncomfortable part of pregnancy. The good news is that after you have your baby, your varicose veins should largely disappear as the pressure on your body eases. 

However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, call REDI Diagnostics Corp right away for an appointment: 

Venous insufficiency is a rare complication of varicose veins. Your heart isn’t getting enough blood. Your skin can develop open sores. These leg ulcers are hard to heal. Your veins may become inflamed, which can lead to blood clots. Clots can travel from your legs to your lungs or heart, causing an embolism, a life-threatening condition. 

What can I do to ease symptoms of varicose veins during pregnancy?

Unless there’s an emergency, varicose veins during pregnancy are treated conservatively. Use the following strategies to ease discomfort and lessen your symptoms: 

If you have a problem with varicose veins or you’re starting to show signs, we can help. 

Call REDI Diagnostics Corp today or book an appointment online anytime.

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