Varicose veins can sometimes develop during pregnancy.  Don’t worry, they usually improve within a few months after you have given birth.  As the uterus grows it puts pressure on the large vein that carries blood back to your heart from your feet and legs.  When a woman is pregnant, the amount of blood in her body increases therefore adding burden to the veins.  When the veins have problems sending blood from your feet and legs back to the heart, varicose veins appear.  Varicose veins are also hereditary.  They may itch or hurt, but generally do not cause discomfort.    

Ways to minimize varicose veins during pregnancy:

  • Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible.
  • Wear special support hose such as compression stockings.  The stockings make it easy for the blood to flow back toward your heart which helps to prevent swelling.
  • Avoid tight socks or knee highs.  These tend to squeeze at a certain spot on the leg and can cut off circulation.
  • Exercise daily per your doctor’s approval.  Even just a short walk around the block can help your circulation.
  • Avoid crossing your legs or ankles while sitting.
  • If you must sit or stand for long periods at a time, take frequent breaks to move around.
  • Maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat enough fiber to prevent constipation.
  • Reduce sodium intake.  This will help to minimize swelling of the veins.

Varicose veins are veins that are swollen and bulging under the surface of the skin.  They are blue, red, or purple in color and appear twisted like.  They usually show up on your legs, lower pelvic area, buttocks, or rectal area (hemorrhoids).  If you do experience painful varicose veins, you will probably find that the symptoms are worse towards the end of the day but by the morning, you’ll usually feel much better.  This is because you’ve been lying down relieving the pressure on your veins.  

Varicose vein warning signs to contact your doctor:

  • If a small blood clot develops.  If this happens, the vein will feel hard and ropelike, and the area around it may be red, hot, or painful. 
  • Either of your legs becomes severely swollen.  
  • The skin near the vein changes in color.
  • If you develop sores on your leg. 

Varicose veins can sometimes be misinterpreted for spider veins because they have similarities, but they are different.  Varicose veins are large swollen veins that bulge near the surface of the skin and are ropelike.  Spider veins are small, red or blush veins typically found on the legs but can also appear on the face.  They resemble a branch or spider web pattern.  Both are caused by veins having a problem sending blood from your feet or legs to your heart.  And they usually disappear shortly after giving birth.  But if for some reason they do not disappear in an adequate amount of time after childbirth, there are treatment options to consider.

  • Sclerotherapy – This procedure is used on smaller varicose veins and spider veins where a solution is injected in the veins to scar and close the veins.  This will cause the blood to reroute through healthier veins disappearing over time.  This may need several treatments over a course of four to six weeks.
  • Laser and light therapy – This procedure is most effective on small varicose veins and spider veins, but it is used to treat larger varicose veins.  The blood vessels are heated to shrink them by using light energy from a laser.  Several sessions may be required for the treatment to be successful. 
  • Endovenous ablation therapy – This procedure inserts a small catheter with a device on the tip of it, through a tiny cut near the vein.  The catheter heats up and closes off the vein.
  • Endoscopic vein surgery – This procedure is only used when varicose veins become so severe that they cause sores and ulcers.  A tiny cut is made near the vein to insert a small camera with a surgical device that is attached to a thin tube.  As it moves through the vein, the surgical device will close the vein.  
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy – This procedure removes varicose veins closest to the surface of the skin.  A tiny cut is made to insert a surgical instrument or a large needle that hooks the vein and removes it piece by piece.  
  • Vein stripping and ligation – This procedure is performed only in critical cases of varicose veins.  A small cut is made in the skin to remove the veins that have been tied shut.  

If you are dealing with varicose veins and would like to find a doctor near you to discuss concerns and possible options, call CT Cardio at 337-234-3163.  Dr. Corwin Thomas serves patients in the Acadiana area and can help you find a solution that you will be happy with.  He and his staff treat all their patients as a priority building lasting relationships.  If you want quality healthcare, call to schedule an appointment with CT Cardio today.  You could also visit their website https://www.ctcardio.com  to learn more about the various services they provide.       

Resources:

Varicose veins:  How to treat them after your baby’s born – https://www.babycenter.com
Why Do Some Pregnant Women Get Varicose Veins – https://www.kidshealth.com
Treat Varicose Veins Naturally During Pregnancy – https://www.americanpregnancy.org
Varicose veins – https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au
Varicose and spider veins – https://www.webmd.com