How to Treat Your Varicose Veins During Pregnancy | T.W.L
Motherhood + Parenting TipsPregnancy

How to Treat Your Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Pregnancy does a number on a woman’s body, especially their legs. Varicose veins are something that many pregnant women endure during their pregnancies. This article will help you figure out how to deal with varicose veins during any of your pregnancies. 

 

Dealing with varicose veins

Genetics plays a big role in the development of varicose veins. This results in more diluted blood.  The risk of developing varicose veins depends on the genetic predisposition of a woman. If your mom, aunt, or sisters have varicose veins, chances are, you would also develop varicose veins. You get a 21.5 higher chance of developing varicose veins as compared to those without family members with varicose veins.  

To properly deal with varicose veins in pregnancy, we, first, have to understand the changes that occur in pregnancy. Pregnancy brings about an ordeal of changes in the body. This journey is no joke as this occurs for you to accommodate another living being inside one’s uterus and in preparation for the mother for labor and delivery.

Aside from genetics, multiple factors contribute to the development of varicose veins in pregnancy. 

Pregnant women would often pump more blood from the heart as compared to non-pregnant women. To supply enough blood, the heart would double time its work and pump thirty to fifty percent more. This occurs to compensate for the demands of the uterus and placenta. 

With the increased pumping of the heart, the blood subsequently compensates to achieve an increased volume.  Plasma increases to about fifty percent while red blood cell mass increases to about twenty-five percent. These changes result in more diluted blood. 

Both the increase in the amount of blood pumped by the heart and the increase in blood volume influence the development of varicose veins in pregnant women. These add to the increased venous pressure.   

An enlarging uterus also contributes to the increased venous pressure on the lower extremities. The gravid uterus puts additional weight on the lower extremities to the point of altering the venous pressure at the femoral veins up to 24 mmHg at 9 months. Symptoms would vary from cosmetic problems to mild to severe leg discomfort.

So back to the question – how do we treat varicose veins in pregnant women? 

First, we start with practices that would prevent or reduce your leg discomfort!

Are you pregnant and dealing with varicose veins? Varicose veins during pregnancy is common for women. Here's how to deal with it.

Elevate your legs 

Your lower limbs, especially your feet and legs, are the most battered part of your body, more so in pregnancy. Giving your legs adequate rest while elevated improves the circulation of the blood.  Elevation of the legs above the level of the heart promotes venous return. This prevents lower extremity venous stasis. However, you should be cautious in performing leg elevation, especially in the late trimester. The presence of difficulty of breathing should prompt you to stop performing leg elevation.

dealing with varicose veins during pregnancy

Get moving

Yes, you guessed it right! Prolonged sitting or standing worsens the symptoms of varicose veins. Daily exercise could do wonders for you! American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends the same amount of exercise to pregnant women as with nonpregnant women as long as there are no obstetrical or medical complications involved. 

One problem that leads to varicose veins is the failure in the muscle pump function of the calves. The calves are part of the support of the venous circulatory system of the lower extremities and in a situation where the calves do not perform a strong-enough pumping action, there would be an increase in the venous pressure in the lower limbs. 

To combat this problem, pregnant women should perform walking exercises. The pumping action of the calves in a walk could empty your veins and this could relieve the edema and venous hypertension. Exercise significantly improves muscle strength and vein drainage, hence its role in the treatment of varicose veins.

doing exercise during pregnancy

 

Compression stockings are the answer

Another treatment for varicose veins in pregnancy is the use of graduated compression stockings. Doctors have used compression therapy for conditions involving venous and lymphatic insufficiency. Varicose veins, lymphedema, venous ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis, you name it, doctors would often prescribe graduated compression stockings. 

Graduated compression stockings come in different pressures. Your doctor will prescribe you the appropriate pressure gradient Your doctor will prescribe you with the pressure depending on the severity of your varicose veins. The greatest degree of pressure is at the ankle and as it goes up your leg, the pressure will gradually decrease.

Compression therapy is the cornerstone of conservative varicose vein treatment. It is specifically designed to support your lower limbs.This is the reason why most doctors would prefer the use of compression stockings, especially for pregnant women. Compression therapy is a safe treatment for varicose veins for you as it is safe and non-invasive. 

 

Surgical intervention

Persistence of severe leg edema, thickening or changes in the skin texture, ulcer formation, and other symptoms despite compression stocking use warrant an immediate consultation with your doctor. As much as possible, doctors avoid treatment of varicose veins with surgical interventions in pregnancy. In most cases, doctors would opt to move the surgery after your pregnancy. 

There are a few cases where doctors would suggest surgery when you are pregnant. They only do a surgical intervention when symptoms are uncontrolled and worsening. Doctors would limit the surgical intervention in pregnant women with varicose veins to high ligation. 

High ligation and vein stripping is a minor surgical procedure that involves making a small incision below the groin and behind the ankle or knee. The surgeon would then tie and clamp off the damaged vein. The surgeon then inserts a wire into the damaged vein. Afterwards, the surgeon places a cap on the end of the wire, then he/she strips the vein by pulling on the wire at the groin.

Performing high ligation and vein stripping between the third and seventh month of gestation is the safest. Doctors would use local anesthetics allowing the patient to be completely ambulatory afterward. (4) However, doctors are concerned about the recurrence of varicose veins in pregnant patients who undergo this procedure.

Remember, that a surgical procedure, especially in pregnant women, can only be if the benefits outweigh the risks. Doctors would not perform these procedures if not warranted by the condition!

pregnancy resting

In a nutshell

Most treatment offered for varicose veins during pregnancy involves conservative practices. For the mothers-to-be out there suffering from varicose veins, consult your doctor! Don’t be scared. The discomfort you are feeling can be remedied. You can try out my earlier suggestions such as leg elevation and daily exercise. For the rest, you can ask your doctors if you can use support stockings. 

 

This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase through one of my links. Please see my disclosure for more information


TOFLY Compression Stockings (Pair), Medical Grade Firm Support 20-30mmHg, Opaque, Unisex, Open Toe Knee High Compression Socks for Varicose Veins, Edema, Shin Splints, Nursing, Travel, Beige M (Health and Beauty)
See larger image
Additional Images:Img - B01M3R67CA Img - B01M3R67CA Img - B01M3R67CA Img - B01M3R67CA Img - B01M3R67CA Img - B01M3R67CA

TOFLY Compression Stockings (Pair), Medical Grade Firm Support 20-30mmHg, Opaque, Unisex, Open Toe Knee High Compression Socks for Varicose Veins, Edema, Shin Splints, Nursing, Travel, Beige M (Health and Beauty)

Features: 
  • IT JUST WORKS! -【DURABLE & COMFORTABLE】- TOFLY knee high compression socks are made of premium quality medical grade material, lightweight, breathable & durable, sweat-absorbent, anti-slip. True graduated compression of 20 – 30 mmHg (CLASS II), with seamless woven construction, these fit snug with no loss of compression after long time wear. If conditions permit, we strongly recommended purchasing 2 pairs for the same product to replace them, as this will double its life for each pair.
  • IT JUST WORKS! -【RELIEF & RECOVER FAST】- By improving blood flowing & circulation, TOFLY compression hose help to prevent the ankle, leg & foot swelling, reduce muscle cramping and swollen feet while re-energizing tired legs. These toeless support hose also help reduce the risk of developing varicose veins, DVT, spider veins, leg cramps, arthritis, shin splints, pulled muscle, tendonitis, lymphedema, ease muscle soreness as well as leg fatigue.
  • IT JUST WORKS! -【GREAT FOR DAILY USE】- These medical compression stockings could be used during or after activity or during pregnancy, running, hiking, martial arts, crossfit, volleyball, basketball, cycling, baseball, yoga, workouts or any fitness activities. Whether high or low or high impact, these enable you to warm up safely and recover quickly. Or for people in retail, air travel, jobs as a nurse or in construction that require long standing on your feet, even to cover up tattoos!
  • 【MEASURE ACCORDING TO THE SIZE CHART IN THE LEFT IMAGES】 The 20-30mmHg professional graduated compression socks are suitable for all compression needs. The progressive pressure technology enhances elasticity, so there will be a tight fit when first worn, it’s normal. Soft top will not constrict leg, defined heel enhances fit, the open toe design fully adapts to the shape of different feet, which is closely fitted according to the characteristics of the legs, bringing effective care to your legs.
  • 【BUY WITHOUT ANY RISK!】- You have got our No-Questions-Asked 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. If you don’t absolutely LOVE your compression stockings within the first 30 days, we’ll take them back, no questions asked! Or you can also contact us freely. You will always get a satisfactory solution and five-star service here and any question will be answered within 12 hours!
List Price: $16.99 ($8.50 / Count)
New From: $16.99 ($8.50 / Count) In Stock
buy now
Show More

Tee V

Long before her career as a doctor, Tee Villanueva always had her interest focused in writing. She has worked as a creative and content writer even while in medical school. Currently, she is a licensed resident doctor in Internal Medicine but loves that through writing, she can provide information about complex diseases and treatments to the general public. Combining her clinical knowledge and writing skills, she delivers complicated information in an easy to understand manner. When not writing and going on duty in the hospital, she likes to travel, cook or watch Netflix.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: