Varicose veins are among the many changes that can occur to a woman’s body when she is pregnant. Besides being unattractive, they can be uncomfortable, itchy and even painful.

Many women believe that varicose veins are unavoidable during pregnancy. For some women, they may be. However, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of developing varicose vein problems during pregnancy and to lessen the unpleasant symptoms associated with them. It’s important, however, to understand what causes them.

What Causes Pregnancy-Related Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?

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When the uterus expands as the baby grows, it presses against the large vein on the right side of the body called the inferior vena cava. That vein carries blood to the heart from the feet and legs. That pressure can cause varicose veins to develop in the legs.

Another pregnancy-related change to a woman’s body that can cause varicose veins is the amount of blood circulating through her body. It increases in order to help support the baby. That increased blood, along with increased progesterone levels during pregnancy, cause more pressure on a woman’s veins and the valves inside them. This can cause them to weaken and break, resulting in varicose veins.

What Makes Some Pregnant Women More Susceptible to Varicose Veins Than Others?

Many of the factors that determine whether a woman will develop varicose veins during her pregnancy are the same as those that play a role in non-pregnancy-related varicose veins. For example:

  • Heredity can be a determining factor, just as it can with non-pregnancy-related varicose veins. If your mother got them, you may be more likely to.
  • Older pregnant women are more likely to get them.
  • Women who were overweight before their pregnancy or who gain excessive weight while pregnant are more prone to getting them. That’s just one of the reasons why it’s important to stay at a healthy weight during your pregnancy.
  • Women who don’t get enough exercise during their pregnancy or who spend hours sitting or standing are more likely to develop them.

Of course, if you already had varicose veins before your pregnancy, they’re likely to worsen while you are pregnant. However, there are some steps you can take to lessen the severity and discomfort of your varicose veins while you’re pregnant:

  • As long as you have your doctor’s approval, doing regular low-impact aerobic activity such as walking, biking or swimming can help prevent or reduce the severity of varicose veins.
  • Prenatal massages.
  • Keeping your legs elevated whenever possible.
  • Sleeping on your left side to reduce the pressure on your inferior vena cava, which is on the right side.

Should You Have a Varicose Vein Removal Treatment After the Baby Is Born?

In some cases, varicose veins fade within a few months after the baby is born. If they don’t, with your doctor’s approval, you may want to consider one of the minimally invasive varicose vein treatments we offer at Veininnovations. They’re perfect for busy new moms because our Atlanta vein doctors perform them at our convenient Atlanta-area offices. They generally take no more than a few hours – if that long – and there is little or no recovery time.

Contact Us for Post-Pregnancy Varicose Vein Removal

Many women put off getting their pregnancy-related varicose veins treated until after they’ve had their last child. However, if you don’t have them removed after each pregnancy, they will likely worsen with each subsequent one. Call or contact us online today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Atlanta vein doctors to determine the best varicose vein removal treatment for you.