What causes varicose veins in pregnancy?

One of the issues pregnant women face is varicose veins. Although not a serious health concern, it can be painful and uncomfortable. What are the varicose veins? Why do they happen? And are they treatable during pregnancy? Read on to find out.

Waed Abujoudeh | Registered Midwife
Waed Abu Joudeh
Published on:Nov 24th 2022 |Updated on:May 10th 2024
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What are varicose veins?

A non-contagious health issue, that is more likely to happen in women than men. They happen when the blood vessels under the skin of the feet and legs become swollen or twisted.

Varicose veins symptoms during pregnancy

Usually, this condition happens in the second trimester of pregnancy and has the following symptoms:

- The veins become blue, or purple and they appear more visible. Sometimes varicose veins look like a spider web and are called spider veins.

- Itching around the swollen veins.

- Pulsing in the legs.

- Swollen feet, heels, and ankles.

- Leg muscle cramps especially during sleep.

Causes of varicose veins

There are several causes for this condition, the most common causes for this issue in pregnancy are:

- Excessive weight.

- Getting pregnant at an older age.

- Hormone changes affecting the blood vessels.

- The elevated progesterone levels, may relax the blood vessels which might lead to blood accumulation and swelling.

- The increased blood volume, in addition to the pressure of the growing belly may change blood flow in the pelvis and legs.

- Family history.

Varicose veins treatment

Treatment options vary depending on the condition. In mild cases:

- Light exercise after getting the doctor’s approval.

- Walking for at least 30 minutes daily.

- Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods.

- Elevate the legs above the heart level, during sleep.

- Avoid tight clothing.

- Maintain a healthy weight.

- Use cold water compresses.

- Wear supportive socks and underwear after consulting your doctor.

Which doctor treats this condition?

You can consult your primary caregiver who might refer you to a dermatologist. The available treatments that are safe during pregnancy are:

- Injecting the veins with a solution that reduces the swelling.

- Laser treatments.

Complications of varicose veins in Pregnancy

This condition can develop and spread to the veins in the vagina. This won’t affect the chances of having a normal vaginal delivery, and it can be safely treated during pregnancy.

Learn about the 10 Recent Discoveries in Prenatal Care

Waed Abujoudeh | Registered Midwife
Waed Abu JoudehRegistered Midwife

Waed holds several academic degrees in midwifery and medical care for women and infants. In addition to several years of professional experience in hospitals in Jordan and the UAE. She also holds a great passion for helping women through all the stages of their motherhood journey

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