If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you’re maybe wondering about the changes your body will go through during this time. One common issue you may experience during pregnancy is the development of varicose veins, also known as pregnancy veins.
In this article, we’ll cover some of your frequently asked questions, such as :
- How does pregnancy cause varicose veins?
- When and where do varicose and spider veins appear?
- How can pregnancy veins be treated and prevented?
Let’s jump in…
How Common Are Varicose Veins in Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes, and one of the common issues that arises is the development of pregnancy veins. They’re common during pregnancy, affecting up to 50% of pregnant women.
We’ll talk about why they appear, and at what stage of pregnancy, and how they can spontaneously disappear again in the questions further down.
What Do These Veins Look Like?
Pregnancy veins – which are also simply called varicose veins, as we said – can appear as swollen, twisted, or bulging veins that you can see under your skin. They may be blue, purple, or red in color and are commonly found in your legs. But they can also occur in other parts of your body.
You’ll probably experience symptoms before you start looking to see if they’re there…
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of vein problems in your legs include:
- achy, heavy, or uncomfortable feelings
- itching around your veins
- leg cramps
- skin changes and discoloration
Can Pregnancy Cause Vein Problems to Appear?
This is definitely a possibility! But how does it happen?
During pregnancy, there are several factors that can influence the “coming” of varicose veins, such as:
- increased pressure in your abdomen from your expanding uterus
- hormonal changes that dilate your blood vessels
- your baby contributing additional pressure on the blood vessels in your pelvis
- increased blood flow to support you and your baby
These are all things you want to happen to ensure the health of your baby – but they all make it more difficult for your blood to flow. And that’s when those annoying bulges can make their appearance!
What Causes Spider Veins During Pregnancy?
Spider veins, too, can occur during pregnancy, due to increased pressure in your abdomen and the hormonal changes we mentioned.
Spider veins can appear anywhere on your body, but they’re most commonly found on your legs and face.
When Do Pregnancy Veins Appear?
They can appear in your legs at any time during your pregnancy, but they often develop around week 10, and they will likely become more visible as your pregnancy progresses.
This is not a reason to worry, because – like we said – they will usually revert after the birth of your baby.
But there are risk factors that make the veins more likely to appear in the first place…
Are There Risk Factors That Increase My Likelihood of Developing Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
Yes. There are several risk factors you may have. These include:
- having a family history of varicose veins
- being over the age of 30
- being overweight or obese
- having a history of blood clots
- having multiple pregnancies
- standing or sitting for long periods of time – which is less healthy for your circulation
- having a job that requires prolonged periods of standing or sitting – which can start to damage your vein valves before you’re pregnant
Where Do Pregnancy Veins Appear?
We already mentioned – above – the possibility of spider veins on your face. However, pregnancy veins are mostly found in your legs and ankles – but they can also occur in other parts of your body, such as the vulva or rectum (where they’re usually known as hemorrhoids).
Again, don’t worry before you’ve consulted with your healthcare provider.
Can You Treat Varicose Veins Naturally During Pregnancy?
Yes. There are several natural remedies that may help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins during pregnancy, such as:
- exercising regularly
- elevating your legs as often as possible
- wearing compression stockings
- avoiding crossing your legs when sitting
- using ice packs to reduce swelling
- avoiding very tight clothing
- sleeping on your left side to decrease pressure on the inferior vena cava (in charge of carrying the blood from your legs to your heart)
- avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time
However, as we said, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before trying any new treatment. That’s because they’re the person who knows you and your unique situation best.
Do Pregnancy Veins Go Away?
Although they can be uncomfortable, they’re generally harmless and tend to disappear after delivery or within the first year after the birth of your baby.
However, with some women, these veins can persist and they may then require treatment, such as VenaSeal.
When Should I Seek Treatment?
If you’re experiencing discomfort from varicose veins during pregnancy, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider. They can recommend treatments to alleviate discomfort, such as compression stockings or medication.
But – if your varicose veins are causing…
- bleeding from, or ulcers near, the vein, or
- significant pain, swelling, or redness…
…you must get in touch with your healthcare provider as soon as possible!
We Can Help You Manage Your Pregnancy Veins
Pregnancy veins are a common occurrence and should not be something to worry about, as we’ve been pointing out here.
There are several natural remedies that can help relieve your symptoms during your pregnancy.
In addition, our team at Denver Vein has years of experience in diagnosing and treating varicose veins and spider veins – including during pregnancy.
Our goal is to help you feel and look your best – and when you’re pregnant and feeling a little larger than usual, that’s really important.
Don’t let vein worries spoil this time of looking forward to your new arrival. Contact us for a consultation today!