During pregnancy many women will find they develop varicose veins. This can be due to the worsening of pre-existing veins, or the development of new ones. While pregnancy does affect veins in the leg, it does not specifically cause varicose veins to occur. In most cases, the varicose veins occur due to the enlarging uterus pushing down on major blood vessels in the pelvis. Another contributing factor to problematic veins during pregnancy is that pregnancy hormones allow blood vessels to become more dilated, and therefore less resistant to blood flow.
As medical intervention for varicose veins is generally not recommended during pregnancy, there are a number of things you can do to help reduce the likelihood you’ll develop them.
1. Avoid gaining too much weight, keeping within the region of 10-12 kgs, or based on a health Basal Metabolic Index.
2. Get your hands on some good, supportive pantyhose.
3. Wear supporting underpants.
4. You may need to wear compression stockings, however check with your doctor before using these.
5. Rest with your feet up.
6. Sleep with your legs slightly elevated.
7. Avoid wearing high heels.
8. Try to get some exercise in every day.
9. Try to minimise standing for long periods of time.
10. Keep your water intake up!
If you do decide to have your varicose veins treated, you will most likely need to see a Vascular Surgeon who will be able to discuss the best treatment options with you.