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Pregnancy and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can develop during pregnancy, or pre existing varicose veins can become larger or cause problems. There are several possible reasons why pregnancy may contribute to varicose veins. Hormones released during pregnancy are likely to be a factor, as is the increased blood volume and circulatory effects caused by pregnancy. The womb and baby will press on the veins which can cause obstruction to the normal blood return to the heart causing the leg veins to become swollen and symptomatic. As well as affecting leg veins, veins around the vulva can become engorged and painful.

A consultation with a vein doctor (phlebologist) can be reassuring and helpful for a pregnant woman concerned about varicose veins. We generally advise wearing compression hosiery if you have varicose veins during pregnancy to help support the veins from deteriorating.

Sometimes the varicose veins completely disappear in the months following delivery but will often persist and require treatment with laser, sclerotherapy or vein surgery.  We normally advise waiting for 6 months after delivery to decide whether vein treatment is necessary.

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