Varicose Veins and Pregnancy – Frequently Asked Questions
Varicose veins are a fairly common part of pregnancy. While these may be harmless and can go away without treatment over time, some women experience enough discomfort and pain to seek treatment for them. If you are suffering from severe symptoms, and are thinking of undergoing treatment after pregnancy, read on to learn more.
Client Interview: Chloe, Aged 40, Second Pregnancy
We asked a recent patient, Chloe, to describe her experience having developed varicose veins during her second pregnancy.
What symptoms are you experiencing during this second pregnancy?
I have seen an increase of blue surface veins and red veins clustered in some areas, right down to and around the ankle, which I have never seen before.
I have also noticed slightly raised veins in my upper inner thigh region.
I didn’t have issues in my first pregnancy, but I had some residual veins from my previous occupation of being on my feet and a possible family history. I have also been wearing compression hosiery which provides me with some relief.
My symptoms include:
How does pregnancy affect varicose veins?
Varicose veins can develop during pregnancy, or pre-existing varicose veins can become larger. 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 veins in the trunk which can cause obstruction to the normal blood return to the heart, causing leg veins to become swollen and symptomatic. As well as affecting leg veins, veins around the vulva can become engorged and painful.
Sometimes the varicose veins completely disappear in the months following delivery, but they may also persist and require treatment.
What can I do to relieve the symptoms during pregnancy?
While women are pregnant, it is best to wear compression socks which will give some relief and lessen the damage that pregnancy does to the veins. Walking and elevation can also provide some relief.
How soon can I get my veins treated after pregnancy?
We will usually advise waiting 3 to 6 months before receiving treatment.
Can you treat me if I am breastfeeding?
Yes, we can provide treatment while you are breastfeeding.
My veins are causing me pain during my pregnancy – can I receive treatment now?
We do not recommend treatment during pregnancy, but we can treat you as soon as three months after your delivery. We do take into account whether you plan to have any more pregnancies, however this must be considered on a case-by-case basis, as everyone’s body is different. If, during your pregnancy, your symptoms are severe - or you really don’t like the look of your legs – you may want to get on and do something after the current pregnancy, and before the next one.
On the other hand, if the symptoms are manageable and you are planning to have another baby, then we do recommend having other children, and addressing the issue once you no longer plan to get pregnant. The main thing to consider is whether or not the symptoms are severe enough to warrant treatment between pregnancies.