Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

Dilated tortuous superficial veins of the lower limbs are called varicose veins. They are common in pregnancy and tend to worsen as the pregnancy progresses. The reasons why varicose veins worsen is because of the increased blood volume that occurs in pregnancy as well as the increased pressure in the lower limb veins due to the pressure applied by the pregnant uterus on the large central veins of the body returning blood from the lower limbs. The valves in the superficial veins that direct blood flow are damaged by the increased pressure in pregnancy. This damage to the valves worsens with each subsequent pregnancy.

The symptoms of varicose veins usually consist of swelling of the lower limbs, aching legs and cosmetic issues. The best treatment is to lie on your side with your legs elevated on some pillows whenever possible. Try and limit the amount of time you are upright and walking around. You may get some relief from correctly fitted compression stockings. These stockings do not prevent the varicose veins from worsening, but they significantly reduce the swelling and discomfort of aching legs.

Post-delivery your varicose veins will significantly improve especially over the first three months but they rarely completely resolve.