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Can I prevent varicose veins during pregnancy?

This question was asked in Bellevue, Washington and has 6 answer(s) as of 01/28/2013.
Is there any possible way that I could limit the chances of getting varicose veins during pregnancy? My mother has bad veins in her legs (she is in her late 60s). I am 34 and am 6 weeks pregnant. What are the chances that I will get them?


Doctors Answers (6)

Pregnancy is a risk factor for varicose veins. While pregnant, the use of prescription strength support stockings, leg elevation when able, and staying well hydrated will help the symptoms are varicose veins and reduce the risk of blood clots. If the vein symptoms persist after pregnancy, evaluation for venous insufficiency should be performed and if present treatment should be considered between pregnancy to reduce the risks of venous complications of future pregnancy.

The cause of varicose vein disease remains unknown. The most common risk factors associated with increasing the chances of developing varicose veins include being female, having family members with varicose veins, and being pregnant. Varicose vein disease is incurable but treatable. The basic steps of conservative therapy include wearing adequate compression hosiery, walking daily for an hour, and leg elevation while resting.These simple measures are appropriate for pregnant women since they don't affect the fetus.

Yes, it is very common for varicose veins to first appear or worsen during pregnancy. Your chance of getting varicose veins during your pregnancy can be lessened by wearing compression hose (your OB/GYN doctor can prescribe these), exercising, walking regularly and not gaining excessive weight during your pregnancy.

This is a great question and the answer could take paragraphs, however, I will opt for brevity. In short, I don't think you can actually prevent the formation of varicose veins (VV), however you may be able to slow the formation of them. The first thing to know are the 3 most common causes of V V: 1) inherited / genetics, 2) pregnancy, and 3) female hormones. Which explains why, in general, women are 3 times more likely to have V V than men. One of the main superficial veins under the skin that contributes to the formation of VV is the great saphenous vein (GSV). As the GSV enlarges or begins to have backward flow (reflux) the likelihood of VV increases. In pregnancy, the GSV usually enlarges and usually does not return to its pre-pregnant state. With each subsequent pregnancy, the GSV can progressively enlarge more than with the previous pregnancy. So with each pregnancy, the likelihood of VV increases more and more. Now to your question. Since you have the 3 top risks factors for VV, you are at a higher risks of forming them. Since your mother has "bad" VV, there is a genetic likelihood that you will, too. The pregnancy is adding to that likelihood. Wearing proper compression stocking, at least 20-30mmHg to the top of your thigh while you are pregnant may help slow the development of VV, however to date, I am not aware of anything that will actually prevent the formation of VV in your legs.

Varicose Veins and venous insufficiency is hereditary. You are certainly at risk during your preganancy. The best thing you can do to help is to wear compression stockings (maternity pantyhose 20-30 mmHg) and walk. You can not prevent the vein disease as it is hereditary.

Pregnancy is one of the major causes of varicose veins as well as the more superficial reticular veins and spider veins. There are many reasons for this, that include the blood volume increases by 50%, hormones of pregnancy relax the connective tissues making delivery easier but also make stretching out tissues easier, and the weight of the uterus is directly over the largest vein going back from the legs to the heart which restricts venous flow below the waist. To help prevent varicose veins, wear maternity compression hose when out of bed as soon in the pregnancy as possible and for another 3 weeks following the delivery. Wearing the hose from the first trimester will greatly help prevent and reduce both the occurrence and the severity of all vein problems in the legs and will also help to reduce the incidence of light headedness and of fainting usually seen in the first trimester due to reducing blood pressures.

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