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What causes blood clots?

This question was asked in Sacramento, California and has 8 answer(s) as of 08/12/2013.
I am 4 months pregnant and I'm starting to notice some varicose veins on my legs. Are these blood clots? I need to know what's causing them and how to get rid of them.


Doctors Answers (8)

Although pregnancy does increase your risk of blood clots, these veins are not caused by blood clots. You are suffering from vein disease due to incompetent, or leaky valves in your veins. Instead of your blood traveling back to your heart, the blood in these veins is going backwards because the valves inside the vein are staying open. Pregnancy increases the amount of blood in your body and will cause these damaged veins to bulge. They will get a little better after your pregnancy is over but the only way to treat the disease is to have these veins closed. You should wait until a couple months after you deliver and then make an appointment in our office.

During pregnancy your hormones cause dilation of the veins and if you have a family history of varicose/spider veins, you may develop them at this time. Often after the first pregnancy the veins can return to normal but subsequent pregnancies can leave varicose and spider veins. Your best advice is to wear a measured and fitted compression hose during your pregnancy and recovery. We recommend starting with 20-30 mmHg pressure and graduating to 30-40 mmHg if you are having more swelling or pain in you legs. Additionally you should seek an ultrasound examination of your legs if you develop sudden pain, redness and swelling in your legs and discuss this information with your OB.

Varicose veins often are caused by or made worse during pregnancies due to multiple factors including hormonal changes that relaxes connective tissues, increase in blood volume by 50%, and an increasing compression of the major veins coming from the legs due to expansion and weight of the fetus and uterus. I recommend wearing maternity compression hose to improve venous circulation in the legs and limit the further development of problem veins. Walking is also very beneficial as it helps to use the leg muscles to literally pump venous blood and extra fluid upward and back to the heart. Walking will also benefit in keeping fit during the pregnancy which directly helps at delivery and afterwards.

The varicose veins are not uncommon with pregnancy. Unfortunately its genetics and there is nothing you can do to stop them completely. The good thing is that after you give birth it should improve dramatically. At this point all you can do is wear compression stockings and walk. Varicose vein interventions such as sclerotherapy are contraindicated in pregnancy. If you continue to have varicose veins after pregnancy I would suggest seeing a vascular surgeon to have an evaluation to determine if treatment is necessary.

Probably not blood clots. Varicose veins frequently express themselves during pregnancy. It would be wise for you to consider Graded Compression Stockings. Please consult your Dr. or make an appointment with me to evaluate your condition.

Don't worry, these are not blood clots, the veins in your legs are enlarging due to high hormonal levels and compression of your pelvic veins by the pregnant uterus. These veins should significantly reduce in size after you deliver your baby.

Varicose veins will develop in nearly everyone's legs if they life a natural life span. The severity and the age of onset are due mostly to multiple genes from both parents that affect the strength of the vein wall. Pregnancy accelerates the development of varicose veins because of the hormonal changes with pregnancy and because the pressure of the uterus on the iliac veins of the pelvis obstructs the venous blood flow out of the legs. The resulting high pressure in the leg veins and the hormonal weakening of the vein walls result in considerable progression of the vein problem in many women. Although the symptoms improve after pregnancy is over, the veins do not fully recover. Use of medical grade elastic graduated compression stockings (30-40 mm Hg compression) during pregnancy will help with the symptoms and may slow down the progression of the problem.

Pregnancy is a common risk factor for developing varicose veins . The fluid increases and hormonal changes work together to cause varicose veins during pregnancy. Blood clots can also occur during pregnancy. It has different symptoms than varicose veins but if you have concern about blood clots, consult your doctor. Sometime varicose veins will improve or resolve after delivery and treatment is not advised during pregnancy.

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