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When is it normal for varicose veins to appear during pregnancy?

I am less than two months pregnant and have already started to get varicose veins on my legs. Is this normal for varicose veins to show up so early in a pregnancy? Will the varicose veins I just developed get even worse as I gain weight due to the baby? Should I get these varicose veins treated during my pregnancy?


Doctors Answers (3)

Varicose veins are not normal. You may have a hereditary predisposition for them and they show up in pregnancy due to vein dilation from maternal hormones. After the first pregnancy they may shrink back to normal, but often with second and subsequent pregnancies they may become a problem. I strongly advise you get professionally measured and fitted for a medical grade (they can be quite nice) thigh hose or maternity socks. I recommend 20-30 mmHg in the first and second trimesters, but if veins are painful or swelling is present, increase to 30-40mmHg. There is an increased incidence of blood clots in pregnancy also. We do not treat during pregnancy except for support. You can be evaluated once your hormones return to normal after delivery and/or breast feeding.

You need to get graded compression stockings. I cannot prescribe these for you since you are not my patient, but I would advise my patients to use 20-30 medical grade compression. I am sure your doctor will help guide you.

It is common for varicose veins to start early during pregnancy and the recommendation is to wear maternity compression hose AS SOON AS you find you are pregnant to prevent and minimize the occurrence of vein problems, especially if you have had previous vein problems or a strong family history of varicose veins. With pregnancy, the blood volume increases by 50 percent, connective tissue relaxes, and the increasing size and weight of the uterus over the main venous trunk (vena cava) all act together to increase venous congestion in the legs and the development of leg vein problems and hemorrhoids. The benefits of compression hose are clear from the first trimester on. Treatment of vein problems DURING pregnancy is limited to wearing the compression hose. Some smaller varicose veins may disappear after the first pregnancy (less likely to happen with subsequent pregnancies), so I suggest waiting for 3-4 months following delivery to have the varicose veins treated.

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