How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Veins
Varicose veins are a common pregnancy-related skin condition. If you are expecting and have noticed varicose veins, your dermatologist can help you find a treatment plan that meets your needs and alleviates discomfort.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are thicker-looking veins that appear more prominently beneath the surface of the skin than veins normally do. Varicose veins are mostly harmless, but they may itch or cause some mild discomfort and pain. If you notice a significant change in color, warmth, or bleeding from your varicose veins, talk to your doctor right away.
Varicose veins most often appear on the legs or thighs, but can show up in other areas of the body.
Why Do Pregnant Women Get Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are more common during pregnancy because of the various changes happening in your body that make veins in some areas appear more prominently than others.
Increased blood volume, combined with decreased blood flow from your legs to your pelvis, means more pressure is put on your veins, which leads to the characteristic enlargement of varicose veins, as well as the associated discomfort. Hormone levels, which fluctuate throughout pregnancy, can also contribute to the appearance of varicose veins.
Varicose veins can also be hereditary. If your mom or grandmother dealt with varicose veins during their pregnancies, you are more likely to have to deal with them, too.
How Are Varicose Veins Treated During Pregnancy?
While some women treat varicose veins with surgery, those procedures are too risky during a pregnancy. It’s best to focus on natural and non-invasive remedies for your varicose veins while you’re pregnant.
Taking any of the following steps may help:
- Elevate your legs throughout the day.
- Wear compression garments (making sure they apply enough pressure to stimulate circulation without being too tight and constricting or restricting blood flow).
- Change your positioning (sitting, standing, walking, resting, etc.) throughout the day to encourage more blood flow.
- Exercise according to your doctor’s recommendations for physical activity.
- Sleep on your left side to reduce pressure in your inferior vena cava. Doing so may also reduce pressure on the veins in that area.
It’s always a good idea to hydrate well and be mindful of your salt intake for a healthier pregnancy. Taking those steps can also improve blood flow and circulation, while reducing the pressure that causes varicose veins.
Your dermatologist can help you monitor and treat your varicose veins safely during pregnancy, along with any other pregnancy-related skin conditions you may have questions about (such as dry skin, acne, or stretch marks).
Varicose veins often reduce in size and disappear on their own once hormone levels stabilize and pressure on the legs and pelvis decreases after delivery.
If your varicose veins have lasted long after giving birth, or if they seem to be recurring, medical and surgical dermatology treatments may be a viable way for you to reduce the appearance of varicose veins.
Keep your stress to a minimum during your pregnancy, call your dermatologist with any questions about your skin health and appearance. To learn more about pregnancy-related skin conditions, request an appointment with SE Dermatology Specialists today.