What you need to know about pregnancy and varicose veins


Pregnancy can be a difficult time on the body, especially for the veins in the legs. Dr Roberts from Crows Nest Cosmetic & Vein Clinic is one of Australia’s most experienced Phlebologists. Here, he explains why varicose veins can develop during pregnancy and what you can do to prevent and treat them. 

Why can women develop varicose veins during pregnancy?


Varicose veins in legs

During pregnancy the blood volume increases due to the needs of the growing baby. However, the speed of the returning blood from the legs decreases or slows. This increases the pressure inside the leg veins causing them to dilate.

Varicose veins aren’t just limited to the legs. They can occur on the Vulva or as haemorrhoids. They can be small and unnoticeable or large and swollen. Large vulval varicose veins can be painful, swollen and very uncomfortable when sitting. The presence of vulval veins can also prevent natural child birth due to the risk of rupturing a vulval varicose vein when pushing the baby out of the birth canal.

Varicose veins are more likely to occur in pregnancy if other family members have them. Inheritance is the most common marker for varicose veins. During pregnancy increased weight compresses the pelvic and abdominal veins. Twin pregnancy and standing for long periods of time can put added stress on the veins.

Symptoms of varicose veins

  1. Sore, aching and tired legs
  2. Throbbing or restless legs
  3. Eczema/ Rash
  4. Burning sensation
  5. Skin discoloration, usually around the ankles.

Prevention of varicose veins in pregnancy

Compression socks

Compression socks

  1. Treat varicose veins before becoming pregnant.
  2. Wear grade 2 thigh high compression stockings to support the veins during pregnancy
  3. Avoid standing for long periods of time. Take frequent breaks to walk around or sit down.
  4. Walk as much as possible.
  5. Keep your weight under control. Large weight gains in a short period of time can stress the veins.

Non-Surgical Treatment of Varicose veins before or after pregnancy

  • Injections of the varicose veins using ultrasound to locate them
  • For large varicose veins, Endovenous laser is used to close the largest veins followed by the injections of the smaller, tortuous veins.
  • Ultrasound is always used to locate and help in the accurate treatment of all varicose veins.
  • If suitable, large varicose veins can be treated by Endovenous Laser during the pregnancy, if symptoms warrant treatment

All vein treatments at Crows Nest Cosmetic & Vein Clinic are non-surgical, require no time off work or time away from family, no stitches and no hospital stay! The vein treatments are a walk in-walk out procedure. If you could like a consultation with Dr Roberts, call the Crows Nest Cosmetic & Vein Clinic on 9906 1555. First consultation is covered by Medicare. Click here to go to the Crows Nest Cosmetic & Vein Clinic website.

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