Varices and varicose veins in pregnancy. What to do?

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Varicose veins in pregnancy

Some pregnant women, especially when the time for childbirth approaches, may notice the appearance of varicose veins that they did not have before. These vessels that are visible on the surface can also be located in other places, for example right on the vulva, making it irregular, with swellings that you have never felt before, even to the touch.





In this article

  • Causes of varicose veins in pregnancy
  • Are they dangerous for the pregnancy or for the baby?
  • What can be done to prevent the onset of varicose veins?
  • Remedies and treatments

Causes of varicose veins in pregnancy

During pregnancy, among all the bodily changes that occur, the blood also changes, both in composition and, above all, in volume. To allow the baby to be fed the blood volume increases precisely in the veins and arteries of the pelvis area, in close relationship with those of legs. This large amount of blood can sometimes fail to be disposed of quickly and therefore stagnates some vessels.



Towards the end of pregnancy, the uterus is also of such a size and weight that it compresses veins and arteries, hindering the free circulation of blood. Finally, during pregnancy, people are naturally predisposed to greater fluid retention, for the same reasons that blood circulation is impeded. Here, therefore, that the blood and liquids that stagnate can lead to the formation of these varices.

Are they dangerous for the pregnancy or for the baby?

Dangers related to pregnancy itself are not described, however, it is a condition that must be constantly monitored by the gynecologist and, if the volume or extension of these veins becomes very important, even by a good angiologist. The reason for the check is related to the greater likelihood that they will develop superficial phlebitis or deep vein thrombosis.



It is a risk that already increases during pregnancy due to physical and hormonal changes, even more so if these veins appear. However, gynecologists usually prescribe at the beginning of pregnancy blood tests able to give a minimum indication of the risk of these problems developing.

As for the child, however, no case is described in the literature in which the varices have caused problems. You can therefore rest assured that although there is a slowdown in blood circulation, the volume of blood you produce is sufficient to ensure the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.

Read also: Disorders in pregnancy

What can be done to prevent the onset of varicose veins?

Unfortunately, some of us are genetically predisposed to have this type of problem even outside of pregnancy and therefore little can be done from the point of view of prevention. In this case and in all the other women who instead see them appear in pregnancy, there are gods small tricks that can be very useful.

  • First of all it is often said that you have to drink a lot, even during pregnancy because in this way the amniotic fluid in which the baby is contained has the necessary volume. All this is certainly true, but the quantity of water or other liquids must not exceed the needs. Let me explain: if your body needs two liters of water a day and you ingest three, the liter you don't need is accumulated in the vessels, especially those of the lower limbs.
  • Another tip concerns weight gain. It is important to increase your weight proportionately and without excess, because an increase of more than twelve kilos in pregnancy leads to a further crushing of the vessels and therefore to a slowing of circulation with the consequent possibility that varicose veins develop or worsen.
  • Useful help can be the elastic stockings because by compressing the leg they help the vessels in the circulation and reabsorption of liquids.
  • In addition, I always recommend doing it every now and then a foot bath in not too hot salt water, which deflates the feet and helps to at least partially solve the problem of water retention.
  • Finally, surely the best way to help circulation and prevent feet and legs from swelling too much is lift them. So even in the evening in bed or on the sofa try to keep your legs with one pillow under your heels and one under your knees.

Remedies and treatments

During pregnancy it is not necessary to do other types of surgery for varicose veins, there are therapies sclerosanti carried out by angiologists who aim to make these evident capillaries disappear. However, these therapies are not recommended during pregnancy.

However, since varicose veins can be managed in non-invasive ways, despite being unsightly, I always recommend avoiding too many thoughts and too many paranoia and experiencing pregnancy. In fact, they often disappear after childbirth or in any case they are reduced in quantity and extent and at this point it is therefore possible to intervene, if you deem it necessary, with angiological therapies.

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