Should I be worried if I have varicose veins?
Varicose veins can develop while you are pregnant, or if you already have varicose veins, they may worsen. They are definitely not dangerous, and the good news is that they tend to improve after you have given birth.
Signs of varicose veins
Varicose veins are veins that are swollen. They may bulge at the surface of your skin, and are blue or purple. Usually, they appear on your legs, but you can also get varicose veins elsewhere on your body. Haemorrhoids are varicose veins in the rectal area. Click here to read about haemorrhoids.
Causes of varicose veins
During pregnancy, there is an increased amount of progesterone coursing through your body. This makes the blood vessels relax, and your veins may swell.
The increased uterus also creates increasing pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body called the inferior vena cava. This in turn puts pressure on the leg veins to return blood from the legs to the heart. The added pressure may cause the leg veins to swell, thus creating varicose veins.
Risks of varicose veins
Varicose veins are mostly unsightly and can be uncomfortable, but generally pose no real danger.
However, in rare cases, the varicose veins can become red, hard, and very tender. These are symptoms of a condition called thrombophlebitis, and it means that bloodclots could be forming. In this instance, you will need to seek immediate medical attention.
Steps to minimize varicose veins
During your pregnancy, try to prop your legs up as much as possible, to take the pressure off your legs, and help to relieve the tension in your leg veins. You should also try to maintain a healthy weight by eating well and being physically active. Being active also helps to improve your blood circulation, so this may also go some way in relieving the tension in your leg veins. Wearing compression stockings may also help with the varicose veins.
After your pregnancy, these blue and purple veins will generally go away after two to three months.