Varicose veins are a common side effect of pregnancy that affect many women.
There are a number of reasons why varicose veins can become a problem while pregnant:
- One explanation is that they appear due to pressure from the uterus on the vein that carries blood back to the heart from your feet and legs (inferior vena cava).
- Another cites the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the blood vessels, making them more susceptible to varicose veins.
- A third theory is that pregnancy increases the volume of blood in the body overall to support the growing baby while flow of blood from the legs to the pelvis decreases, which puts pressure on the veins in the legs.
It can be a combination of factors that cause them to appear.
The good news is that they are medically harmless, but the bad news is that they can be quite unsightly, with swollen blue/purple veins typically appearing behind the knees or on the lower legs. They can be uncomfortable too, feeling heavy or itchy, so that you end up feeling quite conscious of them all the time.
Many women are understandably keen to do something about varicose veins.
Can I Get Varicose Veins Treated While I’m Pregnant?
Unfortunately, varicose vein treatment during pregnancy is not advised. Your body is ‘different’ while you’re pregnant for a whole host of reasons and its main priority has to be nurturing your baby. Treatments and procedures that are not medically essential are generally postponed until after the baby is born.
Until then, it is best to try and do what you can to minimise the risk of varicose veins appearing and stop them from becoming too much of a problem.
10 Tips For Preventing Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
There are several lifestyle changes and tips that could reduce the risk of varicose veins forming during pregnancy.
- Watch weight gain – gaining weight is normal during pregnancy, but it’s important to keep within sensible guidelines. Excess weight is a strain to the circulation
- Keep active – exercise is very important to keep the circulation going. Take 1-2 walks a day or try a swim if you can manage it
- Ankle movements – flex and rotate your ankles periodically to boost leg circulation – you can do this even when the bump is very big and other exercise becomes difficult
- Feet up – while it’s important to be active, do also take advantage of opportunities to elevate your legs when sitting
- Posture – avoid crossing your legs when you’re sitting down
- Loose clothing – avoid tight fitting clothes such including socks, belts and underwear
- Maternity tights/compression legwear – while tight fitting clothing is to be avoided, maternity support tights can offer gentle compression to the leg muscle. Compression socks can also be helpful to circulation by pushing blood back toward the heart
- Flat shoes – switch out of high heels as these can put extra pressure on the circulation
- Take it easy – avoid heavy lifting
- Side sleeping – sleeping on the left hand side is said to be beneficial
If you have concerns about varicose veins during pregnancy, ask your midwife for advice. If in doubt she/he will refer you to a doctor. See also NHS advice at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/common-pregnancy-problems/.
Varicose Vein Treatments
Unfortunately, once they have appeared, varicose veins don’t tend to go away of their own accord. So if the varicose veins don’t improve a few months after the baby is born, then you can consider getting them treated.
Varicose Vein Removal Treatments
A choice of varicose vein treatment routes using the latest laser and surgical techniques, all carried out by our experienced Vascular Surgeon on a ‘walk in walk out’ basis with no overnight stay and no general anaesthetic:
- EVLA (endovenous laser ablation) treatment offers a 95% success rate. Cosmedics Skin Clinics offer EVLA treatment at their London vein treatment centre with a renowned vascular surgeon. Prices start at £1,650 per leg (1 vein)
- ClariVein® is a treatment which combines a mechanical with a chemical action to seal
- Foam sclerotherapy an injectable treatment for smaller varicose veins or larger thread veins
- Tumescent Foam Sclerotherapy combines EVLA with Foam Sclerotherapy – exclusive to The London Vein Centre
- Micro surgery for physical, surgical removal of the affected vein where necessary
London Vein Treatment Centre
Established in 2003, Cosmedics Skin Clinics offer treatment for thread veins using the latest techniques with GMC-registered doctors and surgeons. They also offer advanced laser varicose vein treatment at the London Vein Treatment Centre at a choice of two highly equipped London Vein Treatment Centres.
- 4 Disraeli Road, Putney, London, SW15 2DS
- 41 Harley Street, London, W1G 8QH
The most popular option is EVLA (endovenous laser ablation) laser varicose vein removal with a vascular surgeon with prices starting at £1,650 per leg (1 vein).
For more information, please complete the form to the right hand side or call 020 7386 0464.