As you prepare for your little bundle of joy to arrive, you’re busy dealing with nursery colors, baby names, birth plans, and much more. The last thing you want to worry about are the unsightly and sometimes painful, varicose veins that you recently noticed on your legs.

Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels that are found in the lower part of the body, usually the legs and thighs. They are typically caused by high blood pressure, as the veins have a hard time circulating the blood through the body.

What causes varicose veins during pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, your body is producing extra volumes of blood to support you and your baby. This can put additional pressure on your blood vessels; especially those in the legs, making your veins work harder to circulate the blood throughout the body.

Furthermore, your body is going through numerous changes to be able to house your baby. A big change is the increase in progesterone, a hormone that relaxes your blood vessels in addition to softening cartilage and keeping your little one safe. These relaxing blood vessels don’t help much as your body is trying to circulate more blood.

How to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy

There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins from happening. Women who did not have varicose veins before their pregnancy may see their veins go back to normal. However, if you have another baby, there is a chance of their return.

Varicose veins are also hereditary. If they run in your family, you are more likely to develop them during pregnancy.

What to do about varicose veins during pregnancy

Here are some tips to help you deal with varicose veins during your pregnancy:

  • Exercise. Get your legs moving by taking a walk or performing other low-aerobic activity. This will help keep the blood circulating.
  • Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings can help to relieve pain in the legs, in addition to giving your veins more support.
  • Maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. While weight gain during pregnancy is normal, excessive weight gain can put extra strain and stress on your blood vessels, increasing the chances of developing varicose veins.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time. It is recommended that you walk or stretch every hour to avoid putting excess pressure on the blood vessels.

If your varicose veins do not go away after your pregnancy, then you should speak to a varicose vein specialist. Varicose veins can be a sign of a more serious vein complication and should be thoroughly examined by a qualified doctor, who will be able to tell you if treatment options, such as Enodovenous Laser Therapy or Sclerotherapy, are available

AuthorNicholas Kemp

The most common type of sclerosants used in Australia today for the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins involving the legs are the detergent sclerosants. These are small lipid soluble molecules which can theoretically pass into breast milk in minute amounts. There is no evidence that they will do any harm to the baby but then again there is no conclusive evidence regarding their safety. 

However detergent sclerosants are very quickly metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidney, so it is safe to resume breast feeding very soon after treatment.  At The Leg Vein Doctor we recommend to breast feeding mothers that they use a breast pump and store expressed breast milk prior to treatment which can then be used for the first feed after treatment. Normal breast feeding can resume twelve-twenty four hours after treatment.

Hypertonic saline is a less commonly used sclerosing agent, but it is safe to use during breast feeding.   

AuthorNicholas Kemp

Long periods of standing in the one position in certain occupations such has hairdressing, nursing or machinery work can often lead to discomfort in the legs and feet. Symptoms such as a vague aching sensation, itchy, restless legs or burning and sweating feet can be due to poor clearance of venous blood out of the legs. 

People affected with venous disease that causes venous incompetence are particularly prone to these symptoms if they are standing for prolonged periods and not walking around. Walking helps clear the blood out of the lower limbs because contraction of the calf muscles compresses the deep veins and this is the mechanism by which venous blood gets pumped up and out of the legs. It’s known as the “Calf muscle pump”.

If you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms such as just described and your work involves extended periods of standing on your feet without the opportunity of moving about too much, you might be suffering from venous incompetence and poor clearance of venous blood out of your legs due to venous disease. This can often occur without the presence of visible varicose veins.

A duplex venous ultrasound of the saphenous veins and deep veins in your legs is the appropriate investigation for this problem. For many people immediate treatment may not be an option due to pregnancy, work and family commitments or because they do not have direct access to funds for procedures.

Compression therapy in the form of socks or stockings maybe beneficial in relieving some of the symptoms mentioned above through boosting a persons circulation when worn throughout the day. The Leg Vein Doctor now carries a wide range of compression therapy in various grades and forms to fit all sizes. Banish the thought of those white TED surgical / hospital stockings from your mind. The non surgical compression therapy we have is breathable for the Queensland heat and comes in a choice of colours. It is not just for women either, we have men's 'dress' socks suitable to be worn with a suit and a core spun range which can be comfortably worn with work or safety boots. Both the options for men and women are unidentifiable to others so know one need know about your issue.   

Please call the clinic to book an initial consultation should you require more information and advise regarding if these medical accessories could be as suitable option for you pre-treatment.