Varicose veins during pregnancy

Pregnant woman

In many ways, pregnancy can be a time of phenomenal changes in the female body. When a woman soon prepares for the baby, she may experience unexpected side effects. This can include the growth of thicker hair, shine and hardened nails, glowing skin, and an increase in breast size and fullness.

Unfortunately, not all pregnancy changes are desirable and enjoyable. There will be significant weight gain, mood swings and frequent urination. This is due to the fact that pregnancy is accompanied by profound changes in the female body due to a reorganization of the hormonal background. The veins also undergo significant changes - their tone decreases, the permeability of the walls increases and blood flow slows down. Varicose veins are one of the diseases that can first appear during pregnancy or can actively develop.


The lower extremity varicose veins are permanent and irreversible varicose veins resulting from rough changes in their village and the inadequacy of their valve device due to a genetic defect. The primary factors in the development of varicose veins are hereditary weakness of the vessel wall. Secondary factors leading to varicose veins are prolonged stress on the lower extremities.

Statistics show that 40-65% of expectant mothers develop varicose veins at least once in their lives. Most obese women suffer from varicose veins during pregnancy.

Although varicose veins are most common in the legs, they can occur elsewhere. Especially in late pregnancy, tortuous veins can occur in the buttocks, vagina, or vulva. This happens when the lower abdomen and uterus put increased pressure on these areas of the veins.


As the term increases during pregnancy, a number of changes occur that create prerequisites for the development of varicose veins.

  1. First, the uterus, as it grows, puts pressure on the lower vena cava - the largest vein in the human body. Excessive pressure slows blood flow, increasing stress on the veins in the legs where more blood stagnates. This leads to varicose veins on the legs during pregnancy.
  2. Second, during pregnancy, the female body produces more blood to support the developing baby, the smooth delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the placenta and fetus. Because of the increased load, the veins have to work harder to pump carbonated blood back into the heart from the limbs and pelvis. This can lead to insufficiency of the valves in the veins and the accumulation of blood in the legs, ankles, feet and other areas.
  3. Third, the increase in female sex hormones during pregnancy reduces the tone of smooth muscles in the walls of blood vessels (especially veins). It can also contribute to varicose veins in pregnant women.


Varicose veins are considered a hereditary disease. If the mother or grandmother suffered from varicose veins during pregnancy, the woman’s risk of developing this disease increases dramatically.

The incidence of varicose veins increases with age, weight gain, and subsequent pregnancy. If a woman carries twins or triplets, the risk of varicose veins in pregnant women is doubled.

Lifestyle and work habits (standing still or sitting for long hours) can also provoke varicose veins.

Symptoms of varicose veins in pregnant women

Some women have a slightly swollen, twisted, multicolored vein in their leg - it's just a cosmetic problem. In others, varicose veins during pregnancy cause unpleasant symptoms - swelling, pain, or severe discomfort in the legs. For every woman who has a varicose vein, this is one of the most important signs of a varicose vein. Without treatment, venous damage can lead to serious complications, including blood clots, phlebitis, and trophic ulcers. In addition, there is an increased risk of fatal complications - PE (pulmonary embolism).

Varicose veins during pregnancy

You should monitor for signs of varicose veins during pregnancy:

  • edema of the legs and ankles, in the area of ​​the legs;
  • cramps or pain in the thigh or lower leg;
  • fatigue, difficulty in the legs;
  • restlessness, especially at night, desire to constantly move legs;
  • itchy, dry or pale skin on the legs, burning sensation;
  • tortuous, protruding "stars", larger confused veins;
  • sores on the legs or ankles that heal for a long time or do not heal at all;
  • Foot pain that goes away when a woman walks or lifts her leg.


Unfortunately, varicose veins often get worse as pregnancy progresses. As the saphenous veins dilate, wrinkle, swell, and become more visible, the woman increasingly recognizes increased pain and other symptoms (swelling, skin lesions, difficulty).


If a woman has any symptoms of varicose veins, be sure to see a phlebologist. After performing a detailed physical examination, carefully assessing the condition of the legs, ankles, feet, and thighs, the doctor confirms the presence of varicose veins and rules out any complications (using ultrasound and vascular Doppler measurements). As for the varicose veins, the obstetrician-gynecologist notices it during a routine examination.

TREATMENT OF VARIOSIS in pregnant women

Most often, surgery and minimally invasive procedures are prescribed to treat varicose veins during pregnancy. This carries a high risk of complications and relapses. In addition, prescriptions for drugs are very limited - phlebotonics, anti-inflammatory drugs, platelet inhibitors.

There are several guidelines to help treat varicose veins safely and relatively effectively in expectant mothers.

  • Dosed physical activity. Swimming, walking, or other exercises for varicose veins in pregnant women that affect the muscles of the legs help increase blood flow to the veins in the limbs. The phlebologist, together with the obstetrician-gynecologist, selects an individual series of exercises for the specific period and severity of the pregnant woman.
  • Properly fitted shoes. High-heeled shoes and a completely flat sole interfere with the movement of the leg muscles, impairing the circulation of venous blood. You need to choose stable, comfortable shoes with small heels (3-4 cm).
  • Compression jersey. Compression clothing should be worn to support the veins during pregnancy. The phlebologist individually selects the degree of compression and the type of product - knee-length, stockings or tights. You have to put them up in the morning without getting out of bed and take them off in the evening when a woman goes to bed.


There are several tips for preventing varicose veins in pregnant women that can be followed to make the disease easier and reduce discomfort:

  • Do not cross your legs. Sitting with one foot on top of the other blocks the flow of blood through the veins and can cause an increase in pressure.
  • Change position. If you have to sit or stand at work all day, change your posture as often as possible. This prevents blood from accumulating in the legs.
  • Sleep on the left. As your belly gets bigger, lying on your back becomes harder. In case of varicose veins, try to sleep on the left side, not the right side. This prevents pressure from the uterus on the veins in the abdominal cavity and promotes blood flow from the lower extremities at night.
  • Raise your leg. Raise your legs more often during the day. Ideally, they should be above the level of the heart so that the force of gravity promotes more active blood flow. Lying in bed, you can rest your feet on a pillow to help blood flow while you sleep.
  • Monitor your salt intake. If you take in a lot of salt, more fluid will flow into the blood vessels, which can increase the pressure in your veins. Excess fluid penetrates the tissues and leads to edema. Drink plenty of water to keep your body in proper fluid balance.
  • Keep track of your weight. The female body changes during pregnancy, the expectant mother becomes obese. The higher the body weight, the greater the pressure on the veins of the lower limb. The doctor evaluates the gain and clarifies the weight standards.


The most important concern for expectant mothers is whether the varicose veins go away after pregnancy? Varicose veins usually go away 3 months after the baby is born. If the changes do not disappear after 3 months, you should contact a phlebologist.

Manifestations of varicose veins that first appeared when carrying a baby usually have little or no treatment. The more severe the changes, the more likely they are to persist after delivery and require treatment. Varicose veins in the vagina or vulva almost always disappear naturally after childbirth.


Varicose veins can lead to serious complications. The risk of developing dangerous conditions increases: blood clots and venous ulcers.

There are two main types of blood clots. Superficial venous thrombi are formed in the saphenous veins. They usually do not migrate to the lungs. Dangerous deep vein thrombosis. The blood clots that form in them can break off and get into the lungs. It is important to see a doctor immediately if:

  • varicose veins will be as hard as a rope;
  • the surrounding tissue is hot, painful, or swollen;
  • there are noticeable changes in the color of the vein;
  • ulcers appear on the skin;
  • Painful, severe swelling in one leg.

In these cases, the phlebologist will determine treatment tactics, including minimally invasive surgical techniques, to eliminate the risk of inflammation, life-threatening complications.