Why is pregnancy a difficult time for veins?
Pregnant women may observe the onset or worsening of vein-related problems.
The main cause is the significant increase in sex hormones (estrogen and especially progesterone). The hormonal upheaval that occurs during pregnancy has repercussions on the strength and elasticity of veins which tend to dilate.
In addition to these hormonal changes, there are other factors that can also exacerbate venous insufficiency during pregnancy:
- increased pressure in the pelvic area
- increased blood volume
- age (the older the woman, the higher the risk)
- number of previous pregnancies (risk of venous insufficiency is doubled with a second pregnancy)
How can you protect your veins during pregnancy?
Your doctor can help you find solutions to improve symptoms of venous insufficiency such as heavy legs, pains, varicose veins, or edema during pregnancy. Do not hesitate to speak to your doctor about your symptoms.
Advice about good habits is the same as previously described:
- elevate legs to alleviate swelling
- try not to remain standing for long periods of time
- avoid sources of heat and sun on your legs
When should you consult a vascular specialist?
Your gynecologist is your main contact during and just after pregnancy. He/she can manage symptoms of venous disease and may prescribe compression stockings or phlebotropic medication. A vascular specialist is called upon in exceptional circumstances when looking for deep vein issues such as thrombosis or phlebitis.
After the birth, your gynecologist may refer you to a vascular specialist or angiologist for a more precise diagnosis of the quality of your venous network, using a test called a Doppler ultrasound. The specialist will be able to offer suitable solutions and prevent any further issues during future pregnancies.