During pregnancy, a number of important changes occur in our body that can cause strain on the veins:
- The body produces more blood to help support the developing fetus. Blood volume in the body can increase by anywhere from 20% and 100%, although it is usually around 45%. This increase in blood volume increases pressure on the veins.
- As the uterus expands with the growing baby, it increases pressure on veins in the pelvic area. The increased pressure on the veins can cause added strain on the veins.
- Pregnancy also results in weight gain. A pregnant person on average gains 10 kg to 12 kg of weight during pregnancy. This is not only because of the growing baby, but also extra fat that the body stores in order to prepare for breast milk production after pregnancy. This also increases the pressure on the veins.
All these changes strain the veins in your body, especially the veins in your legs. The veins in your legs already have a very difficult job of pumping blood against gravity all the way up to the heart. Increase in blood volume, pressure from the uterus, and added weight make their job even harder. This can cause spider and varicose veins to appear in pregnant people. However, this is not something to worry about. Spider and varicose veins in pregnant people are generally harmless, and resolve themselves after pregnancy.
Do spider and varicose veins go away after pregnancy?
In most cases, spider and varicose veins caused by pregnancy resolve themselves within three months of giving birth. In some cases, this may not happen. This could be because the varicose veins were caused by other factors alongside pregnancy, such as a genetic predisposition, obesity, standing up or sitting down for long periods of time, or other environmental and lifestyle factors. If varicose veins that appeared during pregnancy don’t fade away on their own within three months of pregnancy, it is a good idea to consult a vein specialist.
How can I prevent spider and varicose veins from developing on my legs during pregnancy?
It is possible to prevent or minimize spider and varicose veins that may appear during pregnancy. You should do the following in order to do so:
- Exercise regularly; Mild to moderate exercise can improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of developing varicose veins. While strenuous exercise is a bad idea during pregnancy, you can do some light exercise such as walking half an hour or so daily, swimming and water workouts, and low impact aerobics.
- Keep your legs elevated whenever possible; find cushions or tall stools to prop your legs when sitting. This helps keep the blood circulation on your legs going and prevents blood from pooling in the veins on your legs.
- Don’t sit or stand for very long periods of time. If you need to be standing, take breaks or if you need to be sitting, stand up and move around occasionally.
- Try to remain in the recommended weight bracket for your level of pregnancy. You can do so by watching your diet and exercising.
These activities however does not guarantee that you will not develop spider and varicose veins. They only ensure that their appearance becomes less likely, or less severe than would have otherwise been without any intervention.
When should I worry about spider and varicose veins during pregnancy?
Generally, spider and varicose veins during pregnancy are considered harmless. Vein diseases caused by pregnancy usually resolve themselves after the pregnancy ends. If the spider and varicose veins don’t fade away after 3 to six months of pregnancy ending, it is advised that you consult a vein specialist.
However, you must keep an eye on any signs of complications with the veins during pregnancy. If your varicose veins are extremely painful, appear swollen, warm, and tender to touch, if they bleed, or if your skin or veins change color, you must see a doctor even during pregnancy.
The Vein Clinic boasts a team of highly experienced vein doctors who are at the top of their fields and have all been trained at Ivy League universities. All our doctors are fellowship-trained and double board-certified. With cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology and world-class medical infrastructure at their disposal, these vein specialists use the most advanced procedures to treat their patients. To top it all, our doctors know to keep patients’ comfort ahead and treat them with friendliness, patience, and kindness.
In San Jose, our vein clinic is located in a beautiful neighborhood near Palo Alto, Sunnydale, and Santa Clara. It is down the block from the Santa Clara Medical Center, and the Santana Row Shopping Mall. Our experienced Harvard-trained vein doctors can offer the best care possible to help you.