Pregnancy is a happy time. It’s also a time riddled with changes. From mental gymnastics to physical alteration, for every first kick there’s heartburn and haemorrhoids, and for each passing month there’s flatulance and frustration. It’s normal.
You’re expected to suffer through some extreme medical conditions as your body adjusts to growing a life inside of you. And some of those conditions will be post-natal. That’s normal too.
Varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are a common ailment during and after pregnancy. Consequences range from irritating leg aching and swelling, through to the sometimes painful and unpleasant complications of thrombophelebitis and vulval varicosities- and those can have extreme and upsetting consequences for mother and child.
It’s unclear whether pregnancy causes varicose veins, or exasperates an existing condition. But what we do know is that varicose vein problems almost always occur in the last three months of pregnancy. The pressure effect on the enlarged uterus tends to press on the veins in the pelvis and restrict blood flow from the legs, causing the veins.
Usually, after delivery, varicose veins subside substantially- but seldom do they disappear altogether. Women who suffer varicose veins during one pregnancy can be expected to experience them in subsequent pregnancies too, unless they get veins treated in between.
But whilst post-pregnancy solutions for varicose veins can include light surgery, during pregnancy it is better for the welfare of your baby to seek problem management non-surgically.
Essentially, you need compression stockings. They need to be decent quality and measured to fit properly. Often, to help the stockings to hold up on the leg, tights are a good solution- Sigvaris and Venosan make good quality wares for pregnant women.
Painful phlebitis- inflammation- can be managed with anti-inflammatory creams with low-dose ibuprofen or voltarol, so as to minimise risk to your baby. The creams release the drugs into your system slowly, making them the safest way to self-administer pain relief.
After pregnancy, veins can be treated by surgery. Surgical treatment has progressed substantially in the last 10 years with the development of several minimally invasive techniques, and most of these can be done under local anaesthetic- similar to going to the dentist.
In the interim, relax into your changes, and know that everything happening to your body is temporary.
ALWAYS seek the advice of your doctor for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.