Varicose Veins
Darrell Caudill, MD, FACS Darrell Caudill, MD, FACS

The Effect of Pregnancy on Veins

Pregnancy is one of the most common times women develop vein problems. During pregnancy the mother has an increased blood volume. In addition to increased blood volume, the growing baby puts pressure on the largest vein of the body located in the abdomen (the vena cava) which is transmitted to other veins down the legs. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy also affect veins. Pregnancy as a whole is a ìset-upî for vein valve stress and damage. While it is true that by about three months after delivery, vein problems generally improve, damage done to the vein valves does not repair itself and vein problems may become worse with subsequent pregnancies. Though treatment is not done during pregnancy, it is certainly desirable between pregnancies. It is important for all the reasons just listed to ask a health care provider about the advisability of wearing compression stockings during pregnancy to help prevent development of vein disease.

The development of swelling in one leg can be a sign of something even more troubling: a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. In this situation, it is absolutely essential to see your doctor immediately, so that a diagnosis can be made, and treatment, if indicated, can be instituted.

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