How to Prevent Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
Pregnancy elevates a woman's risk of developing varicose veins as the hormonal changes and stresses on the veins can lead to vein valve weakness, abnormal pressures, and bulging leg veins. The normal flow of venous blood is up the leg against the pressure of gravity. Normally, one-way vein valves propel the blood upwards despite gravity's push.
The elevated estrogen and progesterone of pregnancy lead to gradual weakness in the vein walls as they enlarge to accommodate the increased blood volume we see in pregnancy. The stretch of the vein wall reduces the efficacy of the fine valves and blood tends to start pooling in the lower leg. This pooling leads the surface veins to become engorged with blood and causes aching, heaviness, fatigue and even blood clots.
During pregnancy, leg elevation and the use of medical grade support hose can ease the symptoms of varicose veins. We cannot intervene on the veins during pregnancy, but we can help manage the symptoms with you.
It's important to know that the veins need thorough evaluation, even during pregnancy, so we can help formulate a treatment plan post partum. After delivery, the veins tend to regress a bit, but the internal underlying valve problems often do not resolve. We use ultrasound to document the function of these vein segments to determine the best course of action to prevent a worsening condition, especially during future pregnancies.
Treatment of the venous reflux is easily done in the office under local anesthesia. Commonly, we offer VNUS Closure, Clarivein or VeanSeal to treat the incompetent saphenous vein. These procedures allow immediate recovery and return to normal activity with very impressive results.
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Dr. McNeill and Dr. Rosenberg helped introduce VNUS Closure to the mid-Atlantic region in 2000 and have served as primary investigators for FDA Phase 3 trials for Varithena. Both vascular surgeons speak nationally and internationally on venous disease.