Varicose Vein Misconceptions During Pregnancy
Every week or so, we see a pregnant woman who has worsening varicose vein pain toward the end of the first trimester. Often these women tell us that before becoming pregnant, some varicose veins were present, but to a lesser extent. Some were advised to wait until all childbearing was completed before seeking treatment of the varicose veins.
Unfortunately, this “misinformation” is passed among family members, friends, and even well meaning physicians who are not aware of the current trends in the treatment of venous disease.
The most common factor influencing the development of varicose veins is a family history of venous disease. Additionally, repeated pregnancies lead to hormonal changes that can amplify this genetic tendency. As the vein becomes weak and unable to resist the downward pressure of gravity, flow in the leg veins reverses, leading to the varicosities.
Most vein experts agree that intervening between pregnancies is the optimal way to approach varicose veins. Leaving them unaddressed risks ongoing leg aching and heaviness, increased blood clot risk, and more painful future pregnancies as the hormonal changes again increase the symptoms.
Evaluation of the varicose veins is best done with ultrasound. Insurance carriers consider most treatments medically necessary for varicose veins, and therefore insurance coverage is common.