Varicose Veins and Pregnancy – Part II
Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on July 12, 2010
Last week I discussed varicose veins and pregnancy. This week I will answer the questions I raised at the beginning of the discussion, questions frequently asked by young women of child-bearing age, “How do I prevent varicose veins during pregnancy?” and “What shall I do about my varicose veins now that I am pregnant?”.
If a woman has varicose veins and is planning to become pregnant, she should have the varicose veins treated PRIOR to pregnancy. With the minimally invasive procedures available today from qualified and experienced vein doctors the problem should be handled preemptively. There is no place for what doctors told patients in the past, “Finish having all your children and then have your varicose veins fixed”. Why suffer with them through one or more pregnancies if it could be avoided? Minimally invasive ablation procedures carry minimal risks, can be done as in-office procedures, and offer quick return to normal activities. Future pregnancies become much more comfortable, and the risk for acute clotting of the varicosities (acute thrombophlebitis) is removed.
If a woman with varicose veins finds herself in a family way or develops varicose veins after becoming pregnant, so called conservative therapy should be followed. “Conservative therapy” means daily wearing of prescription grade graduated compression hose whenever out of bed and exercise and elevation whenever possible. The compression hose that one finds in department stores and even the T.E.D. hose that are given patients in hospital are almost worthless when compared to the benefits of prescription grade graduated compression hose that are fitted to the patient after measurements are taken. Brands such as Sigvaris, Jobst, Baurefiend, and others are examples of the graduated compression hose that come in different sizes and are selected after careful measurements have been made. The term “graduated” refers to the tapering effect of the pressure or tightness of the hose such that the greatest compression is at the ankle and lower leg and less as the hose goes higher. This creates a pressure differential in the leg that promotes the proper drainage of the blood and helps to overcome the problems in the veins and circulation that occur with pregnancy. (This was discussed last week.) The stockings should be applied before rising from bed in the mornings and only be removed when going to bed at night.
In summary, if a woman has varicose veins and desires to have children, she would be well advised to have the varicose veins eliminated with the modern minimally invasive treatments. If a woman with varicose veins finds herself pregnant, she should begin daily wearing the good quality compression hose as soon as the pregnancy test is positive. If varicose veins first develop with a pregnancy, conservative therapy, which is the conscientious daily use of compression hose, exercise, and elevation whenever possible, should be followed. Then the problem should be addressed between pregnancies to avoid future difficulties and complications