As a woman progresses through her pregnancy, her uterus enlarges and begins to compress the veins in the pelvis. This can lead to varicose veins, which cause cosmetic issues and other problems.
“Varicose veins can cause people to have swelling in their legs,” says Colleen Moore, MD, FACS, RPVI, vascular surgeon, Saint Francis Medical Partner and medical director of the Saint Francis Vein and Laser Center. “Their legs may feel tired and heavy, and the veins themselves can become very painful.”
The best way for a pregnant woman to prevent varicose veins is to minimize her weight gain and wear compression stockings. “You really only need knee-high stockings,” says Moore. “But most women prefer the pregnancy hose, which come all the way up to your chest. They support your belly while you are pregnant. The more you can wear those, the less swelling you will have throughout your pregnancy. The veins do not become as stretched, and they tend to return to normal much better and faster.”
If you suffer from varicose veins while pregnant, you will need to wait until after you have your baby to treat them. At the Saint Francis Vein and Laser Center, there are multiple options to treat and eliminate varicose veins.
For the smaller veins, Moore uses a medication called polidocanol to cause the veins to close and disappear. Larger veins require more extensive treatment, such as laser ablation. The procedure, which takes about 20 minutes and is performed at the Center, closes varicose veins so blood bypasses them and circulates to healthy veins instead.
“Varicose veins are like weeds,” says Moore. “If your garden is full of weeds, you take the time to remove them. But if you do not do something to prevent them from coming back, they will always return. Varicose veins are the same way. You need to keep them at bay by wearing compression garments, staying active and elevating your legs.”
To make an appointment with Moore, call 573-331-3996 or visit the Vein and Laser Center to learn more.