Varicose veins and pregnancy
27 apr 2015
The period of pregnancy and the birth of a child is one of the most beautiful and memorable moments in the life of every woman. It is during pregnancy that very often the first signs of varicose veins appear, and after childbirth they begin to progress rapidly. Why is that? Hormonal changes in this period of life have a positive effect on the woman’s body, but pregnancy does not always "proceed" smoothly. The same hormones that improve metabolic processes in the body can complicate the work of other organs and systems. The connective tissue undergoes the greatest changes. This can cause various problems: lower back pain, the appearance of "stretch marks" on the skin of the chest, thighs or abdomen, flat feet.
According to world statistics, approximately 50% of women during the first pregnancy appear with a vein expansion - varicose veins. With repeated pregnancies, this percentage increases.
The main causes of varicose veins during pregnancy are:
- "Powerful" hormonal changes in the body of a woman (an increase in the amount of the hormone progesterone), which can contribute to the weakening of the venous wall and venous valve insufficiency;
- as the baby grows, the size of the uterus increases, which exerts pressure (compresses) on the inferior vena cava (the main vein in the abdominal cavity), as a result of which the outflow of blood from the lower extremities slows down and venous congestion occurs (a very common cause of leg swelling in pregnant women)
- due to an increase in the uterus, the volume of circulating venous blood increases (up to the ninth month of pregnancy almost twice), which leads to an increase in venous pressure (primarily in the inferior vena cava, pelvic veins and veins of the lower extremities)
What is the danger of varicose veins in pregnant women?
Nature made sure that during the birth the mother did not lose too much blood. For this, during pregnancy, under the influence of hormones, the blood becomes thicker. Blood clotting and venous congestion with varicose veins significantly increase the risk of small blood clots called thrombi in the veins of the legs.
The most formidable complication of varicose veins during pregnancy is thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the venous walls with the formation of blood clots in the lumen of the vein). This complication is dangerous for both the expectant mother and the baby, and very often, with the development of thrombophlebitis in pregnant women, urgent (emergency) surgical intervention is necessary (crossectomy - ligation of the mouth of the great saphenous vein).
Treatment of varicose veins in pregnant women is a very complex and highly specialized area in vascular surgery, and this should not be limited to consultations with obstetrician-gynecologists or general surgeons. In order to avoid all the adverse manifestations of varicose veins during pregnancy, with the slightest suspicion of varicose veins, it is worthwhile to consult a vascular surgeon and / or phlebologist, undergo an ultrasound scan of the veins of the lower extremities (a harmless research method), choose a preventive compression knitwear and determine the characteristics of labor management.