Why do varicose veins appear during pregnancy?

30% of women pregnant with their first baby develop varicose veins and spider veins. In this article we will explain why this phenomenon happens and what habits to adopt to reduce its appearance.

In general, we consider varicose veins to be a mere aesthetic problem, but the truth is that they can become a serious problem for the health of your skin and your legs, and on some occasions they can be very painful and even cause fatigue and a feeling of heaviness.

Varicose veins usually appear on the legs and feet, but during pregnancy they can also appear on the vulva and vagina with few or many symptoms.

Although a woman has not had varicose veins before, it is very likely that they will begin to appear during pregnancy. The possibility of developing a venous disease and chronic venous insufficiency increases up to 500%. The causes of the appearance of varicose veins are several. The first explanation is that due to the increase in size and weight of the future mother, her physical activity is hindered and, therefore, she becomes more accustomed during those months to a sedentary life and rest. It also happens that the great abdominal pressure generated by the increase in the size of the uterus hinders the flow of blood in the lower extremities, this factor becomes more important during the last trimester of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the amount of blood also increases, which further complicates venous circulation. In addition, the genetic predisposition of having weakened vein walls causes faster dilation, causing failure of the venous valves and causing varicose veins. Weakening of the vein walls can also be caused by estrogen and progesterone. During the nine months, the levels of these hormones increase considerably, progesterone acts as a vasodilator of the walls of the veins while estrogens produce an increase in blood flow to the lower extremities.

Keeping moving is the key

Although this type of varicose veins will probably disappear on their own after giving birth, there are always some habits that can help you prevent them. Keeping moving (whenever possible and in consultation with your doctor beforehand) is the key to preventing varicose veins. The walks should be your best friends, because there is no better natural stimulus for blood circulation than the movement of the feet. The walks push the blood upwards, which causes the circulatory system to be reactivated. It would be ideal if you could go barefoot through sand, grass or water, of course this will depend on whether you live near the beach and also on the time of year.

Aquatic gymnastics for pregnant women is also a good alternative. Hydrostatic pressure facilitates venous return. But in addition it also calms, relaxes and keeps the body in shape, it even helps a lot with lower back pain and to maintain weight. In addition, the practice of the exercise softens in the water because the weight of the belly is reduced. As always, before starting an exercise like this, you should consult your doctor if it is good for you and your pregnancy in particular.

Other important related information

  • Successive pregnancies increase the likelihood of varicose veins.
  • According to a study, 40.5% of women develop varicose veins and spider veins after pregnancy, but 38.2% do so at the arrival of menopause.
  • Varicose veins caused during pregnancy tend to disappear on their own over time or resolve after the end of pregnancy, often without the help of treatments, but using VVT can speed up the process as well as become a pleasant moment to enjoy and relax.