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Varicose Enlargement During Pregnancy: What Are the Risks? 2023

During pregnancy, a significant increase in hormones and physiological changes occur in the mother. During this period, many women may experience varicose enlargement during pregnancy, which is one of the symptoms of pregnancy. VarisVeins are twisted and enlarged veins that usually appear in the legs, groin, and rectum. Factors such as hormonal changes during pregnancy, increased blood volume and the size of the uterus affect the formation of varicose veins and make existing ones more obvious.

The presence of this problem during pregnancy can significantly affect the health and well-being of a pregnant woman. Therefore, it is important to understand the cause of varicose veins during pregnancy and to take appropriate precautions. 

What are the causes of varicose enlargement during pregnancy?

Varicose veins during pregnancy is a condition that occurs on a woman's lower extremities during pregnancy and is often described as enlarged, bulging veins. This is related to the effect of pregnancy on the circulatory system caused by hormonal changes.

There can be several reasons why varicose veins enlarge during pregnancy. Some of these reasons are:

Hormonal changes

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy play an important role in the enlargement of varicose veins during pregnancy. The increased levels of progesterone produced during pregnancy can widen the walls of blood vessels. This enlargement directly causes the veins to expand and weaken, especially affecting varicose veins in the legs.

increased blood volume

During pregnancy, a woman's blood volume increases significantly to support the growing fetus. This increased blood volume puts extra pressure on blood vessels, especially in the lower extremities. Additional tension can cause varicose veins to expand.

childhood edition

As the uterus expands during pregnancy, it puts pressure on the veins in the pelvis and lower limbs. This pressure can inhibit efficient blood flow, causing blood to pool in the veins and cause varicose veins.

genetic disposition

A family history of varicose veins may increase the likelihood of developing varicose veins during pregnancy. Genetic factors affect the weakening of the vessel walls and the deterioration of valve functions, making the mother more susceptible to varicose veins.

increased pressure in the leg veins

Factors such as standing or sitting for long periods of time can affect the enlargement of varicose veins during pregnancy. These activities restrict blood flow and increase pressure on leg veins, causing vasodilation.

Gaining weight

Excessive weight gain or obesity during pregnancy can put extra pressure on the arteries. Excess weight can impede blood flow and promote the development of varicose veins.


Straining during bowel movements due to constipation can increase pressure in the abdominal cavity, which can affect blood flow in the lower extremities and cause varicose veins to develop.

Although pregnancy increases the risk of varicose veins, remember that this condition is usually temporary and disappears on its own after delivery. However, if varicose veins are causing serious discomfort or complications, the doctor can alleviate the problems with appropriate treatment and examination options.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins during pregnancy?

Varicose veins are enlarged, tortuous veins that usually form on the legs. It is also a medical condition that can develop during pregnancy. Varicose veins can affect anyone, but they develop more due to various physiological changes in the body of pregnant women. Understanding the symptoms of varicose veins during pregnancy is important to seek appropriate treatment and appropriate medical care.

Visible changes One of the most obvious signs of varicose veins is the appearance of enlarged and swollen veins. These veins are more curved and bulging and are blue or purple in color. During pregnancy, varicose veins often appear on the legs and can be felt on the skin. During pregnancy, the degree of varicose veins can range from mild to severe, and many veins can be affected.

Pain and discomfort. In addition to visible changes in the veins, pregnant women with varicose veins during pregnancy often experience pain and discomfort. It is often described as a feeling of pain, throbbing or heaviness in the affected areas. The discomfort may worsen after prolonged standing or sitting, as well as with increased physical activity.

Swelling. Another symptom associated with varicose veins is swelling. Impaired blood flow in the affected veins can cause fluid to build up in the feet and ankles. As a result, the affected areas swell or feel swollen. The severity of the swelling can vary and may increase as the pregnancy progresses.

Itching and skin changes. Itching and skin changes are also common in women with varicose veins during pregnancy. The affected skin may become irritated, leading to a constant urge to itch. In addition, during pregnancy, changes such as discoloration, darkening or redness of the skin surrounding the varicose are observed during the enlargement of the varicose veins. Some women with varicose veins may even develop a rash or experience dry, scaly skin in the affected areas.

Contractions. Muscle cramps are common in women with varicose veins. These cramps mostly occur in the leg muscles and can be quite painful. Since muscle cramps caused by varicose veins usually occur at night, they also negatively affect the mother's sleep quality. The exact cause of muscle cramps associated with varicose veins is not entirely clear, but impaired blood flow and increased pressure in the affected veins may contribute to their occurrence.

Difficulty in physical activity. Standing or sitting for a long time worsens the symptoms of varicose veins. When a pregnant woman stays in the same position for a long time, for example while working or walking, the pressure on the arteries increases. This high blood pressure exacerbates symptoms, causing more discomfort, pain, and swelling.

It is important for pregnant women to be aware of these symptoms and take appropriate precautions to manage varicose veins during pregnancy. 

Physiology and pathophysiology of varicose veins in pregnancy

Pregnancy can trigger the development of varicose veins through a combination of hormonal, circulatory and mechanical changes in a woman's body. It is imperative to understand the physiology and pathophysiology of varicose veins during pregnancy to prevent its development.

Hormonal changes. The increase in the level of hormones in the body during pregnancy plays a role in the formation of varicose veins. In particular, the hormone progesterone reduces the muscle tone in the venous walls and causes the veins to dilate. This enlargement can result in inadequate closure of the venous valves and backflow of blood.

Changes in blood circulation. During pregnancy, important changes occur in the circulatory system, such as an increase in blood volume and an increase in heart rate. Pregnancy hormones relax the muscle cells in the vessel walls, causing the vessels to dilate and increase blood flow. This can increase the risk of venous insufficiency by making it difficult for venous blood to move from the legs to the heart fast enough.

Venous insufficiency and venous stasis in pregnancy. Venous insufficiency is the inability of the veins to perform their normal functions. During pregnancy, the risk of venous insufficiency increases because increased blood volume and hormone levels can cause veins to dilate and not return enough venous blood. Venous stasis is the collection and stagnation of blood in the legs. This can cause symptoms such as swelling, pain, heaviness and the appearance of varicose veins in the legs.

The physiology and pathophysiology of varicose veins during pregnancy is a complex and interrelated process. A combination of hormonal changes, changes in blood circulation, and mechanical factors influence the development of venous insufficiency and venous stasis. In the later stages of pregnancy, the pressure of the growing uterus on the legs can also aggravate the symptoms of varicose veins.

How to prevent varicose veins from expanding during pregnancy?

As I mentioned, varicose veins are a common occurrence during pregnancy, and although they cannot be completely prevented, there are several steps you can take to reduce their enlargement and relieve their symptoms. 

Things to do to prevent the enlargement of varicose veins during pregnancy are as follows.

maintaining a healthy weight

The expectant mother should try to keep her weight at the weight recommended by the doctor during pregnancy. Excess weight can aggravate varicose veins by putting extra pressure on the mother's veins.

Regular exercise

Regular low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming or prenatal yoga should be practiced. Physical activity helps improve blood circulation and reduces the risk of varicose veins.

lift legs

Raising the legs partially without disturbing the pregnant woman will help reduce the pressure in the veins and accelerate the blood flow. This is possible by resting the feet on a pillow while resting or sleeping.

Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time

A pregnant woman should take regular breaks to walk and stretch her legs, even if in some cases it is necessary to sit or stand for long periods of time. This helps prevent blood pooling in the veins and reduces the risk of varicose veins.

custom socks

Varicose veins can be prevented by wearing special stockings that can help improve blood circulation and reduce swelling only on doctor's advice. These specially designed socks apply gentle pressure to the legs to support the veins and prevent them from expanding.

Focus on healthy eating

Eating a fiber-rich, balanced diet, which can help prevent constipation and reduce stress on the veins, will help reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. During this period, the mother should prefer foods rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.

Fluid intake

Adequate fluid intake throughout the day is crucial to support good blood circulation and prevent dehydration that can contribute to varicose veins.

Avoid wearing tight clothing

A pregnant woman should try to wear loose-fitting clothes during pregnancy and avoid clothes that are tight on the waist, groin or legs. Tight clothing can restrict blood flow and worsen varicose veins, which enlarge during pregnancy.

Being examined by a doctor

The most effective way to control varicose veins during pregnancy is individual advice and recommendations. Because, depending on the severity of your varicose veins, the doctor can recommend additional treatment or interventions with an accurate diagnosis or minimize the symptoms of varicose veins naturally.

Does the enlargement of varicose veins during pregnancy have an effect on the fetus?

The enlargement of varicose veins during pregnancy usually does not directly affect the fetus. Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins caused by increased pressure on the veins and hormonal changes. As I wrote above, it is more common in the legs and pelvis during pregnancy.

Although the enlargement of varicose veins during pregnancy does not pose a direct risk to the fetus, it can cause discomfort and symptoms in the pregnant woman such as pain, swelling and heaviness in the legs. In rare cases, severe varicose veins can cause complications such as blood clots or ulcers, which are very rare during pregnancy. But in any case, the doctor keeps the mother under control during pregnancy to avoid such complications.

Post-pregnancy condition of enlarged varicose veins during pregnancy

The condition and results of varicose veins after pregnancy vary from mother to mother. In some women, varicose veins narrow over time and symptoms subside. However, in some cases, varicose veins may be permanent and symptoms may persist. The condition of varicose veins after pregnancy depends on many factors such as genetic predisposition, age, weight, lifestyle and number of births.

Treatment of varicose veins after pregnancy includes the following processes:

Support stockings. Specially designed stockings are used to support blood flow in varicose veins. These stockings can increase blood circulation in the legs, reduce swelling and relieve symptoms of varicose veins during pregnancy.

Sport and physical activity. Exercising regularly can improve blood circulation and reduce later symptoms of varicose veins during pregnancy. This includes low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming. However, excessive strenuous exercises should be avoided and a doctor should be consulted before doing any exercise.

Lift the legs. Elevating the legs helps blood flow better from the legs to the heart. Raising your legs while sitting or resting for a long time is one of the best ways to improve blood circulation.

Weight control. Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight can help reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. Excess weight can put extra pressure on the veins in the legs.

Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a method often used in the treatment of varicose veins. In this process, a substance is injected into the affected vein and the problem is eliminated.

Laser or radiofrequency ablation. These treatments are used to close varicose veins. Laser or radiofrequency energy increases the heat inside the affected veins, causing the vein to close.

Surgical intervention. In some cases, it is possible to surgically remove severe varicose veins that were enlarged during pregnancy after pregnancy. It is a preferred option mainly for larger and more troublesome varicose veins.

Treatment options for varicose veins during and after pregnancy vary depending on the individual situation and the severity of symptoms. 

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“Varicose Enlargement During Pregnancy: What are the Risks? One comment on “2023”
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