Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Varicose veins during pregnancy—how to prevent them, how to treat them

In honor of Mothers Day, we’re discussing the topic of varicose veins during pregnancy, but with a focus on the positive: prevention and treatment. (We explore the effect of pregnancy on veins in greater depth in a previous blog post. Click here to read more.)

During pregnancy, the two most important preventative things to consider with vein care are periodically elevating the legs and compression. 
Maternity compression stockings come in a variety of styles and strengths, from knee-highs and thigh-highs, to full-length stockings. Many panty hose styles have more room in the belly and are specially designed to expand during pregnancy without restricting the abdomen. Maternity graduated compression stockings are specially designed to fit more snugly at the ankles and calves and less so toward the top. The gradual change in compression helps the weak valves in the veins to circulate the blood more effectively. Many women who wear maternity graduated compression report that it makes their legs feel great!

Though pregnancy compression stockings (and body garments) are available with a doctor’s prescription, many maternity stores also offer them. Accurate sizing is critical, so it is best to check with a doctor prior to purchasing any type of compression while pregnant.

In most cases, women can be safely treated for varicose veins 6-8 weeks after delivery. Hormonal levels are usually back to normal within that time (if the patient is not breastfeeding), and water retention and any clotting risks have usually returned to baseline.
Depending on the type of treatment, breastfeeding may be an issue for some patients. Treatments that require a local anesthetic, such as endovenous laser ablation (ELVA) or microphlebectomy, have been proven safe. Sclerotherapy is not recommended if the patient is breastfeeding, as certain medications used during this procedure have not been proven safe and may be excreted in breast milk. However, if the patient is willing to forgo breastfeeding for 24 hours, sclerotherapy is possible.

Another important preventive measure is knowledge. If someone in your family has had a history of vein issues, chances are you might too. Some vein specialists recommend that women seek evaluation, and possibly treatment, for problematic veins before their first pregnancy, especially if there is a strong family history of vein issues. Evaluation and education can be very important for preventing or controlling issues before you need treatment.

No comments :

Post a Comment