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Pregnancy: are varicose veins part of the deal?

Around 40% of women will experience varicose veins during their pregnancy. We’ll explain why, and what you can do about varicose veins before, during, and after your pregnancy. Here are five key points:

01. Yes, you are more likely to get varicose veins while pregnant

Changes in hormone levels are one of the most important reasons women are more likely to suffer from varicose veins during pregnancy. There is an increase in progesterone, which causes the veins to relax and potentially swell more easily. In addition, as your baby grows, there is increased blood volume and higher pressure on the veins in the legs.

02. Regardless of the cause, varicose veins need to be assessed by a specialist

Whether or not you plan to get pregnant, it is important to have varicose veins assessed because they represent more than a cosmetic problem especially if associated with swelling, pigment or ulceration. Varicose veins are a symptom of an underlying medical condition which progresses without treatment. In moderate to severe cases they can be associated with blood clots (DVT and PE), especially after long distance flights.

03. Preventing varicose vein symptoms during your pregnancy

Keeping active and maintaining a healthy weight are important. Just as with non-pregnant women, avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time is a good preventive measure. Putting your feet up is a good way to release some of the pressure on those veins, so do take regular rest breaks. You may also wish to consider compression stockings prescribed by your doctor, which can help maintain good blood circulation in your legs. Many women report significantly less discomfort from varicose veins when they use compression stockings.

04. Take action against varicose veins after your pregnancy

After your pregnancy, if the varicose veins haven’t disappeared within 3 or 4 months, you may wish to have them treated. There are several modern, minimally invasive treatments available, including ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, endovenous treatments and VenaSealTM, a type of medical superglue. The right option for you will depend on the extent and location of your varicose veins, so you and your doctor can discuss the options and choose the most appropriate treatment for your particular condition. All treatments are performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you’ll be in and out of the clinic on the same day and back to your usual activities.

5. Reduce your varicose veins between pregnancies

You do not have to wait until you have finished having children to treat your varicose veins – this is outdated advice. Any minimally invasive treatments you receive now may be helpful in preventing or reducing varicose veins during future pregnancies.

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The Vein Institute,

227 Elizabeth street, ground floor, Corner of Elizabeth and Bathurst street, Sydney, NSW, 2000


Varicose veins are leg veins which do not pump blood effectively back to the heart and can be often seen as bulging veins just underneath your skin on either leg. These varicose veins have valves in them which are not working effectively so that blood which is meant to be pushed towards the heart, leaks downwards toward the legs. There are other leg veins which are still working, so blood does eventually arrive through other routes to your heart. However, varicose veins do exert added pressure on your circulatory system. Read More.

Endovenous Laser Ablation is a Varicose Veins Laser Treatment performed in our clinic under local anaesthetic. This new procedure is an excellent treatment option for most patients with varicose veins and is considered slightly more effective than surgery but without the need for hospitalization. Read More.

This is an endovenous treatment (meaning treating the vein on the inside). It is generally accepted to be associated with less pain and bruising than endovenous laser ablation. It is a “gold standard” form of treatment for large varicose leg veins treatment as the procedure requires no hospitalization or time of work yet is at least as effective as surgery. Read More.

Venaseal™ or ‘superglue’ treatment by Sapheon is the latest surgery free procedure that uses a medical adhesive to safely and effectively treat varicose veins. Unlike other treatments, Venaseal™ does not require tumescent local anaesthetic around the vein, so there is usually only one local anaesthetic injection. The Venaseal™ non surgical treatment procedure also eliminates the use of heat (or thermal energy) so there is virtually no risk of nerve or skin injury or any major reaction to the anaesthetic. Read More.

Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy allows our doctors to visually guide and monitor a needle to the exact source of the incompetent vein (valve) to be injected. By using ultrasound we can treat more quickly and safely larger and deeper veins that once required more invasive surgical treatment. Foam sclerotherapy is the new form of delivering the sclerosing agent that allows us to treat larger varicose veins that might be unsuccessfully treated with conventional sclerotherapy. The foam solution has the consistency of ‘shaving cream’, which improves treatment in two distinct ways. Read More.

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