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Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 13:07

Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 40 percent of all pregnant women suffer from varicose veins.

There are three main causes for the development of varicose veins during pregnancy:

  • The principal cause is the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Increased levels of the hormone progesterone cause blood vessels to relax. This may allow the two halves of the valves in the vein to separate slightly, so that they don't meet to block the back-flow of blood.
  • The enlarged uterus (the organ that holds a developing fetus), pressing against the major veins in the pelvic region, tends to add to the overall problem. The result is an increase in the pressure in the leg veins that are subject to becoming varicose.
  • A family history of varicose veins tends to increase the likelihood of varicose veins developing during pregnancy.

Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy usually disappear after delivery. Unfortunately, varicose veins are likely to recur in each succeeding pregnancy, often sooner than during the previous pregnancy. Also, varicose veins may become increasingly prominent with each succeeding pregnancy.

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