If you’re expecting a baby, you may have noticed that tiny red or blue spider-like veins have appeared out of nowhere on your legs, ankles or feet. You’re certainly not alone – many women develop spider veins (also known as thread veins) during pregnancy. The good news is that they may resolve themselves after you have given birth, but if they don’t, they can be treated using effective non-surgical techniques.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are networks of small, damaged veins. The valves within these veins are faulty and fail to close properly, causing blood to pool in the vein and weaken the vein wall. Spider veins are usually painless but may sometimes cause itching or a burning sensation.
What causes spider veins in pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the blood volume in the body increases, making it harder for the venous system to pump blood back up to the heart. Progesterone levels also increase, which relaxes vein walls.
Together, these alterations in the body’s functioning weaken or damage the one-way valves within the larger veins. Blood, which usually travels up through these valves toward the heart, flows backwards and pools.
Is there anything I can do to prevent spider veins during pregnancy?
There are a few things that you can do to help maintain healthy veins during your pregnancy:
- Take Vitamin C – a source of collagen and elastin, which are important for maintaining and repairing veins.
- Avoid sitting (especially with legs crossed) or standing for long periods – try to get your legs moving for a few minutes every 30 minutes.
- Take regular light exercise, such as walking or gentle running, to aid circulation.
- Wear compression stockings – they promote circulation by squeezing the leg veins to help pump blood back up to your heart.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing to reduce the pressure on your waist, groin and legs.
- Elevate your legs with a pillow when lying down to make it easier for your veins to pump blood up to your heart.
- Eat low-salt foods – they can cause swelling.
- Eat a high-fibre diet to prevent constipation, which can increase your chances of developing spider veins and varicose veins.
- Drink plenty of water – dehydration causes tissues to swell and the muscles to cramp.
- Maintain a healthy weight to minimise the stress on your lower body.
Some techniques will provide more relief than others; it’s different for everyone.
Do spider veins disappear after giving birth?
Many women find that spider veins disappear within 3-4 months post-pregnancy, but that’s not always the case. If they do persist, you may wish to consult a venous specialist to discuss treatment, especially as people with spider veins often have hidden varicose veins.
Click on the article link below to find out more about varicose veins in pregnancy:
What are my treatment options post-pregnancy?
There are several non-surgical walk-in-walk-out procedures available for spider veins, but microsclerotherapy is the current gold standard treatment. Some spider veins occur because of weakened valves in the larger veins and these will require treatment first if microsclerotherapy is going to be successful.
Click on the article link below to find out more about spider vein treatment options:
Where should I get treatment?
While many private hospitals and beauty clinics offer spider vein treatments, not all use consultants that are specially trained in the diagnosis, treatment and management of spider veins and associated varicose veins. Always check the consultants’ credentials to ensure that you’ll be offered the most suitable procedure for your situation.