During the first pregnancy, varicose veins form in about half of pregnant women. This number increases further in the second pregnancy.
The risk of a venous occlusion also increases: compared to non-pregnant women, the risk of a thrombosis is three to five times higher in pregnant women. This risk even increases even up to six weeks after the birth of the child, especially after a cesarean or in case of heavy blood loss. The causes of this higher fragility are hormonal changes and the increase in the amount of blood, which is about 20 percent, already at the start of pregnancy. Weight gain also increases the pressure on the leg veins. The growing uterus and the baby's head further press on the veins in the pelvis area and hinder the backflow of blood to the heart. The larger the belly, the heavier and less mobile the woman becomes. The calf muscle pump is therefore less often activated. Even in women who have not previously had signs of venous weakness, this overload can have consequences. The legs swell and varicose veins of pregnancy form which, often but not always, disappear after the birth of the child. In women with additional risk factors, such as inherited weakness of the conjunctiva or overweight, pregnancy is often the cause of permanent venous disease.
Prevent through compression
Wearing compression stockings helps prevent venous problems during pregnancy. Compression class 1 is sufficient for this. In case of pre-existing venous problems or large accumulations of water, class 2 can also be used. The stockings must be worn from the third month of pregnancy and up to two months after childbirth or until the end of the nursing period. If necessary, additional measures are taken in the hospital or maternity unit to avoid thrombosis. They include wearing special compression stockings, anti-thrombosis prophylaxis stockings, gymnastics and possibly treatment with anticoagulants. If you are born at home or on an outpatient basis, you should discuss your precautionary measures with your doctor early enough. Large legs during pregnancy can also indicate Hellp syndrome or preeclampsia. In any case, please discuss it with your doctor.