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Around 3 in 10 adults in the UK will at some point during their lifetime develop varicose veins. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable.
Most people who develop varicose veins will not have any underlying disease and the reason behind their development will often remain unknown. However, women especially are more susceptible to developing varicose veins both during and after their pregnancy. This increased prevalence is due to the growth of the uterus, during pregnancy, which increases the pressure on the pelvic veins and on the inferior vena cava. This major blood vessel has to work hard as it receives blood from your lower limbs and most of the organs in your pelvis and belly. The increased pressure on your inferior vena cava makes it harder for the blood from your legs to make its return journey to your heart,' comments Consultant Vascular Surgeon Mr Keith Jones at BMI Coombe Wing at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust.
'At the same time, you have more blood circulating round your pregnant body and the hormone progesterone relaxes your blood vessel walls. This means the veins in your legs are likely to become swollen, or varicose. While varicose veins are more common in pregnancy, the good news is they do tend to get better once you've had your baby. For most women, after pregnancy, varicose veins will fade on their own within three or four months of having their baby. But if they don't and the veins become too uncomfortable to live with, it is possible to have them corrected surgically'.
Prevent Varicose Veins in PregnancyHere Mr Jones gives tips to help prevent or minimise your risk of developing varicose veins during pregnancy:
1. Exercise a little every day. A quick walk around the block will help boost your circulation and make you feel better too!
2. Try to keep within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife for advice.
3. Sleep on your left side with your feet raised up on a pillow. You'll probably find it easiest to get nice and comfy if you wedge a pillow behind your back. A maternity pillow will help you stay in the right position. Lying on your left side takes the weight of your uterus off the inferior vena cava.
4. Raise your feet and legs up whenever you are sitting or lying down. Try using a stool or box as a leg rest when you're sitting and a pillow when you're lying down. If you can get your legs up 15 to 30 cm above your heart, you'll gain the most benefit.
5. Don't cross your legs or ankles when you're sitting and take frequent breaks to move around, whether you're sitting or standing.
6. Wear elastic support hose if your legs or ankles are swollen. Put them on first thing in the morning to keep blood from pooling in the lower leg veins.
BMI Coombe Wing has recently launched a new walk in, walk out service for varicose treatment, led by Consultant Vascular Surgeon Mr Keith Jones. The new treatment, VNUS, is a clinically proven, minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins and their underlying cause with little or no pain. As a special introductory offer, and for a limited time only, BMI Coombe Wing is offering patients a reduction to the normal price. The initial consultation with Mr Jones will cost £150 with surgery for a single leg treatment costing just £1,350. Patients who require treatment on both legs can receive the second treatment for just £800. To find out more about this service, or to arrange a consultation, go to BMI Coombe Wing