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 Winter into Summer: Advice for Preventing Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

​January 5, 2012   Contact: Sue Crosson-Knutson   312-334-2311

CHICAGO - Cold winter months often result in summertime births. July, August and September are the most common birthday months according to the 2010 National Vital Statistics Reports. During pregnancy, 50 to 55 percent of American women experience varicose veins.  

“More than just a cosmetic issue, varicose veins can be painful and can lead to more serious health problems,” said Eva Rzucidlo, MD, Society for Vascular Surgery® Women’s Leadership Committee chair.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health states the following factors contribute to varicose veins:
  • pregnancy – the growing uterus puts pressure on the veins,
  • hormonal changes – during puberty, pregnancy and menopause,
  • medical history – family members with varicose veins,
  • obesity – extra weight adds pressure on the veins,
  • lack of movement – sitting or standing for long periods of time may force the veins to work harder to pump blood to the heart, 
  • increasing age – veins may weaken with age.
Lifestyle changes and medical treatments can often reduce varicose veins. Suggestions to ease the discomfort include:
  • sunscreen,
  • regular exercise,
  • proper weight,
  • not crossing legs when sitting for long periods of time,
  • elevating legs when resting, 
  • not sitting or standing for long periods of time,
  • wearing elastic support stockings,
  • avoiding high heel shoes for long periods of time,
  • eating a low-salt, high fiber diet.
“The first line of management for varicose vein treatment is medical management with compression stockings worn daily,” said Dr. Rzucidlo. “Another option is sclerotherapy, the sealing off of the veins - mainly done for spider veins. Radiofrequency and laser treatments are also options which are minimally invasive procedures often performed in a doctor’s office. For very large varicose veins, a surgical procedure known as vein stripping is available.” 

Moms-to-be can visit podcasts that explain the condition.
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About the Society for Vascular Surgery®

The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,550 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at®. Follow SVS on Twitter and Facebook.

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