When I was pregnant with my first child, I could take long and relaxing showers on a daily basis. One day my enjoyable shower came to an abrupt end as I heard a scream and realized that it was me!
As I looked down at my legs through the stream of water and over my huge belly, I noticed what appeared to be a small, purple bruise on one leg. But bruises go away, as it turns out, I had developed a spider vein. I was baffled. Where did it come from? Why hadn’t I noticed it? Would it ever go away or just continue to get worse? What caused it?
According to womenshealth.gov, “Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller. They are often red or blue and are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short jagged lines. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face. Spider veins can be caused by the backup of blood. The squeezing of leg muscles pumps blood back to the heart from the lower body. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. These valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the one-way valves become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there. During pregnancy there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. This can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Varicose veins usually improve within 3 months after delivery. A growing number of abnormal veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy.”
And true to the definition, I did get more. Each pregnancy brought me one more. Fortunately, they are small and light in color. They are more noticeable to me than other people but I did not find that they faded once the pregnancy was over. Although they are not severe, they are something that I am interested in having removed. Some available treatments include Sclerotherapy (injecting a solution to cause the vein walls to seal shut), Laser surgery, and Endovenous Techniques (radio frequency and laser). More serious veins may require surgery for treatment.
Not all varicose or spider veins can be prevented, especially during pregnancy.