What are spider veins?

If you’re pregnant, it’s possible that you have dense clusters of reddish or bluish blood vessels on your skin’s surface. You have nothing to worry about — spider veins are extremely common during pregnancy. But why do you get spider veins during pregnancy? What do spider veins indicate? Do you need to visit a vein doctor for spider veins during pregnancy? If you want answers to those questions, you need to have some basic information about spider veins. This article offers a comprehensive guide to spider veins during pregnancy.

Let’s start with the simplest question — what are spider veins?

Spider veins are dense clusters of damaged blood vessels or broken capillaries that appear just underneath the skin’s surface. They often look like a network of spider webs spreading outwards from a central location on your legs. They can be reddish or bluish in color, and they usually appear on the lower extremities of the body. But you can also get spider veins on your face, feet, and other parts of the body. Spider veins aren’t harmful or painful, but they’re often symptomatic of a dangerous underlying condition known as chronic venous insufficiency.

The Vein Center in Long Island is led by highly-skilled vein doctors specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of spider veins for all patients. Our vein doctors always diagnose and treat the root cause of spider veins, and not just the superficial symptoms, ensuring safe and long-lasting results. We use cutting-edge diagnostic solutions and minimally invasive treatments to ensure the best results. If you have spider veins during pregnancy, please schedule an appointment with our vein doctors in Long Island.

What causes spider veins?

Chronic venous insufficiency is the primary root cause of spider veins. Venous insufficiency is a medical condition wherein your vein valves collapse or malfunction. The valves in the veins usually act as one-way doors, allowing blood to flow towards the heart but not backward due to gravity. When the vein valves malfunction or collapse, blood flows backward due to gravity and accumulates in the leg veins, eventually leading to spider veins and varicose veins. If you have spider veins, there’s a strong chance you also have underlying vein disease.

Why do you get spider veins during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is one of the leading risk factors for spider veins and vein disease for several reasons. When you’re pregnant, your body produces a high level of estrogen and progesterone hormones. These female hormones can weaken the vein valves, thus increasing the risk of collapsed or malfunctioning vein valves. Women have a higher risk of vein disease than men for the same reason — women have a higher volume of estrogen and progesterone than men. During pregnancy, your body produces even higher volumes of estrogen and progesterone, which further increases the risk of collapsed vein valves and spider veins. This is only one of several physiological changes that can increase the risk of spider veins during pregnancy.

What are the other risk factors for spider veins?

  • Genetic Predisposition: If your parents have a history of vein problems, there’s a 90% chance that you will also have vein problems eventually.
  • Aging: The risk of spider veins increases as you grow older because the vein valves weaken with age, increasing the risk of vein disease.
  • Biological Sex: Women have a higher risk of spider veins and vein disease because the estrogen and progesterone hormones weaken the vein valves.
  • Medical History: If you have a history of vein problems, such as deep vein thrombosis, you have a high risk of spider veins and vein disease.
  • Obesity: Individuals who are obese have a higher risk of spider veins because the increased body weight places more pressure on the leg veins.
  • Sedentary Occupation: If you have a sedentary job that involves long periods of sitting or standing in place, you have a high risk of spider veins. That’s why spider veins are extremely common amongst teachers, nurses, drivers, pilots, and people with desk jobs.

Do spider veins go away after pregnancy?

Spider veins are damaged blood vessels caused by chronic venous insufficiency, which, in turn, is caused by collapsed or malfunctioning vein valves. Spider veins don’t go away after pregnancy because the underlying vein disease won’t get automatically resolved. Once a vein valve collapses, it doesn’t heal naturally. The only way to treat spider veins and the underlying vein disease is through minimally invasive spider vein treatments, such as sclerotherapy.

What makes spider veins worse?

Your spider veins can worsen if you spend long periods of time sitting or standing still. The longer you sit or stand still, the more blood accumulates in your leg veins, leading to even more spider veins. Furthermore, if you cross your legs and feet while sitting down, more blood may accumulate in your leg veins, making spider veins worse. It’s better to elevate your legs above the heart’s level while sitting down — this posture will push the accumulated blood in your leg veins towards the heart.

How to prevent spider veins during pregnancy?

There are no definitive means of preventing spider veins and varicose veins. But you can reduce the risk of spider veins and varicose veins by following these tips:

  • Wear compression stockings regularly
  • Elevate your legs while sitting down
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
  • Take frequent breaks to walk around
  • Engage in cardiovascular exercises — running, swimming, and cycling

How to get rid of veins showing on your legs?

If you’re concerned about the spider veins and varicose veins showing on your legs, please visit a vein center in Long Island. The vein doctor will examine your leg veins, review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, administer vascular imaging tests, and curate a personalized vein treatment plan for you. Our vein doctors always diagnose and treat the root cause of your spider veins to help you maintain flawless skin. Please schedule an appointment to explore your spider vein treatment options in Long Island.