Aching or heavy legs - Advice from experts
Heavy legs during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a period during which the risk of circulatory disruptions emerging becomes particularly high; these disruptions are the consequence of the related increase in body weight and hormonal changes.
- As early as the first trimester, the increase in hormones creates circumstances in which the blood in the veins can easily stagnate, weakening vein walls and the firmness of blood vessels. Estrogen levels can lead to inflammation (edema) and progesterone modifies the vein walls and vessel dilation.
- Throughout pregnancy, the increased volume of the uterus leads to increased pressure on the main vein responsible for returning blood to the heart.
- Finally, an increase in blood weight and volume (of 20% to 30%) contributes to increased pressure on the leg veins, which is doubled or tripled. The valves are separated further from each other by distension of the veins, and no longer play their role of impeding blood return.
Blood circulation in the leg veins can therefore be considerably impeded. The symptoms vary significantly from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy, ranging from simple discomfort to disabling pain. After delivery, these impairments most often wane on their own within a few weeks.