Is a Homebirth Safe With Vaginal Varicose Veins?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I'm trying to get a few "second opinions" on my situation. I just found out the intense pain I'm having is from vaginal varicose veins. I've been complaining that everything feels like it is just going to "fall out" but everyone passed it off to hemorrhoids (even though I had no discomfort associated with that) and now my whole vaginal area is swollen and the pain is getting worse each day, especially now that I'm 7 months pregnant. I'm using Prep. H cream, putting my feet up, exercising, etc. and still each new day is worse than before.

I'm having a home birth (my 4th) and scared to death that I'm going to end up with a complication from this (if they burst) or even what labor will be like b/c my vaginal area feels like I've just given birth -- it hurts so bad! Can I still safely have a home birth / vaginal delivery? My midwife says Yes! But my fears are so great. The last thing I want is to go to the hospital and have a c-section but if the pain doesn't subside it seems like that would be the least painful of the 2 choices! Help please, I'm freaking out.

ANSWER

First, you may get a little relief from applying Epsom salts to the affected area and/or wearing a maternity support belt, in addition to what you are already doing. It is safe to have a home birth -- fortunately, these veins almost never burst.

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.