Varicose veins can affect some women during pregnancy as the baby grows and puts pressure on the uterus. Find out what causes varicose veins and what to do here.

By the editors of Parents magazine

What causes varicose veins in pregnancy?

What you may be experiencing: One of the most dreaded side effects of pregnancy, varicose veins do not strike every woman. These bluish, reddish, or purplish lines or bulges under the skin tend to run in families. They can occur at any time in a person's life, but tend to crop up during pregnancy when the weight of the uterus puts greater pressure on the veins in your lower body. They most often pop up on the legs. When they occur in or around the rectum, they're called hemorrhoids. You may not feel varicose veins at all, or they may be sore or itchy. You may not like the way they look but, in most cases, they aren't a health problem, and they generally diminish a bit after delivery, though they probably won't disappear.

What relieves varicose veins in pregnancy?

What helps: You can't prevent varicose veins, but there are certain steps you can take to ease soreness and stop them from getting worse. First, don't sit or stand for long periods without taking a break, and avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Second, put your feet up as often as possible. When sitting, prop them up on a desk, chair, or the arm of a sofa. In bed, elevate your feet and knees with a stack of pillows. Third, wear compression stockings to boost circulation to your legs. Fourth, get regular exercise, whether swimming, walking, or using an exercise bike. This will get your blood flowing and make you feel better.

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