Varicose veins 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 about them.

By The Editors of Parents.com
Updated March 18, 2020
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Varicose veins are bluish, reddish, or purplish lines under the skin that tend to run in families. They can crop up any time in a person's life, but they're most common while expecting. Learn more about the causes of varicose veins during pregnancy, and figure how you can fade their appearance.

What Causes Varicose Veins in Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, varicose veins occur when the weight of the uterus puts greater pressure on the veins in your lower body. They most often pop up on the legs and around the rectum (hemorrhoids). You may not feel varicose veins at all, or they may be sore or itchy. In most cases, though, they aren't a health problem, and they generally diminish a bit after delivery (though they probably won't disappear completely).

How Can I Relieve Varicose Veins While Pregnant?

You can't prevent varicose veins, but you can take steps to ease soreness and stop them from getting worse. Here are some tips.

  • Don't sit or stand for long periods without taking a break.
  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
  • 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.
  • Wear compression stockings to boost circulation to your legs.
  • Get regular exercise, whether it's swimming, walking, or using an exercise bike. This will get your blood flowing and make you feel better.
Credit: ANURAKPONGPATIMET/shuttestock.com

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