Varicose Veins

Facts about varicose veins in pregnancy

Some estimates suggest that up to 40 percent of pregnant women develop varicose veins. Sometimes called spider veins (which is actually a slightly different but related condition), varicose veins are simply swollen blood vessels that tend to bulge near your skin surface. The causes of varicose veins during pregnancy vary, but the three most common triggers are increased progesterone levels, the enlarged uterus exerting pressure on the veins in your abdomen and a family history of varicose veins in pregnancy.


Preventing varicose veins after getting pregnant is possible if you carefully follow a few tips. First, sleep on your left side as much as possible, since this relieves some of the pressure your enlarged uterus puts on the surrounding veins. Elevate your feet and legs as much as you can, and break up extended periods of sitting or standing still by taking a walk. It's also recommended that you avoid crossing your legs or ankles while you're sitting down and keeping your body weight within a healthy range. You can also wear support hose to promote healthy blood flow, and if varicose veins appear, these special support hose can also be used to treat them; you can get them at your pharmacy, or through medical supply retailers.

Treating Varicose Veins

Varicose veins may still strike even if you're careful to take preventative action against them. If they do, take heart; in most cases, they go away on their own after the baby is delivered, and even if they don't, you still have treatment options available.

Vein closure may be an option if the varicose veins are limited to certain areas of your body, and laser treatments can also greatly improve their appearance. Treatment of any underlying conditions that may be contributing to varicose veins, such as ulcers, will also be undertaken to reduce the swelling in your blood vessels.

If you've had varicose veins during pregnancy, it's important that you treat them properly and take enhanced preventative measures if you become pregnant again, since they have a high recurrence rate and many women report that their varicose veins increase in severity with each subsequent pregnancy.