Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

What causes them?

When you are pregnant, the walls of your blood vessels stretch because they have to carry more blood. As well, your uterus is growing and this puts extra pressure on the veins in your legs. Blood circulates more slowly. More blood stays in pools in your veins. When this happens, it is called varicose veins.  Varicose veins can also happen in the vulva or the rectum (hemorrhoids or piles) if you sit too long in one place or if you have weak pelvic floor muscles. If you had varicose veins before, you may find that they are worse when you are pregnant.

What can I do about it?

• Stay active. Walking and moving improve circulation.
• Stand up straight. Good posture will improve your circulation.
• Do leg, foot, and pelvic floor exercises often each day.
• Lie down with your legs raised for 10 to 15 minutes often each day. Support your feet on pillows so that your legs are a bit higher than your heart.
• Do not stand for a long time. Be sure to sit down and put your feet up often each day.
• If you sit during the day, change position often. Using a footstool may help. Get up and walk around for a few minutes once an hour.
• Do not sit with your legs crossed.
• Sleep and rest on your left side.
• Avoid tight clothing, especially socks with elastic tops and knee-high stockings.
• Wear shoes with low heels and good support.

If you get varicose veins in your legs:

• Wear fitted support stockings. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning. If you get up first and your legs begin to swell, lie down and raise your legs for 10 minutes before you put the stockings on.

What if none of this helps?

• Talk to your doctor about it.

• Do not take any medication unless your doctor says it is okay.
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