Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Varicose Veins

    It's common to get varicose veins during pregnancy. Your mother may have gotten them, too. They're usually hereditary. Pregnancy hormones may cause the walls of your veins to weaken and swell. Pressure on the veins behind your uterus also slows the circulation of blood to your heart, making the smaller veins in your pelvis and legs swell. You're most likely to get these bluish, swollen veins in your legs. But in late pregnancy, they may appear in your vulva, the area outside your vagina. Varicose veins in your rectum, called hemorrhoids, are also common. Varicose veins will probably get better after your baby is born, when pressure on your veins goes away.

    Call Doctor If:

    • The veins feel hard, warm, or painful.
    • The skin over the veins looks red.

    Step-by-Step Care:

    • Avoid standing or sitting for a long time. Take breaks to move around.
    • Don't sit with your legs crossed. This can reduce circulation in your legs.
    • Sit with your legs and feet raised.
    • Exercise regularly for good circulation, with your doctor's OK.
    • Wear maternity support hose. These gently compress your lower leg veins to help move blood back to your heart.
    • Avoid tight socks or knee-highs that squeeze a spot on your leg. This can slow circulation.
    • Sleep on your left side to ease pressure on the vein that carries blood from your feet to your heart. It's on your right side.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on July 15, 2014

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    Quiz
     
    calendar and baby buggy
    Tool
    dark chocolate squares
    Slideshow