Are you pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or want to get pregnant? Does the idea of varicose veins scare you or deter you away from the beautiful journey that is pregnancy and motherhood? First of all, let me assure you there are millions of women just like you: nervous, excited, and concerned for many reasons. Some have even accredited varicose veins to being the worst part of their pregnancy and what they hated the most. Don’t let these mommy blogs scare you; varicose veins are a totally natural part of the process, are fairly common, and usually harmless for most women who experience them. You now may be asking: is there a way to get rid of them or avoid them all together? Listed below are some of the ways you can prevent or decrease the size of varicose veins during or after your pregnancy.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are the large, swollen blood vessels, found mostly in the legs, but can show up almost anywhere on the lower half of your body. In fact, hemorrhoids are nothing more than the varicose veins around your rectum area.

When these veins swell above the surface of the skin they create distinctive purplish lumps that may look alarming but are actually quite harmless and fairly common. These veins affect 10% to 20% of pregnant women. They can also appear at any point during your pregnancy but typically are most noticeable and start to come up as you start to get bigger/to the biggest point of your pregnancy.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

So what causes these suckers? In order to figure out how to prevent them, we first need to know why they appear, how they appear, and where they come from. The extra volume of blood you produce during pregnancy is an essential process to aid two growing bodies during those 9 months – yours and the baby’s body. This in turn puts extra pressure on your blood vessels. As the uterus grows in size to attend to the growing baby, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body which then in turn increases the pressure in your legs, causing blood vessels to grow in size. Although harmless, these veins have the possibility to cause discomfort; the skin around varicose veins may itch, throb, or feel like it’s burning.

No fear mommy-to-be, there are ways not only to alleviate the discomfort of varicose vein symptoms, but to also help prevent or lessen symptoms in the first place.

Keep the Blood Flowing

One of the simplest ways to help prevent symptoms is by keeping the blood moving and flowing in your body. Get up on your feet as much as you can rather than sitting, and when you are sitting make sure your legs are elevated. When standing put one leg up on a low stool and alternate between legs. Flex your ankles every so often and get into the habit of not sitting with your legs crossed.

Exercise

Along with keeping your blood flowing it’s important to get your recommended amount of daily exercise to aid in preventing symptoms. This regular form of exercise can include taking a light walk or any other form of circulation-inducing exercises like light yoga stretching. However, it’s extremely important to speak with your doctor first on how much exercise you should be doing and other forms of movement you can do.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Make sure you wear clothes, including underwear, that are loose fitting and comfortable during your pregnancy. Just overall making sure you’re not wearing any clothing of any kind that will cut off the circulation of your blood flow. Don’t wear belts or socks with tight elastic tops and stay away from tight-fitting shoes, especially heels and stilettos. One piece of clothing you should look into are support hose. These can counteract the downward pressure of your uterus and stomach and help push the veins in your legs upwards an extra touch.

Maintain A Good Weight

One last tip I have to share with you is to stay within your projected and recommended weight. Although this should be common sense, some women do naturally struggle with being overweight or underweight during their pregnancies. The recommended weight gain by practitioners for most women can be anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds. Increasing this weight puts extra pressure on an already hard-working body.

That’s it! Those are the main tips, tricks, and prevention tools I have to share with you on reducing, preventing, and treating varicose vein symptoms during and after pregnancy.