Pregnancy and varicose veins

Pregnancy & Varicose Veins: Five Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in a woman’s body, but one often unexpected change is the development of varicose veins. And it makes sense. After all, during pregnancy your body not only produces more blood, but your hormones make the walls of your veins softer – which makes it more difficult for them to work properly. In addition, as your uterus expands and your baby grows, there’s an increase in pressure on your lower body – making it even more difficult for your veins to pump blood back toward your heart. Because of this, blood may begin pooling in your legs and cause the appearance of varicose veins.

Fortunately, pregnancy-related varicose veins are generally harmless, and will usually start to shrink once you’ve given birth. Until they do, though, there are some things you can do to minimize your risk – and their appearance, like:

  • Relaxing when you can. When possible, sit down and keep your legs elevated. This will take some of the pressure off your lower body.
  • Exercising. A long walk, low-impact workouts, pre-natal yoga, and swimming can all help keep the blood flowing and help you stay fit throughout your pregnancy.
  • Wearing comfortable clothes. Your pregnancy is already adding pressure to your veins, so make sure your clothing doesn’t contribute to it. During this time, forego clothes that bind, and opt for clothes (and shoes) that are loose and comfortable.
  • Giving support hose a try. Tight clothes might not be a good idea during pregnancy, but support hose are. When worn snug, but not tight, they can help counteract the downward pressure caused by your growing baby and give your veins – and your legs – a boost (much like compression socks do).
  • Watching your weight. Gaining weight during pregnancy is natural and healthy, but gaining too much weight isn’t. Not only can it cause health problems for you and your baby, but it can tax your already overworked circulatory system and cause the appearance of varicose veins. (Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should expect to gain during pregnancy.)

Although developing varicose veins during pregnancy is common, and generally a benign condition, it can be associated with blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). So, if you notice the appearance of varicose veins, talk with your healthcare provider, or contact a member of our team at, or by calling 928.771.8477.