Varicose Veins

Why Do Pregnant Women Get Varicose Veins?

Roughly 40% of pregnant women develop varicose veins during pregnancy.

Generally, varicose veins appear on the legs and in four percent of women, they can appear around the vulva and vagina.

The legs are most commonly impacted because of the weight being put upon the pelvic area by baby, which could cause blood circulation to the legs to reduce effectiveness.

What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?

  • Varicose veins appear in pregnancy due to increased levels of progesterone.
  • Increased progesterone causes blood vessels to relax and in turn could cause veins to expand or swell.
  • Blood volume increases up to 40-50% during pregnancy which puts a lot of extra pressure on the veins.
  • The valves controlling blood flow within the veins are weakened, causing blood to pool.
  • The walls of the veins stretch and sag.
  • Varicose veins appear on the legs especially because blood circulation isn’t as effective in the legs during pregnancy; increased pressure on the pelvic area reduces the effectiveness of blood being pumped back up the legs. Along with weakened valves in the veins, this can cause the blood to pool.

Tips for Preventing or Reducing Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

  • Don’t sit for too long, stretch your legs often.
  • Tense and stretch your calve muscles whilst sitting in order to encourage the circulation of blood around your legs.
  • Take regular, gentle exercise if you can – swimming, yoga. Or even yoga from home if you cannot get out of the house.
  • Keep your legs elevated frequently to help the blood circulation.
  • Wear support tights or socks.