Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 40 percent of all pregnant women suffer from varicose veins. The principal cause for the development of varicose veins during pregnancy is the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. During pregnnacy the hormone progesterone levels rise, causing the walls of your blood vessels to relax.
Varicose veins are connected also with the uterus which holds a developing fetus. During pregnancy uterus grows and puts pressure on the large vein (that return blood from the legs) on the right side of your body which in turn increases pressure in the leg veins. This can lead to pooled blood that causes one or more veins to swell. Varicose veins typically develop on the legs but can also affect the vulva.
A family history of varicose veins tends to increase the likelihood of varicose veins developing during pregnancy. Varicose veins tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as woman get older. The good news is that varicose veins that develop during pregnancy usually disappear after delivery.
Here are some preventive and treatment measures to avoid varicose veins during pregnancy: rest frequently, sleep on your left side (this takes the pressure off your leg veins, allowing normal blood flow), elevate your feet often to increase blood flow, wear the support hose recommended by your doctor, exercise to increase blood flow and circulation.