Pregnant women sometimes develop varicose veins. This can happen because there is an increased volume of blood pumping around the body, and the circulatory system is less efficient at propelling blood back up the legs, allowing it to pool in the veins. Besides not looking very attractive, varicose veins can make your legs ache, and are painful when touched. Wearing support tights and avoiding standing for long periods can help prevent veins appearing.
While most varicose veins will improve, or hopefully vanish, a few months after the birth some will remain. It is possible to have them surgically removed, but consider waiting if you plan to have more children, as they are likely to return during subsequent pregnancies
Varicose veins in the vagina and around the vaginal area may also be a problem.
When possible keep the legs elevated above the level of the heart.
Do simple ankle rotations while your legs are elevated.
Avoid standing for long periods.
Wear support tights (put tights on before getting out of bed).
Avoid wearing tight socks or stockings as these can reduce the circulation half way up the calf or thigh.
Do not cross your legs.
At night, soak a small gauze pad with witch hazel or vinegar and apply it to the vein. Secure it by wrapping a loose bandage around your leg.
A diet rich in whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, dark berries, garlic and onions is said to help vein health.
Vitamin C and zinc supplements may be beneficial.
Some women find that rubbing a little pile cream on the affected area can help reduce them or at least reduce the pain.
See our tips for piles and haemorrhoids on our "Tips For Bump" page.