Varicose veins are swollen leg veins that bulge near the surface of the skin, and often as well as being unsightly, are uncomfortable too. They may throb or itch or feel like the skin surrounding them is burning, and if you spend long periods of time on your feet, symptoms may be even worse.

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Often, the first time a woman develops these veins is during pregnancy, or if they are already developed, pregnancy can make them worse. This is due to the uterus growing and putting pressure on the right side of the body, which in turn increases pressure in veins in the leg. As well as working against gravity, pregnant women also have higher levels of progesterone, and this causes the walls of blood vessels to relax, thus exacerbating the formation of varicose veins.

Quick tips to prevent varicose vein formation

Preventing varicose veins in their entirety may not be possible, especially when pregnant, but there are several ways you can reduce their appearance and occurrence.

Exercise is a great way to improve your circulation, and even when pregnant, a quick walk around the block can give you a boost. Pregnant women’s health is always under scrutiny, but one factor that’s essential is that an average weight is maintained. By not picking up excess weight during pregnancy, there is less strain on your body, veins and circulatory system.

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Whenever possible, pregnant women should raise their feet and legs to aid circulation and to fight the effects of gravity. When sitting down, elevating legs with a pillow is always suggested. It’s also suggested that you don’t sit, stand or lie down for long periods and that you don’t cross your ankles or legs when sitting.

Stopping damage and taking action

It’s a great idea to investigate treatments for varicose veins such as those available at, to ensure that, should veins begin to develop, you can have them dealt with quickly.

You can also sleep on your left side, as the inferior vena cava runs down the right side, and this decreases the pressure enormously. Wearing special support hose or compression stockings is also an option for anyone who is worried about developing varicose veins, but these stockings are tighter than normal so they may not be ideal for every woman who is pregnant.