Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

varicose veins in pregnancy
This is part one of a three part series on varicose veins in pregnancy and beyond.

If you’re like me, before I had varicose veins I had no idea what they were, why I had them or why they hurt so bad!


Blood vessels have two directions of transportation throughout our body. Arteries carry the blood from the heart and veins return the “used” blood back to the heart. We have one-way valves in our veins that prevent the “used” blood from going back into the body and push it forward into the heart. When weakened, blood pools in the veins and isn’t pumped efficiently up to the heart. This pooling causes added pressure on the walls of veins and the result is varicose veins, or veins that have become enlarged and twisted.

Hormonal changes in pregnancy, additional blood volume, increased uterine pressure and last, but certainly not least, genes, are all to blame. So thank your grandma and your mom because heredity is a major factor in this unwelcome pregnancy symptom.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, there were all kinds of changes happening to my body. So when bulging, painful, purple varicose veins appeared I chalked it up to just another normal symptom of pregnancy. I didn’t ask questions, I didn’t really complain or address the pain. I truly thought that it was something every woman experienced and just one more thing to endure.

I was told by my midwife, whom I loved and trusted, “Yes, you have varicose veins. They’re very common with pregnancy.” That was it.

Varicose veins don’t hinder a healthy baby from continuing to grow. They don’t pose risks to the baby, but come on! Give a mom something! It HURTS.

Whether you are dealing with varicose veins in your legs or labial varicosities (I have both, all the above, every which way), the number one advice that I have to give is limit the amount of time you spend on your feet. I know this may seem impossible with all of our daily tasks, at home, work or both. But, standing for long periods of time, with the added uterine pressure, gravity and faulty valves, will add to the blood pooling in your veins and it will become worse and more painful.

In my next post I will share some comfort measures to help you relieve the pain associated with varicose veins. Stay tuned!

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading

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