Varicose veins are an unfortunate, yet harmless pregnancy symptom several women experience during pregnancy. Varicose veins are swollen veins that form blue or purple bulges near the surface of your skin. During pregnancy varicose veins are usually observed in your legs and sometimes your vulva and usually worsen as your pregnancy progresses.
They are caused by your ever-expanding uterus which puts pressure on your vena cava, a large vein, which in turn puts pressure on your leg veins. On top of that, increased levels of the pregnancy hormone progesterone relax your vein walls, which makes bulging more likely.
Some women are not bothered by their varicose veins, but many mothers experience itching or throbbing veins which can be a bit of a nuisance. However, they are harmless and do tend to disappear after birth.
Risk factors for varicose veins include:
- A family history of varicose veins
- Previous varicose veins
- Previous pregnancies
- If you are overweight
- If you are carrying multiples
- If you normally have to stand for long periods throughout the day.