Baby Bumps and Varicose Veins

Baby Bumps & Varicose VeinsA baby bump may not be the only visible sign of your pregnancy. Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Varicose veins are swollen, blue or purple squiggly veins that may bulge near the surface of the skin. You may have little or no discomfort from them or sometimes they can make your legs feel heavy. The skin around your varicose veins can be itchy or throb. The symptoms are often worse at the end of the day, especially if you’ve been on your feet a lot.

Varicose veins during pregnancy occur for a number of reasons. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body (the inferior vena cava), which in turn increases pressure in the leg veins. When you’re pregnant, the amount of blood in your body doubles, adding to the burden on your veins while your progesterone levels rise, causing the walls of your blood vessels to relax. The most significant factor is heredity. If your mom or dad had varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them.

Varicose veins do tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you get older. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk for varicose veins while pregnant:

  • Exercise daily as permitted by your doctor
  • Keep your weight within the range recommended by your doctor
  • Put your feet and legs up whenever possible. Use a stool or box when you are sitting and put a pillow under your legs when you are lying down.
  • Don’t sit or stand for long periods without taking a break
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Wear medical grade compression stockings

Varicose veins that appear during pregnancy may improve within three to six months after the baby arrives. However, in some cases they do not go away after the baby’s birth. If they don’t go away, there are a number of ways to treat them. See a vein specialist to determine the right treatment for you.

The Vein Specialists are located in Bloomington at 3302 Gerig Dr. with additional locations in Eureka, Peru, Streator and Springfield. Call 309-862-4000 to schedule a complimentary evaluation with one of our physicians or request an appointment online at