The Mayo Clinic lists a number of ways to help prevent and minimize the effects of varicose veins during pregnancy, including elevating the legs, changing positions frequently, keeping weight gain under control, staying hydrated to prevent constipation and wearing support pantyhose. These methods help support healthy blood flow from the legs to the heart and prevent unnecessary added pressure on the blood vessels in the lower body.
Varicose veins are a common occurrence. The American College of Phlebology states that up to 55 percent of women experience varicose veins at some point in their lives. While the exact cause of varicose veins is unknown, WebMD lists several risk factors, such as menopause, puberty, obesity, prolonged standing and a genetic tendency toward weak vein valves. Pregnant women are especially prone to varicose veins because increased blood volume and changing hormones can cause veins to bulge, according to Robert A. Weiss, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
The good news about varicose veins during pregnancy, according to What to Expect, is that they typically disappear within three months of giving birth, especially if the woman didn't have them prior to getting pregnant. Most varicose veins are not harmful to either mother or baby.