Being pregnant can be a wonderful time, but for many women, it also involves dealing with some unpleasant side effects. Along with morning sickness, backaches, and bowel problems, you might also develop varicose veins. 

Varicose veins are common in pregnant women and can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve and treat them. 

Find out everything you need to know about varicose veins during pregnancy here. 

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. They typically bulge near the surface of the skin. These veins are often red, blue, or purple and have a “squiggly” appearance. 

For most people, varicose veins most commonly affect feet and leg veins. But for pregnant women, it is possible to also develop varicose veins on their buttocks, lower pelvic area, and rectum. 

Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. They can also be hereditary. So, if your mother or grandmother had them during their pregnancy, then there is a chance you will too. 

Varicose veins are generally not painful and maybe more of an aesthetic concern. However, for some people, varicose veins can cause discomfort. This is especially true for pregnant women. 

Your varicose veins can become itchy, uncomfortable, and occasionally painful during pregnancy. While varicose veins aren’t usually a cause for concern, they can sometimes worsen and lead to more severe health conditions. 

Varicose Vein Causes in Pregnancy 

The cause of varicose veins in pregnancy varies but often results from an increased blood flow

During pregnancy, your blood increases to support your growing baby. However, this also puts extra strain on your veins. As does your increased hormone levels which cause the muscular walls of the blood vessels to relax. 

Varicose veins may also develop as your uterus begins to expand. As your uterus expands, more pressure is put on your lower pelvic area veins. This may cause them to become varicose. 

The good news is that most women report improvement after their baby is born. 

Can You Prevent Varicose Veins in Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent varicose veins when you’re pregnant. However, you can take steps to minimise varicose veins during pregnancy by: 

  • Staying active 
  • Avoiding high heels 
  • Avoiding wearing anything too tight around your waist 
  • Not sitting for prolonged periods
  • Avoiding sitting cross-legged 
  • Elevating your legs when resting 
  • Staying hydrated 
  • Soaking your legs in cold water 
  • Walking and swimming can help your circulation and are beneficial while pregnant. Calf raises can also help support blood flow in the legs. 
  • Compression socks can also reduce the risk of developing varicose veins. They are designed to make your veins drain faster and more efficiently. 
  • To immediately relieve the pain from varicose veins, lift your legs above your heart. This will help make it easier for blood flow to circulate from your lower body toward the heart. Keep your legs elevated for at least 15 minutes to reduce swelling and ease the pain. 

Varicose Vein Treatments

It is good to wear compression socks or compression tights, exercise regularly, and avoid sitting or standing for long periods during and after birth. It can help if you elevate your legs when possible. 

Varicose veins often subside after giving birth, though it can take longer. In some cases, they won’t improve at all. 

If your varicose veins persist well after pregnancy and are uncomfortable or unsightly, treatment options are available. At SVH we recommend looking into treatment options once you have completed having your family as varicose veins will likely recur if you become pregnant again after your treatment. Treatment is available even if you are breastfeeding. 

Fortunately, treatment doesn’t mean an overnight hospital stay or a long, uncomfortable recovery. If you don’t respond to compression tights, or if your condition is more severe, you may opt to try a non-invasive procedure. 

We offer two minimally invasive treatment options at SVH:: 

Both procedures are minimally invasive and do not require overnight hospital stays. 

Radiofrequency Ablation 

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that heats the vein, leading to the immediate closure of that vein. 

During the treatment, you will receive a local anaesthetic to minimise any feelings of discomfort. Then, a thin fibre is passed along the abnormal vein to seal the vein with heat. This stops the flow in the unhealthy varicose vein, rerouting the blood to healthy veins in the leg .

After your procedure, compression stockings are applied to reduce the risk of the vein reopening. By the next day, you can resume normal activities. 


Sclerotherapy is a treatment that involves injecting a chemical solution directly into the abnormal vein. The solution causes the vein to scar, forcing blood to reroute to healthy veins. The intentionally damaged vein will eventually fade and reabsorb into local tissue. 

After your procedure, compression stockings are applied to reduce the risk of vein reopening. They will be measured up before your treatment, so they are available for immediate use afterwards.

Following sclerotherapy, your smaller varicose veins will appear lumpy and hard. However, this will gradually resolve, and the veins will fade away. 

Most patients experience a complete resolution of their varicose veins after 12 months. 

SVH: Your Varicose Vein Treatment Specialists

Varicose veins are common during pregnancy and are usually painless. In most cases, they will disappear after you give birth once the uterus is no longer pushing on the lower pelvic area.

The best treatment for varicose veins during pregnancy is by wearing compression socks or compression tights. However, if your varicose veins are not improving or you’re unhappy with how they look, there are non-invasive treatments available. 

Specialist Vein Health empowers people to take control of their health using advanced and minimally invasive techniques at affordable rates. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.