Most women don’t know that varicose veins have run in their families until they are pregnant and wonder what the heck is growing on their legs! The good news about varicose veins is that when you exercise, you increase the blood flow to all of the tissues in your body. This stimulation of blood flow reduces swelling and prevents the formation of varicose veins.
The veins do darken during exercise and can cause alarm—but this change in color is usually due to all of the extra blood flow, which is beneficial. As always, make sure that you talk about your varicose veins with your doctor, especially if they are particularly large or otherwise concerning in appearance.
You might also notice some small spider veins that pop up on your legs during pregnancy. These are small spider or sunburst looking. They are not harmful and disappear after pregnancy.
What can I do to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy?
While varicose veins tend to be hereditary, there is no perfect science to why/how many you get. As your baby grows there is increased pressure in leg veins. And since your blood volume increases during pregnancy, you have more blood pumping through your veins.
Here are a few tips to help prevent varicose veins:
Get the blood flowing
Stay within the recommended weight gain
Elevate your feet whenever possible
Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time
Exercises for Varicose Veins
In a nutshell, the benefits of consistent exercise during pregnancy include an alleviation of uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, a decrease in the mother’s weight gain without a decrease in fetal growth, an easier labor, a shortened, less uncomfortable postpartum recovery, faster and more successful postpartum weight loss, a rise in self-esteem, and stress relief. Also less swelling, less cellulite and reduced varicose veins.
Most forms of exercise will increase circulation. Walking, swimming and other low-key exercises are enough to help prevent varicose veins during pregnancy.
After pregnancy varicose veins tend to improve or go away.