These Varicose Veins are not OK Because pregnancy.

By Babe | Illustration by Ana Hard

So you’re waddling around in your pregnancy, minding your own business, when you catch a glimpse of yourself in unflattering light (rude) or a mirror (ruder) and you notice these gnarly 3-d veins running up and down your legs. WTF?!?

Yep, sorry. We hate to tell ya, but varicose veins are exactly that – enlarged veins that you’ll often find in the legs, but can even reach up to your butt. They’re one of the more unfortunate side effects of pregnancy, right up there with hemorrhoids and constipation.

What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?

Ah, the great conundrum; as if the joyous cocktail of leg cramps, weight gain, and hormonal changes weren’t enough, you’re now dealing with these pesky varicose veins. Welcome to the party, mama!

As your body embarks on this fantastic journey of creating life, it really goes all in. Your blood volume takes a major leap upwards, and the blood flow from your legs to your pelvis slows down. This allows more blood for your growing baby but puts your lower body’s circulatory system in quite the pickle, leading to those enlarged, bluish showstoppers known as varicose veins.

Factor in the gravitational disadvantage and the weight of your growing baby bump, and it’s no surprise that your leg veins might be feeling a bit, shall we say, overwhelmed. More so, this fun doesn’t stop at the legs but can also pop up in the vulva or in the rectum as hemorrhoids. 

And those pesky hormones? You know, the ones that have you crying at puppy videos and laughing at infomercials? Those heightened levels of estrogen and progesterone are also softening up your vein walls, turning them into something resembling overcooked spaghetti — which isn’t ideal for containing blood under pressure.

But wait — there’s more. It turns out your left side gets the brunt of it. Why? Blame it on the big ol’ vein called the inferior vena cava, responsible for channeling blood from your lower body back to your heart. Your burgeoning uterus puts pressure on this large vein, particularly when you’re lying on your right side, leading to increased pressure in your leg veins.

So, that’s the mystery behind your expanding vascular map. Remember, your body’s doing an incredible job of growing a new life, and sometimes the side effects are, well, visually dramatic. But hey, it’s all part of the magical mystery tour of pregnancy!

How Can You Keep Your Vein Game Strong Post-Birth?

Breathe a sigh of relief, mama. Once your bundle of joy enters the world, those squiggly varicose veins often start to feel like yesterday’s news. But don’t just wait around for them to make their grand exit — here are a few strategies you can speed up the process and keep those veins in check. 

Get Your Wiggle On

A little bit of exercise can go a long way. Try to keep those legs moving, be it a short walk around the block, some ankle circles while you’re breastfeeding, or even shaking your booty during a baby dance-off. 

Anything that gets your calf muscles pumping can help boost blood flow and send those varicose veins packing. Just remember to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine postpartum.

Show Those Legs Some Love

Elevate your legs when you can. It’s a simple trick that can help your blood flow in the right direction — i.e., away from those leg veins. So put your feet up, enjoy a cup of decaf, and let gravity do its thing.

Compression Stockings Still Rock

Don’t pack away those compression stockings just yet — they’re not only good during pregnancy but can also be handy afterward. They’ll squeeze your leg veins just right, helping to support blood flow and reducing the risk of blood clots. It’s a leg hug you didn’t know you needed.

Stay Hydrated and Fibered Up

Constipation can lead to extra pressure in your lower region, which doesn’t exactly help the varicose vein situation. So keep that water bottle handy and munch on fiber-rich foods. Your veins (and your rectum) will thank you!

Mind the Position

We know that lying down seems like a distant dream with a newborn around. But when you do get the chance, try to lie on your left side. Remember that large blood vessel, the inferior vena cava? You don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on it. Plus, it’s a good excuse to catch some Zzz’s.

Give Those Legs a Cool Down

After all the baby wrangling, your legs could use some pampering. That’s where our Down, Girl Swell Relief comes in. With its gel-based cooling cream formula infused with a naturally derived ginger and mint blend, it’s like a spa day for your overworked limbs.

Just rub a generous dollop onto your legs for instant relief that won’t overstimulate your senses.

Rethink Your Wardrobe

Hear us out — we know you’ve been dreaming of ditching those maternity pants, but it might be time to break up with tight clothing and high heels for a bit. Restrictive clothing can hinder blood flow, and those sky-high heels can put extra strain on your calf muscles. 

So, for now, embrace flowy dresses, comfy leggings, and your favorite pair of flats. Chic, comfortable, and vein-friendly!

Avoid Prolonged Standing or Sitting

Playing statue might not be the best idea right now. Standing or sitting for long periods of time can make it harder for your blood to fight against gravity and flow back to the heart. So try to mix it up throughout the day. A little stretching here, a little walking there, and voila — you’re keeping your blood flow in check.

Love Your Body, Love Yourself

Our last (but definitely not least) tip is to be gentle with yourself, mama. Those veins are a sign of the remarkable work your body is doing. If you catch yourself feeling down about them, remember to practice some self-love.

Our Belly Oil is a great way to celebrate your body’s amazing transformation. It’s rich in plant-based ingredients that can help fade the appearance of stretch marks and leave your skin feeling silky smooth. Plus, its soothing calendula and sweet almond scent is the perfect way to wind down after a long day of motherhood. 

Wrapping Things Up

And there you have it, mama — the down and dirty on dealing with varicose veins during and after pregnancy. These veiny villains might make you feel like you’ve morphed into an unsightly road map, but let’s not forget that every twist, turn, and bump is a testament to the miraculous journey you’re on. You’re growing a whole new life, and that’s nothing short of phenomenal!

So, bear these tips in mind and arm yourself with a little patience and a whole lot of self-love. After all, these purple veins are temporary, but the incredible human you’re growing is forever. 

And when it comes to navigating the highway of pregnancy, remember that you’re never alone. We’re with you every step of the way, ready to offer advice, share experiences, and celebrate your victories, big and small.

For more insights, advice, and shared experiences that honor the beauty and realities of pregnant women, we invite you to visit Babe by HATCH. Empower your journey with knowledge and embrace the magic of motherhood.