Varicose Veins


What are these?

These are veins whose walls have become relaxed, allowing them to become swollen, and along which the flow of blood is less efficient. They are usually visible in the legs, but can also occur in less visible areas, such as around the vulva and around the anus where they are referred to as haemorrhoids or piles. They can cause a heavy, aching feeling which gets worse if you stand for long periods.

What can I do about them?

Let your midwife or GP know if you have varicose veins that you can see, and also if you just have the heavy aching feeling in your legs or vulva, as it might be the start of varicosities developing. They will monitor them throughout the pregnancy. Support stockings can help with varicose veins in the legs, but ideally you need to put them on before you get out of bed in the morning.

It is harder to support the vulva, but lying down with a cold compress covered and placed against the area can help to constrict the blood vessels and ease the aching. You can buy a special gel pack which can be kept in a sandwich bag and cooled in the fridge, but a really cold sanitary towel placed against the outside of the underwear can work just as well.

Will they go once I've had the baby?
They might improve, but they probably wont disappear. Speak to your GP and you can be referred to have them treated if necessary.