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Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged blood vessels. They can occur anywhere on the bottom half of the body, but most commonly affect the legs. There are a number of reasons people get varicose veins, but pregnancy certainly increases your risk. Varicose veins present as purple or blue veins that are very noticeable, and might protrude from the skin a bit. Are you wondering what causes varicose veins during pregnancy, and if there is anything you can do to prevent them?

Varicose veins are often hereditary, believe it or not! If your mother, grandmother, or sisters got varicose veins during pregnancy, you are much likely to get them, too. The blood volume increases when you are pregnant, which puts more stress on blood vessels throughout your body. The lower half is hit the hardest. You can notice varicose veins during pregnancy, but it is also not unusual to not get them until after you give birth, as a delayed response.

Thankfully, there are things you can do at home to help prevent them, or treat them. Prenatal yoga poses that relieve pressure on the legs, like a headstand or shoulder stand, are said to help prevent varicose veins. Prenatal swimming and walking can also help because they improve blood circulation and aid digestion. Of course, you have no wish to look like your grandmother just because you are expecting a baby. So-called "support stockings" can be useful though, especially if you are flying during pregnancy. Making sure that you get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals might also help your circulation, particularly vitamins A, C, E, and B complex. In addition, witch hazel can be applied to the varicose veins if you already got them. Herbalists say that nettle leaf tea and fresh parsley are good for the veins, and may help improve or prevent varicose veins in pregnancy.

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