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Parents > Q&A > Pregnancy and Infants > Why Do Some Pregnant Women Get Varicose Veins?
Why Do Some Pregnant Women Get Varicose Veins?

I’m 6 months pregnant and am starting to get weird bluish-purple veins on my legs. What are these and why am I getting them?
- Tyneesha

A common and usually harmless part of pregnancy for some women, varicose veins happen when the uterus applies pressure to the large vein (the inferior vena cava) that carries blood back to the heart from your feet and legs.

Varicose veins can become itchy, uncomfortable, or even painful and are usually found in the legs, genital area, and rectum (hemorrhoids are just a type of varicose veins).

Varicose veins tend to be hereditary — your mother or grandmother may have gotten them during pregnancy, too. So, unfortunately, there's not much you can do to prevent them.

But here are some ways to reduce varicose vein pain and avoid making the veins worse:

If you notice that the veins feel hard, warm, or painful, or the skin over them looks red, call your doctor.

Varicose veins often get better after delivery, when the uterus is no longer pushing on the inferior vena cava.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2013

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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