February 19, 2024

6 Safe and Effective Ways to Treat Varicose Veins After Pregnancy

Worried about your varicose veins after pregnancy? Here are six safe and effective ways that you can do to treat them.

While pregnancy is a unique and wonderful time, it can also be when many pregnant women begin to notice varicose veins. Around 40% of pregnant women develop varicose veins due to the extra strain on the blood vessels while pregnant.

In some cases, varicose veins may disappear altogether after pregnancy, typically within six to twelve weeks after giving birth. However, safe, effective, and minimally invasive treatments are available in cases where they remain after pregnancy.

In this blog post, we will discuss six of these treatment options. Keep reading!

Why does pregnancy cause varicose veins?

A pregnant woman and varicose veins

There are many reasons why pregnancy can cause varicose veins. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • During pregnancy, the blood volume increases in a woman's body, but the main blood vessels cannot continually expand to accommodate the extra blood circulation. The added pressure on the blood vessels can cause them to become damaged and twisted, leading to varicose veins.
  • The extra weight gain from pregnancy and a growing uterus can put additional pressure on the pelvic blood vessels and veins in your legs and make blood flow difficult, which can cause the veins to become enlarged and twisted. 
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy also play a role in causing varicose veins. Fluctuating hormone levels relax the walls of your blood vessels, making it easier for the valves in your veins to become damaged, particularly in the lower half of a woman's body.
  • Being overweight or obese, having a family history of varicose veins, and standing or sitting for long periods without moving are other factors that can contribute to the development of varicose veins during pregnancy.

While varicose veins during pregnancy are relatively common and usually not cause for concern, in rare cases, they can lead to severe problems such as blood clots or ulcers.

If you experience any severe pain, swelling, or bleeding from your veins, you should contact your physician or vein doctor immediately. These could be signs of a more serious condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be dangerous for you and your baby.

Can varicose veins be prevented during pregnancy?

Pregnant woman drinking water to stay hydrated

You can take measures to prevent varicose veins from developing during pregnancy. Some of these include:

  • Avoid sitting or standing for extended periods.
  • Exercise regularly throughout your pregnancy.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Sleep on your left side

If you follow these tips, you may be able to prevent or minimize varicose or spider veins from developing during pregnancy. However, if you develop varicose veins, talk to your doctor about treatment options and ways to improve circulation. Some available treatments can help relieve any discomfort or pain you may be experiencing and help varicose veins go away.

Do varicose veins go away after pregnancy?

Legs with spider veins after pregnancy

Unfortunately, there is no absolute answer to whether varicose veins will go away after pregnancy. A study showed that most women who developed varicose veins during pregnancy would notice that they disappear or diminish within six to twelve weeks after giving birth. However, in about 25% of women, varicose veins are visible six months after pregnancy.

Several factors can influence whether or not your varicose veins go away after pregnancy. One is how severe your case is. If you only have a few small spider veins after your pregnancy, it's more likely they will diminish a few months after giving birth. However, they may only partially disappear if you have more prominent or pronounced varicose veins.

Another factor to consider is how many pregnancies you've had. In general, each successive pregnancy worsens existing varicose veins or increases your risk of developing new ones. So, if this is your first pregnancy, you're more likely to see some improvement after delivery than if you've had multiple pregnancies.

Additionally, you are more likely to develop varicose veins during pregnancy if your mother or grandmother did. However, a family history of the condition can mean that you, too, will have a higher chance of developing it in future pregnancies.

How are varicose veins treated after pregnancy?

If you have varicose or spider veins during pregnancy, you may wonder how to treat the symptoms after giving birth. There are several things you can do to treat postpartum varicose veins. These include:

1. Compression Socks

Pregnant woman lying on sofa in compression stockings

Compression stocking therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat vein issues after pregnancy. They work by applying gentle pressure to the legs, which can help to reduce swelling, increase blood flow in blood vessels, and prevent the formation of new varicose veins. Various compression stockings are available on the market, so be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist to find the right type for you.

2. Regular Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to treat vein issues after pregnancy. By keeping active, you can help improve blood circulation and prevent the formation of new varicose veins. Regular exercise can also help strengthen the muscles in your legs and the walls of your blood vessels. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, and cycling are ideal during pregnancy and post-pregnancy.

3. Elevate Your Legs

Elevate legs

Elevating your legs above your heart is another simple and effective way to treat varicose veins after giving birth. Doing so can help reduce the pressure and increase blood flow, which will also prevent blood pooling in the lower legs! Try lying down and placing a pillow under your feet or sitting in a recliner with your legs propped up on pillows.

If home remedies are not enough to improve the appearance of your varicose veins, there are safe, effective treatments available, including:

4. Sclerotherapy


Sclerotherapy is a very effective medical procedure that involves injecting a solution, known as a sclerosant, into unhealthy veins. The solution works to collapse the vein, which then fades from view as blood flow is rerouted to nearby healthy veins. 

5. Endovenous Laser Therapy

Endovenous laser ablation is also an effective, minimally invasive treatment used to treat varicose veins. During the procedure, a laser fiber is inserted into the unhealthy vein via ultrasound guidance. Once in place, pulses of light energy destroy the vein and seal the affected vein.

6. Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radio waves to heat and destroys unhealthy veins. Typically performed under local anesthesia, RFA usually takes less than an hour to complete.

If you are considering any of the above treatment options, discuss them with your doctor to see which one is right. With proper treatment, you can minimize the appearance of varicose veins and prevent them from getting worse, which can lead to a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do varicose veins start to appear during pregnancy?

Varicose veins usually appear during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. However, if you have a family history of varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them during pregnancy and may notice that they remain post-partum or after delivery.

Can varicose veins harm the baby during pregnancy?

In general, varicose veins during pregnancy are not harmful to the baby. Some women develop a condition known as pelvic congestion syndrome (PVCS or PCS) where varicose veins develop in and around the pelvic area as the baby grows. While PCS can be painful and uncomfortable for the pregnant mother, the good news is that PCS does not effect the baby.

As always, if you are concerned or have worrisome symptoms, contact your doctor to discuss treatment options.

Can varicose veins burst during pregnancy?

Varicose veins during pregnancy are prevalent and generally harmless. However, in exceptionally rare cases, varicose veins located on the surface of the uterus can spontaneously rupture, which can pose a threat to bother the mother and baby.

If you are concerned about uncomfortable or painful symptoms during pregnancy, speak with your doctor or midwife. They will be able to advise you on how to manage symptoms and help reduce your risk of developing complications.

What makes varicose veins worse during pregnancy?

There are a few things that can make varicose veins worse during pregnancy. One is that as your baby grows, extra pressure is put on the veins in your pelvis and legs. This increased downward pressure makes it harder for blood flowing back to the heart, which can cause blood to pool in the veins, making them more enlarged.

Also, increased and fluctuating levels of pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone, relaxes the walls of your blood vessels, causing them to widen, which can lead to the pooling of blood in your veins and make them more pronounced. Finally, standing for long periods or sitting with your legs crossed can also contribute to worsening varicose veins by causing blood to pool in the veins and slow circulation.


Many pregnant women find it a relief to know that there are safe and effective varicose vein treatment options after pregnancy.

If you are pregnant or have varicose veins that have not gone away after childbirth, contact Vein Envy today and schedule a consultation. Our highly trained, board-certified vein specialists can help you determine the best post-partum treatment options for lingering varicose or spider veins.


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