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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Ugh. Those swollen veins are so annoying. Find out what to do if you get varicose veins during pregnancy and how to prevent them.

What are varicose veins?

Veins carry blood from your organs back to your heart, which means they're basically working against gravity. This ain't easy, especially in a pregnant lady. That’s because, thanks to your expanding uterus, increasing blood volume and changing hormones, your veins are under even more pressure than usual right now. And in the spots under the most pressure (usually your legs, but sometimes your rectum and vulva), blood can accumulate, which results in swollen -- varicose -- veins.

What are the signs of varicose veins?

You’ll notice veins are visibly dark purple or blue and are twisted and enlarged. Sometimes your legs might ache or feel heavy. Varicose veins may also cause your legs to swell and itch. The pain normally occurs if you’re sitting or standing for a long time -- so make sure you change positions often.

Are there any tests for varicose veins?

They’re recognizable by appearance. Sometimes your doctor may perform a duplex ultrasound to check the blood flow to your veins (to make sure you don’t have a blood clot).

How common are varicose veins?

They’re pretty common during pregnancy because of all that extra blood in your body and pressure on your veins.

How did I get varicose veins?

Blame it on the crazy changes in your body like increased blood flow and weight gain.

How will varicose veins affect my baby?

Luckily, they won’t affect baby, even though they’ll probably annoy you! But don’t worry -- they’re mostly harmless and tend to disappear three months to a year after delivery (see next page for treatments).

-- Paula Kashtan and Sarah Yang


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