Having a baby is one of the most exciting things that will ever happen to you, but it can also wreak havoc on your body. Of the many unpleasant side effects, varicose veins, can be one of the most embarrassing. Though they are usually harmless, they pop up on the lower half of your body — usually your legs — and may appear blue or purple, twisted, or swollen. They can also be discouraging when you want to wear shorts, a bathing suit, or a skirt. They can even be itchy and sore. However, there are some things you can do to potentially help prevent them.

Go for a walk.

With your doctor’s approval, a little exercise is a great way to stay healthy during pregnancy, but because it improves your circulation, it may also be a great way to keep varicose veins to a minimum. Simply going for a 30-minute walk once or twice a day can really get your blood pumping.

Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.

Whether you have a job that requires you sit or stand for long periods of time or it is just part of your lifestyle, staying in one position can lead to varicose veins, even when you are not pregnant. When you do sit, keep your legs elevated and avoid crossing them at the knees. When standing, flex and roll your ankles. Prop one foot on a small box or stool and alternate with the other foot occasionally.

Keep an eye on the scale.

Gaining weight during pregnancy can’t be avoided and is necessary for a healthy baby, but most women should only gain around 30 pounds unless their doctor suggests otherwise. This means you cannot use the pregnancy as an excuse to eat as much as you want and sit around all day. The extra weight puts even more pressure on those veins.

Consider compression hose.

Wearing compression hose during your pregnancy can provide your veins with a little extra support. Be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure this is a safe option for you. They work best when you put them on first thing in the morning. It is also important to avoid tight clothing, underwear, and accessories. Even tight socks and shoes can restrict blood flow.

Eat plenty of foods rich with vitamin C.

Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins when it comes to maintaining strong veins. Your body needs it to produce the proteins required to repair the tissue in the blood vessels. Be sure to include plenty of the following foods in your diet:

  • Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Kale
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Guava

When you cannot prevent varicose veins during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, it’s possible you may still end up with varicose veins. After all, your body is producing extra blood for the baby, and that extra blood adds pressure to the vein walls as it makes it way up from your legs towards your heart. If varicose veins tend to run in your family, they may be unavoidable. The good news is that some women who experience them during pregnancy often see them disappear after the birth of their babies. And even if they do not go away on their own, there are many simple medical procedures available to help rid your legs of them or reduce their appearance and make you the hottest new mom in town!

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