I have to admit that I had fairly smooth pregnancies. Morning sickness was horrible (drugs were helpful) but I had it much easier than many moms-to-be. No matter what I tried though, I could not escape the common pregnancy issue of varicose veins.
They appeared a bit on my calves at the beginning of my first pregnancy, but quickly the real issue became my inner thigh (singular - just the left one. I don't know why.) When writing about this topic for Today's Parent, my go-to OB/GYN source, Dr. Jillian Coolen, made a point of stressing that these veins often go even higher than the inner thighs. I of course have no personal knowledge of such a sensitive subject to share with you here, but I have this, uh, friend who says she did experience varicose veins that continued past any area that could be correctly identified as "leg". Don't picture it.
A hereditary condition, I've been told that varicose veins are very common in women on my father's side (and some on my mother's) and my late grandmother underwent surgery at one point to ease the discomfort and improve appearance.
In most women, varicose veins improve significantly after pregnancy, which mine did, but even now - more than six years post-partum - every time I pull on a bathing suit I remind myself that I really should look into having something done about them. But then I remind myself not to be vain, and the weather gets cooler and they're pretty much forgotten for another year.
For the full story on varicose veins (what causes them, why they're worse when expecting, what you can do yourself to prevent them and ease symptoms during pregnancy, and the professional treatment options available afterwards) please check out my article from the July issue of Today's Parent: http://www.todaysparent.com/pregnancy/varicose-veins-pregnancy-symptoms-treatment/.
If you'd like to share photos of your own varicose veins below, you will be entered in a contest to win...totally kidding, I couldn't even get through that sentence!