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Q: What in the Hell is THAT? (A: A Varicose Vein...)

I was pretty pleased with myself, just a few weeks ago, when, while marveling at my enormous baby belly, a friend said “You’re so lucky. You don’t have any stretch marks or anything! It’s like a big, smooth balloon.” Oh, I’d heard about the nasty side of pregnancy—the stretch marks, the veins, the hemorrhoids (God forbid)—but, well into my third trimester, I was unafflicted. Save for a lot of late-night pee-runs and some painful leg cramps, nothing truly out of the ordinary was in the works.


Or so I thought. Late last week, I discovered my first varicose vein. It’s on the outside of my right knee. It’s gross. I asked my doctor about it and she didn’t bat a lash. She said it’ll get better in the months after the baby’s born (I noted that she did not say it will go away!).


Then, over the weekend, I noticed a little red spot on my belly, just above my belly button (which has been an outie for the past several months). I thought it might be a blood vessel or something, but it’s slowly turned into a little line. It’s growing outward. It’s a stretch mark.


I’ve seen worse. Way worse. But… I now have a varicose vein, a stretch mark, and weird muscle spasms in my groin that strike randomly when I’m walking. I’d recently backed off of doing prenatal yoga because I feel like I’m not actually doing all that much at this point (the third trimester moves are largely imperceptible), and it’s really, really cold outside, so I’ve been going for fewer jaunts around the park. But, I’ve heard that exercise can help with the veins, so I’m jumping back on that bandwagon. I’m also lubing my belly up with Palmer’s oil. I know the stretch mark will probably keep growing, but hell, it can’t hurt to oil it, right? As for the muscle spasms, I think I have to just wait them out. My body’s toting around a lot of extra weight (I’ve gained 20 lbs. thus far) and fluids, and it turns out I am not impervious to the affects of that.


I’m five weeks from my due date. I’m hoping nothing too gross or extreme strikes in that time (please no hemorrhoids, please no hemorrhoids), but even if it does—and even now-- I’m so looking forward to this baby that I know I can handle it.


What fun physical surprises did you encounter in your final weeks of pregnancy, or what are you coping with now? Do you have any tips on minimizing this stuff (stretch marks, varicose veins, etc.) for a new mom-to-be? Did you try out any Old Wives Tales? What are your theories on what works?