This disease is not confined to the period of pregnancy, although it most commonly occurs at that time. It seldom occurs in first pregnancy, but in subsequent pregnancies it is liable to come on the first months.
It consists of a distension and dilation of the superficial veins, which at first assume a reddish hue, but afterwards a bluish or leaden color. They become larger from standing on the feet or allowing the limb to hang. They generally commence in the ankle, and are usually confined to one both of the lower limbs. After delivery, the pressure of the pregnant uterus on the large veins of the abdomen being removed, the swelling disappears, and the veins regain their natural size. When the distension is slight, it is not painful, but if it should continue to increase, it may not only become painful, but the veins may burst.
If the limb should be painful, the patient must remain in a recumbent position a few days. It may be necessary also to apply the laced stocking, or bandage the limb. If this is done, it should be applied in the morning when the veins are the least distended, commencing at the toes and progressing upwards with a gentle and equal pressure.
If medicines are required, Arnica, Nux-v., or Pulsa-tilla may be given, commencing with the first, and giving six globules every other night for a week, and then, unless relieved, following with the next in the same manner.