It’s no secret that pregnancy comes with its share of bodily woes! Growing a new life is magical, but it has some definite drawbacks for your legs, ankles, and feet. As pregnancy progresses, your body retains extra fluids and manufactures more blood to provide for your growing baby. Because your hormones cause the walls of your veins to relax, blood can pool in your legs and feet. All of this results in edema (swelling), varicose veins, leg cramps, and aching feet – yikes! The good news is that you can combat these unpleasant leg and foot issues by wearing compression socks or stockings during pregnancy.
What Kind of Swelling Is Normal During Pregnancy?
Up to 80% of women experience swollen feet and legs in the third trimester of pregnancy. Normal pregnancy swelling builds throughout the day, then lessens when you put your feet up for the night or go to sleep. By the time you wake up in the morning, the swelling should be mostly gone because you’ve been in a horizontal position for hours. If your swelling fits this description, then compression socks can provide significant relief. If the swelling is extreme, one leg is more swollen than the other, or you have high blood pressure along with swelling, contact your OB right away!
How Do Compression Socks Work?
Compression socks gently squeeze your feet and legs, massaging the muscles and forcing blood to flow back up to the rest of the body. This improves your circulation and prevents swelling. If you have to be on your feet all day, swollen feet and legs are a given without the aid of compression socks.
Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks During Pregnancy
The main benefit of compression socks is that they improve circulation in your legs during pregnancy. By squeezing your legs, they gently reduce the diameter of the blood vessels. This improves the veins’ ability to push blood back up to the heart. Improving your circulation has many positive side effects:
- Reduced swelling: The improved blood flow caused by compression socks reduces that annoying, painful swelling that pregnant women are so familiar with.
- Reduced risk of blood clots: Anytime blood is pooling or failing to circulate well, the risk of clotting is higher than normal. By improving circulation, compression socks greatly reduce the chances of a blood clot in your legs.
- Relief of discomfort: The reduction in swelling also eases the aches and pains that come with being on your feet while pregnant.
- Prevention of varicose veins: Varicose veins are a common side effect of poor circulation in the legs during pregnancy. Many women find these dark purple or blue veins on their legs unsightly. Compression socks can prevent varicose veins by improving circulation.
- Help staying on your feet: By reducing swelling and discomfort, compression socks can help you stay active and miss out on fewer activities. Staying on your feet is easier when you’re not suffering from swollen, achy legs and feet!
How Should You Use Compression Socks During Pregnancy?
To nip swelling in the bud and ensure minimum discomfort, you should put on your compression socks right before you get out of bed in the morning. This will prevent your legs and feet from swelling in the first place. Wear them as you go about your day, taking them off only when you prop your feet up for the evening. Compression socks should be snug but not painful. If they are painful, that’s a good sign that you need to size up.
What to Look For When Buying Compression Socks for Pregnancy
For most pregnant women with normal swelling, 15–20 mmHg of compression is ideal to relieve swelling and leg pain. This is on the lighter end of the compression spectrum, which makes them easy to wear all day. Graduated compression socks feature stronger compression at the feet, then ease up as they go towards the calf. This provides a better fit and is more comfortable for hours of wear. While there are ankle high compression socks, knee-high socks are better to promote circulation in your calves.
What Are the Best Compression Socks for Pregnancy?
For the best relief for swollen feet and legs during pregnancy, we recommend Feetures’ knee-high graduated compression socks for women. With 15-20 mmHg of compression at the ankle, high-density cushioning, an anatomical left and right foot design, and moisture-wicking fabric, these compression socks are a high-quality cure for your lower limb woes. Invest in a few pairs to say goodbye to discomfort and kick aching legs to the curb. You’ve got enough things to worry about as a mom-to-be – swollen feet and legs don’t have to be one of them!