During pregnancy, your body will go through a variety of changes. Pregnancy can come with a couple of discomforts aside from the all-too-common morning sickness. The last thing you want to deal with is tired, achy, swollen feet, blood clots or varicose veins. I think we can all agree that swollen legs and spider veins are just not something any of us want! Unfortunately, many first time mommas don’t even know that these are some side effects that could be awaiting them - or how to prevent them.
Did you know during a typical pregnancy the body will produce about 50 percent more body fluids and blood to meet the needs of the developing baby? Due to the increased blood and fluid, swelling becomes a normal part of pregnancy. Normal swelling also known as edema can be experienced in the hands, legs, ankles, and feet. Typically the swelling of ankles and/or feet will start around 27 weeks or 7 months. While mild edema is common, you should always consult your doctor when severe swelling does not go away.
Will compression socks and stockings help reduce leg pain during pregnancy?
In most cases, yes. Compression socks and stockings apply graduated pressure to the legs to help push blood and fluid back up the leg. They are great for relieving edema and the pain caused by swelling.
Pregnancy hormones are one of the main reasons that moms-to-be will develop varicose veins, which are enlarged, often bulging, blue veins that appear on the legs. Varicose veins affect up to 35 percent of first time pregnant women and 55 percent of women who have had two or more full-term pregnancies. Varicose veins will develop around the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy due to a change in the consistency of blood, an increase in blood volume and increased pressure on leg veins due to the baby’s position.
Can compression socks and stockings prevent varicose veins during pregnancy?
Yes. Compression socks and stockings can help treat and relieve varicose veins.
The best ways to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy are to:
1. Avoid sitting for long periods of time
2. Get regular exercise
3. Wear compression socks and stockings
Can compression socks and stockings prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
No, compression socks and stockings will not prevent them, however, they will help reduce your risk of developing them.
What compression level should I wear?
We recommend wearing 15-20mmHg if you have never worn compression socks or stockings before. Anything higher than 15-20mmHg should be recommended by your doctor.
Can I sleep in compression socks during my pregnancy?
No, you should not sleep in compression socks or stockings.
Positive effects of wearing compression hosiery during pregnancy
- Reduces swelling
- Relieves pain
- Reduces the risk of blood clots
- Prevents varicose veins
- Improves blood flow and oxygen supply
- No side effects on mom or baby
- Does not need to be pulled over the belly
- Available in a variety of different length and styles
Compression stockings and socks are ideal for pregnant women who are struggling with swollen, painful legs. An ill-fitting compression sock or stocking will not offer any help, make sure you properly measure your legs to know which compression sock is right for you. With a wide range of styles (knee highs, thigh highs and maternity stockings), colors and sizes available you’re sure to find the perfect pair of compression hosiery.