It's no secret that pregnancy comes with physical discomfort! Nurturing new life is magical, but it has some obvious drawbacks to your legs, ankles, and feet. As pregnancy progresses, your body retains extra fluid and makes more blood to nourish your growing baby. Because your hormones cause the walls of your veins to relax, blood can build up in your legs and feet. All of this can lead to edema (swelling), varicose veins, leg cramps and foot pain - oops! The good news is that you can fix these unpleasant leg and foot problems by wearing compression stockings 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. Normal pregnancy swelling increases gradually throughout the day and then decreases as you lift your feet or sleep at night. When you wake up in the morning, the swelling should have mostly gone because you've been in a horizontal position for a few hours. If your swelling fits this description, then compression stockings can provide significant relief. If the swelling is very severe, one leg is more swollen than the other, or you have high blood pressure and are swollen, contact your doctor right away!
How do compression socks work?
Compression stockings gently squeeze your feet and legs, massaging muscles and forcing blood back to the rest of your body. This improves your blood circulation and prevents swelling. If you have to stand all day, swollen feet and legs are a given without the help of compression stockings.
The benefits of wearing compression stockings during pregnancy
The main benefit of compression stockings is that they improve blood circulation in the legs during pregnancy. By squeezing your legs, they gently reduce the diameter of the blood vessels. This improves the ability of the veins to push blood back to the heart. Improved circulation has many positive side effects:
Reduced swelling: The improved blood flow caused by compression stockings reduces the annoying, painful swelling that pregnant women are all too familiar with.
Reduced risk of blood clots: Any time blood pools or is not circulating well, the risk of blood clotting is higher than normal. By improving blood circulation, compression stockings can greatly reduce the chance of blood clots in the legs.
Relieves discomfort: The reduction in swelling can also relieve foot pain during pregnancy.
Preventing 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 stockings can prevent varicose veins by improving blood circulation.
Helps stay on your feet: By reducing swelling and discomfort, compression stockings can help you stay active and reduce missed activities. It's easier to stand up when your legs and feet aren't swollen and painful!
How should compression stockings be used during pregnancy?
To keep swelling in the bud and ensure minimal discomfort, you should put on compression stockings before waking up in the morning. This will prevent swelling of your legs and feet in the first place. Wear them throughout the day and only take them off at night when you prop up your feet. Compression stockings should be comfortable but not painful. If they're painful, that's a good sign that you need to adjust.
What to Look for When Buying Maternity Compression Stockings
For most pregnant women with normal swelling, a pressure of 15-20 mmHg is ideal for relief of swelling and leg pain. This is on the lighter end of the compression spectrum, which makes them easy to wear all day. Gradient compression socks have more compression on the foot, then relax toward the calf. This provides a better fit and is more comfortable to wear for hours. While there are ankle-high compression socks, knee-high socks are better for calf circulation.
What is the difference between the types of compression stockings?
Morning leg pain or varicose veins in the thigh during pregnancy are synonymous with venous insufficiency during pregnancy. Therefore, in order to solve such problems, it is recommended to use compression stockings.
Ankle, mid-knee or pantyhose, there are different types of compression stockings. For pregnant women, compression tights adapt to their changing conditions because the abdomen has an elastic stretch triangle for optimal comfort and the development of pregnancy. Tights are often favored for their complete support, but stockings are handy when wearing panties!
Another very important element is the category of compression stockings.
The first category represents prophylactic stockings, suitable for those who are sensitive to venous problems or pregnant women without high risk of venous insufficiency (15-20 mmHg). The second category is recommended for pregnant women when the risk is higher and confirmed by a doctor (20-30 mmHg).
How to put on compression stockings?
Here are some tips to make putting on your compression garment easier:
Make sure your legs are dry
Be sure to use suitable rubber gloves when putting on and taking off stockings or compression garments due to better grip. Use technical aids.
Beware of long fingernails, jewelry, rough heels, damaged shoes, or anything else that could damage your compression garments.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight.
How to care for compression stockings and clothing?
- Wash stockings daily in warm water with mild soap. Do not add fabric softener.
- Hand or machine wash (unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise).
- Rinse stockings in clean, warm water.
- Do not twist your socks and avoid direct heat (dryer, radiator, sun).
- Dry them with a dry towel, prefer to dry them in the open air.
- Do not iron your socks.
For the best relief of swollen feet and legs during pregnancy, we recommend Feetures' Women's Knee-Length Graduated Compression Socks. With 15-20mmHg pressure at the ankle, high density cushioning, anatomical left and right foot design, and moisture wicking fabric, these compression socks are a premium treatment for your lower extremity problems. Buy a few pairs of shoes, say goodbye to discomfort, and kick your sore legs to the curb. As a mom-to-be, you have enough things to worry about -- swollen feet and legs don't have to be one of them!