Pregnancy compression socks are essential. This is because your legs need to withstand a lot of pressure during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and growth of the womb. Because your body produces nearly 50% more body fluid when you’re pregnant, lower leg swelling is a common condition that can lead to pain and discomfort. Especially during the third trimester, the extra fluid can cause severe swelling, leg pain, and even shin splints.
Maternity compression socks are great to use on a daily basis to help promote blood flow and reduce venous insufficiency. Compression socks during pregnancy can prevent tension and heaviness in the legs. It can also help to alleviate skin stretching which can also be extremely uncomfortable. Wearing compression socks during pregnancy can help with this discomfort by pushing fluid out of the lower legs and they can promote better blood circulation in the legs. Keep reading to check out our top picks for compression socks for pregnancy-related swelling.
Why Wear Compression Socks during Pregnancy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pregnant women have a five times increased risk of blood clots than nonpregnant women. The blood in the pregnant woman is more inclined to clot. This is thought to provide defense against losing too much blood during labor. Leg tension and swelling are signs of possible deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This very serious condition requires immediate medical attention. If you are a pregnant woman going on a long-haul flight then it is even more important to have better circulation in your lower limbs.
DVT symptoms include painful swelling, discolored skin, redness, and a feeling of warmth. In this condition, blood clots develop in the legs and pelvis, which break off and reach to lungs, saucing a pulmonary embolism.
Wearing compression socks may prevent blood clots by keeping the blood flowing and preventing stagnation. They can also help to prevent the development of varicose veins. It is also important to stay mobile and let your doctor know about any extremity swelling or severe symptoms you may have. Furthermore, different compression levels can be used to apply gentle pressure to help get the fluid moving in the right direction.
Best Compression Socks For Pregnancy
The internet can be overwhelming when it comes to choices on this. When considering which ones to buy, think about where your swelling is and make sure that the sock has a decent amount of pressure. Regular socks will not help to effectively move the body fluids and you should purchase socks with medical grade compression. This is about 20 to 30 mm Hg of pressure and the pressure should gradually increase from bottom to top so that fluid can be pushed upwards.
If your swelling is mainly in your foot, then choose a compression sleeve that helps push fluid out of the foot. You can then alternate this with a compression sleeve that pushes fluid up from the ankle and calf. If you need compression over your foot to help with swelling and alleviate tight-fitting shoes, try these 20-30mmHg graduated compression sleeves that also have arch support. We recommend a brand that has a graduated medical compression strength of 20-30mmHg over the ankle and calf area. It may be a good idea to have both so you can alternate usage and push fluid from the feet into the ankle area and then use the second sleeve to push it from the calf higher up.
When Should You Wear Compression Socks
According to many medical experts, you can start wearing compression socks from the first trimester. However, it is more likely that you will need it in the middle of the second trimester and beyond. Within the first four months, you may notice the signs of blood stagnation, swelling of the ankles, and a pulling sensation in your calves.
Related: Round Ligament Pain In Pregnancy
Further, edema occurs more often in hot weather and late evening. So, you should ideally can put on compression socks in the morning before you get out of bed. Take off the socks upon retiring for the night or any time you would like to put your feet up for a bit. If you face difficulty putting on the stockings during the later stages of pregnancy, you can ask help from your loved ones.
Finally, compression stockings are not recommended if they do not feel good on your skin or cause any medical complications or discomfort. Undoubtedly, pregnancy involves some possible unpleasant changes and complications. Compression socks in pregnancy are an easy thing to try for women struggling with painful, swollen legs.
There are hundreds of styles and colors, along with different lengths and sizes. When buying a pair, make sure you choose the right type and size that suits your dimensions and needs and always ask your physician which strength of compression you should get.
Best Compression Socks During Pregnancy 2023: Summary
A pair of compression socks can be incredibly helpful for swollen achy legs in pregnancy. The good news is that even mild compression can be very helpful in alleviating swelling. A higher level of compression can be used to improve the fluid flow in the circulatory system. It is important that you wear compression socks during a long flight since flights and a growing baby inside you together put you at a high risk of blood clots. From a cosmetic standpoint, wearing compression garments can also help with spider veins and most healthcare professionals would agree on the many health benefits it has.
Alsheef MA, Alabbad AM, Albassam RA, et al. Pregnancy and Venous Thromboembolism: Risk Factors, Trends, Management, and Mortality.Biomed Res Int. 2020;2020:4071892. Published 2020 Apr 11. doi:10.1155/2020/4071892
Sachdeva A, Dalton M, Lees T. Graduated compression stockings for prevention of deep vein thrombosis.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;11(11):CD001484. Published 2018 Nov 3. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001484.pub4
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