Pregnancy is full of expectant joy until reality kicks in. Your body is calling out to you at all hours in ways you had not anticipated, and hello nightly bathroom breaks. You're extremely tired, possibly a bit cranky, and your legs and feet keep swelling up! It's amazing to be growing a baby, but it's certainly not all glamorous.
*Note we are not doctors and the following recommendations are based on personal experience only. Seek medical attention and care if you are in pain or have doubts about anything you're experiencing.
Body Changes During Pregnancy
Pregnancy comes with incredible physical changes because of the hormonal changes flooding the body. During pregnancy, your body will produce 50% (approximately) more blood and other bodily fluids. The extra blood acts as a necessary reserve, but also allows more blood to pool.
Consequently, many pregnant women experience common symptoms like tired, heavy, and aching legs. Varicose veins (spider veins) are another symptom that may also appear during your pregnancy and relapse even later. During pregnancy, this symptom comes from extra hormones and the pressure a growing uterus exerts on the veins. You may experience swelling in your legs, feet, and ankles.
In addition, more clotting agents appear in the blood, and pregnant women are at higher risk for deep vein thrombosis. Improved circulation helps to alleviate risks of DVT. Maternity compression stockings help to reduces the risk of blood clots since the blood is flowing through the veins instead of pooling.
What Are Compression Socks?
Compression socks are a simple, non-invasive cure for management of swelling and varicose veins. They exert pressure on your legs, typically in a graduated fashion, aiding blood flow. Specialized compression stockings are meant to make the arteries in your legs relax, allowing the blood to flow freely.
Compression socks have become popular among athletes for the expected ability to increase oxygen delivery, prevent cramps, and reduce muscle fatigue. After all, building a baby is a workout too!
From providing a sense of relief and warmth to keeping your legs from getting tired and achy, compression socks help to ease swollen legs. They come in an array of style and designs along with different compression levels.
How To Choose Compression Socks
Before you purchase compression socks from the market there are certain factors to consider. First and foremost, you have to decide upon the type of compression sock you want. There are mainly three types of compression socks available:
- Knee-high sock- Alleviates local pain and swelling
- Thigh-high sock/stocking- Reduces pain and swelling but also help with the thigh area
- Full-length sock/stocking- provides comfort to the whole leg in addition to aiding back pain
Level Of Compression
Compression socks are assigned with numbers that show their level of compression. A larger number means more pressure. The unit of measurement (mmHg) is called ‘millimeters of mercury’ – a measurement of pressure. In most cases mild to moderate pressure will suffice for pregnant women, but here is the scale:
- Mild (8-15mmHg)
- Moderate 15-20mmHg:
Moderate compression is suitable if you are experiencing mild swelling in your legs. The compression level is firm enough to fight minor swelling and can also help you prevent varicose veins.
- Firm 20-30mmHg:
This level of compression fits those experiencing severe varicose veins and a fair amount of swelling.
- Extra Firm 30-40mmHg:
To prevent deep vein thrombosis extra firm pressure is typically the best.
- BlueTree Compression Socks - Affordable Option
- MadeMother Maternity Compression Socks - 90 day Money Back Guaranteed
- Blitzu Compression Socks - Premium Recovery With Calf Support
- Jomi Compression Thigh High Compression Socks/Stockings - Thigh High Surgical Stocking
- ToFly Thigh High Compression Socks: Lightweight Option
These compression socks offer 15-20mmHg compression, are comfortable and lightweight enough for summer.
- Anti-bacteria properties to promote foot health
- Prevent blood clots
- Prevent varicose veins
- Sometimes make you feel too hot and sweaty down the legs
- Consult your doctor before wearing due to higher compression levels
This product boasts graduated compression : 25-30mmHg at ankle and foot, 15-20mmHg at mid-leg and calf, and 10-15mmHg under the knee. For sizing there's a helpful chart on the Amazon product page, but for M-L for calf circumference is 11-14", women's shoe size 5-9, L-XL is for calf circumference 14-17.5", women's shoe 9.5-12.
These socks are suitable year round, with knee high adjustable sleeve cuffs and made of breathable cotton that keeps you warm.
These socks are developed with sports in mind, combining the stability of kinesiology taping with breathable fabric. These compression socks go right beneath the knee and provide ample pressure to help with recovery.
Designed to provide more pressure (20-30mmHg), the appropriate size should be chosen based on the exact ankle, calf, and thigh circumference chart offered. A silicon band holds the stockings up, and these are approved for Class II gradient compression therapy.
ToFly Thigh High Compression Socks: compression socks for treating Edema, Swelling, and Varicose veins
- High-grade compression – 20-30mmHG
- Suitable for those who often stand or maintain a long posture time
- Make your thighs look think and keeps them thin
- Open toe design does not provide as much support to the ankles
These compression socks boast a silicone band that prevents the socks from sliding down. The open toe design ensures your toes aren’t compressed. Anti-bacterial and sweat absorbant properties also help.
Compression socks may not be immediately comfortable, but they play a crucial role in easing the swelling and pain by avoiding blood clots.
What are your favorite compression socks?