When to Start Wearing Compression Socks During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of big physical changes for your body. You are growing a baby after all! As your uterus expands, it puts pressure on your veins. This can cause blood pools in your feet and lower legs, which can lead to swelling (edema), varicose veins, and other issues. Swelling is one of the most common discomforts throughout pregnancy. The good news is that compression socks can help! Compression socks can help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of these problems. Keep reading to learn more about when to start wearing compression socks during pregnancy.

This post does not give medical advice. Please always consult your doctor if you have any concerns about swelling or other pregnancy-related issues.

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What Causes Swelling During Pregnancy?

Swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy are common, especially in the second and third trimester. This is caused by hormonal changes that cause your body to retain more body fluids, combined with the extra weight of your baby pushing down on the leg and pelvic veins and blood vessels in your lower legs. The vena cava is a large vein that is responsible for carrying blood from the lower part of the body back to your heart. During pregnancy, this vein can become compressed as your uterus enlarges, causing swelling.

Your body also has an increase in blood volume during pregnancy, which adds to the problem. The extra fluid can lead to edema (swelling), which can cause discomfort such as leg pain.

Mild swelling is normal during pregnancy and usually is not a cause for concern. Severe swelling can be a sign of preeclampsia, a life-threatening condition that can develop during pregnancy. If you have any unusual symptoms such as severe swelling, sudden weight gain, extra pressure, or high blood pressure, contact your healthcare provider to seek immediate medical attention.

Some pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing more swelling. These can include women who are pregnant for the first time, those carrying multiple babies, and those with existing health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). Women who have jobs that require being on your feet for an extended period of time are also at a higher risk.

A close up of a pregnant woman's belly.  She holds her belly with both hands.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks are specifically designed to provide support and compression to your feet and legs. They target the lower half of your body, where most of the swelling usually occurs during pregnancy. The pressure from the socks helps improve circulation, which can reduce swelling and discomfort.

Excess swelling in the body can lead to bigger issues, like varicose veins. These are thick, rope-like veins that appear on the legs and can be painful. Compression socks help reduce the risk of varicose veins by preventing excess blood from pooling in your lower extremities.

Deep vein thrombosis is another condition that compression socks can help prevent. Deep vein thrombosis refers to blood clots in the legs and it is a serious complication of pregnancy. Compression socks provide a gentle pressure on your veins, improving circulation and reducing the risk of this condition.

Compression socks can also help reduce venous insufficiency. This is a condition where your veins are unable to properly pump blood back up your legs, resulting in swelling and pain. Wearing the right socks will help improve this condition by providing the right kind of support to your lower extremities.

What Are The Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks During Pregnancy?

There are many benefits of wearing pregnancy compression socks, including:

• Reduced swelling and edema in your feet, calf muscles, and lower limbs

• Improved blood circulation which can reduce fatigue, cramping and the development of varicose veins and spider veins

• Support for leg cramps, muscle fatigue, joints and ligaments caused by extra weight during pregnancy

• Reduced risk of life-threatening complications like a pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis

When Should I Start Wearing Compression Socks During Pregnancy?

It is best to start wearing compression socks as soon as you recognize the signs of swelling and discomfort in the lower body. This can be anytime during your pregnancy, but it is recommended to start wearing them early on in order to get the maximum benefits from them. You should also wear them when standing or walking for extended periods of time.

It is important to note that compression garments are not a substitute for good health care during pregnancy. Always talk to your healthcare professionals before wearing them, and make sure you get the right size and compression level for your needs. Wearing the wrong type of sock can actually do more harm than good.

Best Compression Socks During Pregnancy

When shopping for a pair of compression socks, look for comfortable ones made of breathable fabric. It is important to make sure the socks fit correctly and are the right size to ensure the perfect fit. This will ensure that they provide the right level of compression and support.

The socks come in different levels of compression. Make sure you buy a pair that is for your shoe size and is the right amount of compression (listed in mm hg). The higher the number, the more compression they provide. Ones that are knee-high compression socks and have extra cushioning around the ankles are a great choice during your entire pregnancy and even post-partum.

Compression leggings are also a great option for everyday wear if you want to cover more of your legs. It is always a good idea to talk to your health care professionals before using compression socks or leggings to make sure they are the right choice for you.

The compression wear can be purchased online, in retail stores, or in medical supply stores. Here are a few good options.

Kindred Bravely Maternity Compression Socks

These knee-high socks are designed to support your legs and help reduce discomfort during pregnancy. They have extra cushioning around the ankles and feet for added comfort. It is recommended you put them on at the start of the day to help keep the leg swelling at bay.

Kindred Bravely Maternity Compression Socks 2-Pack | 20-30 mmHg Compression Socks for Pregnancy

BELAIR Maternity Compression Socks

These are a great pair of maternity compression socks that come in a variety of fun colors. You can wear them for support, while still looking stylish. Wearing them helps reduce the appearance of varicose veins. This brand has the most styles and colors available along with providing comfort and support.

Maternity Compression Socks | Pregnancy Sock Stocking - All Day Soft Comfort Fit

Wanderlust Maternity Compression Socks

This brand contains effective compression and has many benefits for the circulatory system, including increased blood flow. They are easy to put on and should last long enough to make it through the end of your pregnancy.

Maternity Compression Socks-Multi Fit Compression Stockings for Pregnancy

CHARMKING 3 Pairs Copper Compression Socks for Women

These are not made specifically for pregnant women, but are available at a lower compression. You may want to start out with a lower compression and then switch to a higher one if these are not effective enough. It is a great choice for if you have to stand for long periods of time throughout your day. They also come in a variety of colors.

CHARMKING Compression Socks for Women & Men Circulation (3 Pairs) 15-20 mmHg is Best Support for Athletic Running Cycling

Compression socks can be an invaluable tool during pregnancy as they help reduce swelling, blood clots, cramping and other unpleasant symptoms. They are often the first thing recommended by some medical experts to try before having to resort to more extreme measures. The socks provide the support your feet need while also improving circulation in your legs. It is best to start wearing them early on in your pregnancy, even during the first trimester. However, they can be beneficial at any stage. Be sure to choose comfortable and breathable ones that fit properly. With the right pair of maternity compression socks, you can make your pregnancy journey a little more comfortable and enjoyable.

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