When to Start Wearing Compression Socks During Pregnancy?

Oh, motherhood! Most women await this time of their lives. The idea of carrying a tiny human being in your belly is surreal, and let’s not forget about the bundle of joy when you already meet in person! The anticipation brings so much excitement!
But before arriving at that momentous event of motherhood, we need to have this real talk on the table. It is still nine months of carrying another being in your uterus that grows every week. And another nine months of abnormal changes in both physical and physiological states. In reality, it takes a toll on your body but more so on your lower extremities, especially in the third trimester.

1. Physiological Changes in Pregnancy That Affects the Legs

  • Circulatory Changes - as the blood volume increases to accommodate the fetus, resulting in a higher heart rate. Change in blood circulation affects the blood vessels because of blood flow increase.
  • Edema - due to the growing uterus, the weight compresses onto the blood vessels and lymphatic system, which results in fluid retention at the legs.
  • Joint Mobility - during pregnancy, the body releases different hormones to sustain the baby in the womb. One of those hormones is called relaxin. Relaxin loosens the ligaments resulting in instability, especially at the ankle areas, and this puts the pregnant woman at risk for injuries.
  • Venous Problems - varicose, spider veins, and hemorrhoids appear because of poor blood circulation and edema. The veins react to the amount of blood and fluids it accumulates, resulting in these vein complications.
  • Leg Cramps - this takes place every night of the third trimester, where fetal growth is quickly accelerating. There are no known causes why this occurs, but perhaps it has something to do with either abundance or lack of specific nutrients in the body which go to the fetus.
As the body allot the womb for the baby to grow in, it becomes burdensome for the expectant mother. There are other physiological effects of pregnancy in a woman’s body, although these are the more noticeable manifestations that can be seen and felt.

2. Can Wearing of Compression Stockings Help Pregnant Women

With these changes that slowly occur in pregnancy, it is recommended to wear compression socks or stockings because of all the adjustments that are taking place. Research has shown that wearing compression legwear at the beginning of gestation helps alleviate symptoms throughout the nine months.
So the best time to use compression legwear is at the onset of the pregnancy until six months post-delivery. It will provide leg support during and therapy after.

3. How Do Compression Socks Help Pregnant Women

There is only one function that compression legwear provides: supplying pressure. Depending on the type and length of compression stockings, it will apply specific pressure on particular areas of the legs and even up to the abdomen.
Compression socks can relieve those ailments when there is swelling or discomfort on the legs by supporting muscle tissues with the pressure. It hinders the blood vessels from dilating, preventing blood from flowing in different directions.
Here is how compression socks assist in pregnancy:
  • Boosts blood flow towards the heart
  • Prevents blood from back flowing or remaining stagnant in the veins of the lower extremities
  • It helps shrink the major blood vessels
All of these transpire because of the tension that the compression socks provide where support needs it most. And by this, you should also know which type is appropriate and what compression level is required for expecting mothers.

4. How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks While Pregnant

If you are dealing with varicose veins or edema, you have to wear them almost the whole day and have them removed at night. Resting your feet from compression can provide more balance on the condition of your legs.
On the other hand, if you are not experiencing any of the said symptoms, you can wear compression socks when necessary, like if you will be on your feet for long periods, while driving, or on a flight. You can also wear them to improve your blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.

5. In Summary

Compression socks are recommended to be used by pregnant women on the day you find out you’re pregnant. It will help your legs adjust to bodily changes as pregnancy progresses each month. Gestational symptoms may be relieved and help avoid venous problems and terrible edema. It is already difficult to carry an extra load on the belly, and it will be more difficult when there is pain and discomfort on the legs. Save yourself from experiencing avoidable circumstances during pregnancy and treat your legs well by wearing compression socks.

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