That heavy feeling in your legs after a long day on your feet? Those rings around your ankles when you take off your socks? The varicose veins that only seem to get worse as your baby grows? Unfortunately, these are all common occurrences for pregnant women, and they often worsen in the third trimester. Usually, they’re nothing to worry about, and compression socks (also known as compression stockings) might help keep the discomfort of leg swelling at bay.

Why should I wear compression socks?

As your baby grows, they place more and more pressure on the veins and lymphatic vessels in your pelvis and lower body. Combined with hormonal changes and increased blood volume, this can cause a backup of fluid in the legs and pelvis, as the fluid has a harder time traveling back up against gravity. You might notice swelling in your lower extremities, varicose veins in your legs, or swelling and pressure in your pelvis. While severe swelling can be a sign of something serious, mild to moderate swelling during pregnancy is quite common and can usually be managed with a combination of lifestyle strategies and support in the form of maternity compression socks. They can also help reduce leg pain or leg cramps and soothe aching feet.

Do compression socks actually keep me healthier for the long term?

Yes, they can. The risk of developing a blood clot during pregnancy increases 4-5 times compared to women who are not pregnant. This is because there’s more pressure on the pelvic veins and structures, which can cause a backup in the circulatory system. Some of the risk of developing blood clots is genetic, and if you have a personal or family history of blood clots, speak to your care provider about ways to reduce your personal risk during pregnancy.

Though a pair of compression socks won’t eliminate the risk of developing a blood clot, they do help to support your veins which improves your blood flow. Blood that is moving doesn’t have as much of an opportunity to form a clot. Compression plus moderate exercise like walking can support your system even more […]