Best Compression Stockings & Socks: Relieve Pregnancy Swelling (2020 Guide)
On the list of things that really suck about being pregnant, having your legs swell up—and all the discomfort and complications that come along with it—has got to be at the top, right?
But I’m here to tell you there’s a genius little product that can be a lifesaver:
Compression stockings and socks.
What exactly are compression stockings? They’re are an easy to use, non-invasive treatment of swelling that also prevents varicose veins.
They do come in several styles and compression levels, so it is important to do a little research before deciding which to buy.
Luckily for you, I’ve already done the work!
- Things to Know Before Getting Started
- Pregnancy & Swelling
- Reducing Swelling and Pregnancy-Related Conditions
- Important Features to Look For
- Best Compression Stockings and SocksWrapping Up
Things to Know Before Getting Started
Here are some of the lovely things that come with being pregnant: swollen legs, ankles, and feet, plus the possibility of developing spider and varicose veins.
And so to help fight this discomfort and prevent any long-lasting conditions, I recommend wearing compression stockings to help reduce swelling.
Here’s the deal: graduated compression stockings can help promote blood circulation by driving your blood upward to your heart with varying degrees of compression with the tightest around your ankles and less compression as they go up.
Graduated compression lessens the possibility of swelling and provides you with healthier legs. Fresh blood is then able to come down from your heart which brings oxygen and nutrients that your muscle and body tissue need to stay healthy.
One of the biggest benefits is that compression stockings can fight the effects of being inactive, so wearing them gives you the same results as if you were being active, helping your legs stay healthy and lessening the chances of varicose veins or DVT from developing.
It’s natural to worry about how safe it is to wear these when you’re pregnant, and while the best answer is always to check with your doctor (note: I am not a doctor!) when starting any new health measure, they have been found to be safe during pregnancy and are known to lessen your risk of developing blood clots and vein problems.
All of the compression socks listed above will help to provide you with less swelling, healthier legs, and, most importantly, a more comfortable pregnancy!
To learn more about choosing the right pair, read the buyer’s guide below, which has tons of information on what to look for and the differences between different types of products so you can compare and choose the best one for your needs.
Pregnancy & Swelling
Have you ever wondered why swelling is such a large (and crappy!) part of pregnancy?
Well, swelling is the result of what’s going on with your veins, basically.
In your first trimester, there is an increase in the amount of blood that is flowing through your veins while at the same time your vein walls are becoming more relaxed.
Your blood flow volume actually increases by as much as 45% and when you combine these two effects, your blood is going to have a hard to flowing back up to your heart! Yikes!
And when you throw in the fact that it’s hard to exercise when you’re put on 30 extra pounds, the decrease in blood circulation can become worse, especially when you enter the third trimester.
And the more time you spend lying down will lessen the amount of blood circulation.
As a result, many pregnant women experience some amount of swelling, and this heavy feeling is pretty common in pregnancy and is a result of having more blood in your legs than usual.
When your blood circulation slows this much, you run the risk of developing varicose veins: which up to 30% of those women that are pregnant for the first time and 55% of those that have multiple pregnancies will develop!
But wait! There’s even more stuff to worry about!
Blood pooling in your legs also has a more potentially serious effect in increased DVT.
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, happens when you have a blood clot that develops in one of your deep veins, most commonly in your leg.
DVT can cause you to have swelling or leg pain, but it is possible to have it and not have any symptoms.
DVT will develop with specific medical conditions that have an effect on how your blood clots, and may also occur if you have been immobile for a long period of time, like after surgery, confined to your bed during pregnancy, or in a hospital or nursing home.
Reducing Swelling and Pregnancy-Related Conditions
To keep your legs healthy during pregnancy, there are a couple of helpful things you can do.
This can include: avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time, avoiding long periods of immobilization, and to trying to be as active as possible.
By maintaining high activity levels and by wearing compression stockings, you will have a good chance to increase your blood circulation while reducing swelling and lessening the chance that you’ll develop varicose veins or DVT.
Important Features to Look For
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re out shopping!
Knee length stockings work well if you only have swelling in your lower legs, but full leg compression will help you reduce the risk of varicose veins or DVT.
A lot of women prefer thigh-high or compression stockings to help with pregnancy-related swelling.
Compression stockings usually come in three varieties:
- Knee length, i.e. support socks
- Thigh length
- Full length compression hose
Compression stockings are made of rubber or elastic fibers that help to compress your leg increasing circulation, and there are several levels of compression in different pressure ranges.
- Lightest compression: provides relief for aching and tired legs (8–15 mm Hg)
- Moderate compression: good for travel and pregnancy (15-20 mm Hg)
- Firm compression: good for varicose veins and edema (20-30 mm Hg)
- Extra-firm compression: good for edema and lymphedema (30–40 mm Hg)
- Severe compression: used under a physician’s care (40–50 mm Hg)
For the most part, you’ll find that the 15-20 mmHg or 20-30 mmHg will be suitable for your needs.
It’s always recommended that you talk to your doctor when using this type of product, of course!
You’ll probably find compression socks uncomfortable at first, so try a lower level at first and work your way up to a higher strength.
For example, you may find it easier to get used to wearing a 15–20 mm Hg for a week and then try the 20–30 mm Hg compression socks the next week.
Ease of Use
Compression stockings can be a little difficult to put on, especially when you get up into the higher strengths.
When you’re pregnant, your flexibility can be limited, be sure to keep that in mind!
If you’re feeling stiff or finding it difficult to bend, a full-length compression hose will be more difficult to put on, so knee length is probably a better option.
Fortunately, compression socks are available to help reduce the discomfort and keep your legs healthy for the duration of your pregnancy.
Not only do they reduce swelling, but they also work to improve your blood circulation and prevent varicose and spider veins.
Compression socks are an easy to use and non-medical treatment that encourages your legs to be healthy and prevent any long-lasting issues.
Best Compression Stockings and Socks
#1. Fytto Style 1020
Using graduated compression, Fytto’s 1020 compression hosiery (click here to check the price on Amazon) promotes blood circulation by pushing blood from your lower limbs back up to your heart.
The Fytto 1020 socks feature a reinforced toe and heel with an ergonomically design that reduces swollen legs and increases blood flow.
#2. Dr. Motion
If you’re looking for comfort band construction that is non-binding, Dr. Motion compression socks (click here to check the price on Amazon) will give you graduated compression that will help circulation while reducing swelling and energizing your legs.
They are constructed with a smooth seamless toe for a comfortable fit and ideal for someone who is on their feet all day, is pregnant, or travels a lot.
#3. Jobst Relief
The Jobst Relief Thigh Highs (click here to check the price on Amazon) have a firm compression level that is perfect for varicose veins, pregnancy, moderate edema, venous ulcerations, superficial thrombophlebitis, and they help to prevent venous ulcerations and DVT.
This is a latex free product that can be either machine or hand washed with warm water.
Created to relieve poor circulation, the Truform 1772 compression stockings (click here to check the price on Amazon) feature graduated compression technology to prevent and reduce swelling and to increase your blood flow to maintain good circulation and leg health.
They feature a classic style with a smooth knit that was designed to hide unsightly conditions.
#5. Dr. Motion Assorted Colors
Dr. Motion Graduated Compression Socks (click here to check the price on Amazon) are designed to relieve aching legs and feet with a non-binding, comfort band construction and graduated compression that improves circulation while it reduces swelling.
These socks were also created to energize your legs, and they feature a smooth seamless toe for a comfortable fit.
#6. Fytto Style 1026
The Fyotto 1026 Compression Pantyhose series (click here to check the price on Amazon) offers you a breathable but thick fabric that is one of the most comfortable wearing experiences.
They use a graduated compression that increases blood circulation to reduce leg swelling and energize your entire body.
These socks can improve your body conditions while lessening discomfort from poor blood circulation.
#7. Buttons & Pleats
If you make steady demands on your legs, the Calf Compression Sleeve (click here to check the price on Amazon) can help your legs perform at their best and give them the power you need to get through your day.
The Calf Compression Sleeves helps you improve circulation by widening the blood vessels and giving each zone in your lower legs the greatest amount of pressure.
Calf sleeves are a footless design that warm leg muscles to make you more agile and flexible while reducing fatigue and lowering the risk of injuries.
As you prepare for your little one’s arrival, the last thing you want to do is get so uncomfortable that you’re miserable!
Grab a pair of compression socks and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy, it will be over before you know it!
Editor’s Picks: More in Healthy Pregnancy