Pregnancy is a beautiful time in one’s life, but for many, it can also be one the most challenging. When you conceive, your body begins to undergo a rapid series of changes—and unfortunately, not all of them are pleasant.
One of the most common conditions experienced by pregnant women is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which is defined by a range of common vein disorders that include varicose veins, edema (excess fluid in the tissues that causes swelling), and pain. In fact, chronic venous insufficiency is so common that one study found that 80% of pregnant women experience edema.
While swelling that comes on gradually throughout the pregnancy is rarely dangerous to the mother or baby, it can be uncomfortable and even painful. Because swelling often worsens as you get further along in your pregnancy, it’s crucial to find remedies early in your term to ensure your pregnancy is as comfortable as possible.
One of the most effective ways to reduce swelling in pregnancy is through the use of compression socks. By applying gentle pressure to your lower legs, wearing compression socks during pregnancy helps to promote better circulation in the legs, which in turn reduces swelling and inflammation. Additionally, they can help prevent varicose veins from developing or worsening during and after pregnancy.
Ready to de-puff and feel your best during pregnancy? Read on to find out how Pear Compression’s range of socks can help reduce inflammation, tenderness, and the risk of leg disorders in pregnant women.
What Causes Swelling in Pregnancy?
- Increased water retention
- Pregnancy hormones
- Pressure from the growing uterus
During pregnancy, the total amount of water a woman carries in her body increases by between 135 and 202oz. If you’re on your feet all day, this excess water tends to pool in the lower half of your body—which is why so many pregnant women experience swelling in their legs, feet, and ankles.
In addition to this natural water retention, the hormones released during pregnancy make the walls of the veins softer, meaning it becomes more difficult for them to work properly. As your baby grows, the increasing pressure from the growing weight of your uterus can also cause your veins to dilate (or widen), and as a result, more fluid is retained within your lower legs.
These three factors can make pregnancy extremely uncomfortable for some women, but there is a way to alleviate the pain and swelling!
Wearing compression socks during pregnancy can help ease discomfort by helping to improve your circulation. They place gentle pressure on your ankles or knees, encouraging blood to flow back to your heart. For many women, staying off their feet during pregnancy isn’t an option, and wearing compression socks for edema can help minimize the swelling associated with standing for long periods of time.
Remember, although gradual swelling in pregnancy is common, if you’re concerned about swelling at any stage, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor for their opinion so you can put your mind at ease and enjoy this special journey.
Why Do Pregnant Women Develop Varicose Veins?
Any vein close to the skin’s surface can become swollen if circulation is poor, leading to visible varicose veins that occur most frequently in the legs. Although they can develop for several reasons unrelated to pregnancy, almost 28% of pregnant women are affected.
During pregnancy, the increased amount of blood in the body, increased levels of the hormone progesterone, and pressure on the veins from the weight of the growing uterus are all contributing factors to why so many pregnant women develop varicose veins.
Wearing compression socks while pregnant can help prevent or minimize the appearance of varicose veins by improving your body’s circulation. Because varicose veins are caused by blood collecting inside the vein, stimulating circulation can significantly affect whether you develop varicose veins during pregnancy.
What is DVT in Pregnancy?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when a blood clot forms in one or more of the body's deep veins, typically in the legs. While DVT in pregnancy is relatively rare, with only 0.025 to 0.1% of women developing the condition, it can be severe and result in injury or illness.
While you’re unlikely to develop DVT in pregnancy, you are more likely to develop it at any stage of your pregnancy and up to six weeks after birth when compared to people of the same age who are not pregnant. This heightened risk while pregnant is due to the increased pressure on their veins caused by the growing uterus.
One of the benefits of wearing compression socks during pregnancy is that they help improve circulation, which in turn helps to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and blood clots from forming.
Compression Socks Benefits During and After Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body undergoes substantial changes, some of which can lead to discomfort in the lower extremities. Thankfully, adding compression socks into your daily routine can help prevent venous issues during pregnancy and beyond. Compression socks work by applying gentle pressure to the legs, which can help prevent a range of symptoms and disorders, including:
- Sore legs while pregnant
- Swelling in feet during pregnancy
- Venous disorders
- DVT in pregnancy
- Varicose veins
Once you have given birth, venous insufficiency and hormonal changes do not immediately disappear, and you may find yourself continuing to struggle with postpartum swelling. The puffy postpartum look (referred to as edema or swelling due to fluid retention) is entirely normal and is generally caused by a combination of factors, including:
- Leftover pregnancy hormones
- Additional fluids received during labor
- Being sedentary in the lead-up to childbirth
Wearing compression socks for edema can boost your postpartum healing process, and it’s usually recommended to wear them for at least six weeks after your baby is born.
Pregnancy is a wonderful and complex process that causes the body to undergo many changes, some expected and some a little more surprising. Luckily, swelling in feet during pregnancy is a typical and treatable condition.
Wearing compression socks during and after pregnancy can help to prevent swellness, tenderness, and a variety of venous conditions like varicose veins and DVT by gently applying pressure to your ankles or legs to improve circulation. So, it’s not difficult to see why compression socks form such a vital part of any expectant mother’s hospital bag checklist.
At Pear Compression, our Italian-made compression socks come in a variety of elegant styles and sizes to ensure you find the perfect pair to suit your daily needs. Our three-pack of knee-high compression socks features a curated selection of light grey, pink polka, and grey polka patterns to keep you feeling (and looking) your best throughout every exciting phase of your pregnancy.
Once your body has healed from pregnancy, you can continue wearing our compression socks during periods where you spend a lot of time standing or sitting (for example, on a long-haul flight) to support your blood circulation and ensure optimum wellness.
Our socks are made from an extremely soft and breathable blend of polyamide microfiber and lycra, and are hypoallergenic to suit even the most sensitive skin. In addition, all of our compression socks are free from harmful chemicals that should be avoided during pregnancy, such as AZO dyes, formaldehyde, and phthalates, ensuring your physical protection and ultimate peace of mind.
While we do make every effort to produce accurate and up-to-date content, the information in this blog article is provided for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency resources immediately. Reliance on any information provided in this blog article is solely at your own risk.