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Why compression socks during pregnancy are a great idea (and the best ones to get)

Compression socks for pregnancy: When do you need them? What are the best brands?

Ah, glamorous pregnancy. The glow, the shiny hair, the compliments, and congratulations. While some days may be like that, there are certain periods when you’re just seeking causes behind pregnancy pain, and then looking for ways to find relief. Because the reality is more often composed of nausea, swollen ankles, and fatigue. Pregnancy may not  be Instagram-worthy all the time, but that’s why we’re here to help you with those delicate questions about the nitty-gritty—like how to know if you need compression socks for pregnancy.

Woman wearing compression socks
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Compression socks for pregnancy can help with swelling

Compression socks for pregnancy come in handy the most during the second trimester when your growing baby’s extra weight puts a strain on your lower half. Your body swells with extra blood flow during pregnancy, and the swelling (medically called edema) can get to the point of discomfort.

Compression socks gently squeeze your ankles and calves to alleviate that discomfort in the places where it can be most pronounced. If your feet and legs are aching from bearing the extra weight of your belly, compression stockings for pregnancy can help with that as well. If you can’t be off of your feet during pregnancy, these can help with soreness.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Compression socks for pregnancy can help improve circulation

Even if you’re comfortable, there is another benefit to compression socks during pregnancy: improving circulation. Your growing uterus can put pressure on your veins, and your changing hormones can put you at increased risk for blood clots. Pregnancy compression socks can help prevent blood issues like clots, so ask your doctor if they might be recommended for you even if you’re not sore. Improvement in circulation can also help minimize the appearance of varicose veins!

The amount of compression varies by the sock from eight to 50 mmHg of pressure. The average person wants pressure in the middle of that range, about 15 to 30. Compression socks should not feel like they are squeezing you too tightly to the point of discomfort, so get ones with less compression if they do. They’re also not recommended to wear to bed. It’s best to put them on first thing in the morning, even before getting out of bed, so they can prevent the swelling at your ankles from before it starts instead of trying to help once it’s begun. Always check with your doctor before self-prescribing anything (even compression socks) since they are not recommended for people with certain diseases.

Pregnant woman with sore feet
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As long as you choose the right size and wear them correctly, compression socks or pregnancy support hose can help make your pregnancy more comfortable. Here are some of our favorites.

Best compression socks during pregnancy

MadeMother Maternity Compression Socks

These socks give graduated compression levels throughout the stocking; 25-30 mmHg at the foot and ankle, 15-20 mmHg in the middle of the leg and calf, and 10-15 mmHg under the knee. This means your upper calf isn’t getting squeezed when you want the pressure at your ankle, but you still have compression going above the ankle to help with circulation.

More reasons we like it:

  • Comfy cotton/rayon blend
  • Extra padding at the toes puts comfort first
  • Easy to pull on

Belair Maternity Compression Socks

These nylon/lycra socks with reinforced heels are breathable and stylish. You can choose which one of the four color schemes (rust, aqua, iris, or lemon) you want on the stripes, and they offer you all-day comfort.

More reasons we like it:

  • Soothing, antibacterial micro-weave knit
  • Features a design that prevents varicose veins

Fenglaoda Compression Socks for Women Circulation 20-30 mmHg

Compression stockings aren’t known for making you feel cute, but the designs on these socks let you express plenty more personality than a solid nude color. From sock monkeys to kittens to pink flamingos, you’ll love these adorable socks that provide 20-30mmHg of compression.

More reasons we like it:

  • Moisture-wicking and nonslip design
  • Gradual support that promotes blood flow
  • Extra ankle support for all-day comfort

Blueen Joy Copper Compression Socks

Copper is known for its qualities of increasing circulation and alleviating pain. Such is the case with the Blueen Joy Copper Compression Socks which which offers support where you need it most–your feet and calves. These socks also reduce soreness and swelling during any level of physical activity at work and at home.

More reasons we like it:

  • Elastic band that stretches all the way around
  • Copper-infused, temperature control material
  • Neutral colors and prints that complement most outfits

Kindred Bravely Maternity Compression Socks 2-pack

Created from bamboo fibers and other durable materials, the compression socks for pregnancy offer a super-soft texture and excellent support that starts at the ankle and gradually decreases along the calf. This quality improves circulation while alleviating soreness and swelling.

More reasons we like it:

  • Bamboo-infused fabric that decreases odor
  • Cushioned heels that provide added comfort
  • Soft elastic cuff that doesn’t roll or impede circulation

Compression socks can help alleviate swelling and discomfort, as well as improve your circulation during pregnancy. If you’ve been looking for just the right pair, try one of these great options.

Editors' Recommendations

Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
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