How to know if you need compression socks during pregnancy

Ah, glamorous pregnancy. The glow, the shiny hair, the compliments, and congratulations. While some days may be like that, the reality is more often composed of nausea, swollen ankles, and fatigue. Pregnancy may not all be Instagram-worthy, 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.

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Compression socks come in most handy in the second half of pregnancy as 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, too. If you can’t be off of your feet during pregnancy, these can help with soreness.

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. 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 will want 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.

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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.

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. This comfy cotton/rayon blend with extra padding at the toes puts comfort first.

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 the soothing and anti-bacterial micro-weave knit will offer you all-day-long comfort.

LEVSOX Compression Socks 20-30mmHg

Compression stockings aren’t known for making you feel cute, but the designs on these socks will let you express plenty more personality more than a solid nude color. Llamas, corgis, flamingos, and cats with balls of yarn adorn these colorful and playful knee-high socks that provide 20-30mmHg of compression. They’re moisture-wicking and non-slip and have a smooth closure at the toes, so they don’t bother you in your shoes.

Iseasoo Copper Medical Compression Socks

Copper is anti-microbial, so it helps with foot odor, and you already know the benefits of the gentle 15-20mmHg of compression. If you want a more professional or neutral look, these black socks with a copper color on the foot will fit you best.

LOLLOP Women’s Cotton 15-20 mmHg Compression Socks

These soft, breathable, and cozy socks are made of a blend of cotton, nylon, and spandex and offer 15-20 mmHg of compression. If solid black or wacky pets aren’t your styles, give these socks a try. Get pretty, solid colors like mauve or subtle and cute patterns like stripes or little hearts.

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