3 Ways Compression Socks Make Pregnancy More Manageable
You won’t find a greater physical challenge than pregnancy. No matter how many marathons and ultra marathons you run, pregnancy still takes the cake when it comes to bodily strain. Growing a human being, it turns out, is a lot of work.
Expecting women have to deal with so much more than nausea, back pain, and insomnia. As the body works to support both mother and child, a lot of physiological changes occur and a new batch of aches and pains arise. Some of these ailments, such as cramping and contracting, don’t have much in the way of an easy remedy. Others, however, can and should be addressed, and compression socks provide one of the best countermeasures to a handful of pregnancy-related issues.
1. Reduce Pain and Swelling
Swollen feet and ankles are a mainstay of the third trimester. In addition to the weight a woman gains as the baby grows, the body is producing about 60% more blood than normal. That blood makes sure all parties get enough oxygen, but it also creates extra pressure within the veins.
Meanwhile, a growing uterus is doing plenty of pushing on the surrounding body parts. These two pressurizers working in tandem tend to make it a little harder for blood to return to the heart, causing fluid to pool in the legs and increase that uncomfortable edema that pregnant women know so well.
For years, the prescribed solution for this swelling was to stay off your feet. While less standing and walking can reduce edema, expectant moms don’t always have the luxury of lying down whenever they want to. It’s also important to stay active for the health of both mom and the baby; too much sitting can lead to a higher risk of depression and gestational diabetes.
Fortunately, properly fit compression socks get right to the root of the swelling problem. Graduated compression works specifically to decrease blood pooling, helping work fluid back past those pinching veins and away from the feet and ankles. As circulation reduces swelling, your clothes and shoes feel comfortable again. Increased comfort makes it easier to stay active, which helps you feel better in general.
It’s pretty frustrating being told to put your feet up when you simply don’t have the time. Pregnancy doesn’t put the rest of your life on hold, meaning you have to find a way to stay comfortable even as your legs take on extra fluid. The right stocking will go a long way in combating that pain. In addition to the less swelling in your feet, improved circulation will keep your legs fresh so you can make it through the day and not feel exhausted with every step you take.
2. Combat Varicose Veins and DVT
The same blood flow issues that cause swelling are also responsible for a few venous conditions that are common during pregnancy.
Enlarged veins aren’t exclusively a pregnancy problem, but pregnant women definitely struggle with this symptom more than most. As extra blood travels between the legs and the heart, varicose veins may pop up throughout the lower extremities. Bulging veins can also result from increased progestin levels, as well as the pressure caused by the enlarged uterus.
The effect of varicose veins is different for each woman. In some cases, it’s more of a superficial issue with no underlying discomfort. Less fortunate sufferers might notice a little bit of aching and swelling. Whatever the sensation, no one wants to keep varicose veins, and compression socks can help to prevent and relieve the problem.
Improved circulation keeps veins from becoming engorged and alleviates pain. Since staying active helps fight off varicose veins, the fresh-legged feeling that compression provides will also make a big difference. No matter how far along you are in your pregnancy, your veins will welcome the warm hug of compression socks.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
During and after pregnancy, women become as much as 10 times more likely to experience clotting. While swelling might be the most annoying side effect of having increased blood production, developing a clot is the most dangerous.
The female body all but promotes clotting during pregnancy, overproducing blood-clotting proteins and underproducing the proteins designed to thin the blood. While clotting can be a good thing during labor, it makes the months leading up to delivery somewhat treacherous. This means a little circulatory assistance might be necessary for anyone struggling with thrombosis.
Some women have an increased likelihood of DVT based on family history or other health factors such as weight or age. In those instances, compression provides a necessary preventative measure. Because clots can break off and move through the circulatory system, it’s beyond important for pregnant women to stay on top of this issue.
3. Keep Energy Up
Your body doesn’t get breaks during pregnancy. For 10 months, one vessel takes care of two people, which would exhaust anyone. Combine the hard work with sleepless nights and all sorts of hormonal changes and you’ve got a recipe for feeling wiped out.
With the help of compression socks, you get a little shot of espresso for your legs and feet. Blood moves more freely and gets much-needed oxygen to those tired muscles, making everything feel a little lighter. The improved circulation reduces swelling, lessening the pain and making it easier to stay active. The longer you can exercise into your pregnancy, the better you’ll feel throughout, making that final trimester much more bearable.
All of the aforementioned health issues can have a big impact on your energy. Swelling, clotting, and enlarged veins affect your physical wellbeing and your mood, making it harder and harder to push through those long days. Whereas you might have been able to get past those hurdles pre-pregnancy, it takes a little more as your body grows a baby and deals with the related afflictions.
You can’t afford to spend nine months completely exhausted and uncomfortable. Those feelings will surely take hold from time to time, but they shouldn’t become the status quo. With good circulation improving both comfort and energy, you have a lot to gain from wearing a pair of quality compression socks.
As your body changes and prepares for this monumental life event, compression socks provide a natural way to stay healthy, happy, and active throughout. Each trimester will present new physical challenges, and proper compression will help keep you going strong through all of it.