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Should I be wearing compression socks while pregnant?

L&R Brand Manager, Charlotte, shares her experiences of wearing compression socks during pregnancy.

The science...

The science is compelling – the extra blood flowing through your body because of pregnancy puts pressure on your veins, your muscles relax to allow for your baby’s growth which reduces the effectiveness of the valves in your veins, the weight of your baby is an extra pressure to carry and fluid retention is part of the parcel!

All of these factors means that pregnancy increases your risk of developing puffy legs, spider veins, varicose veins and blood clots.

“The risk of developing varicose veins is 82% higher in women who have a history of pregnancy compared with those who have never been pregnant (Ismail et al, 2016).”

By wearing compression socks and tights, you address these issues by supporting your veins to do their job, reducing the pressure on your legs, removing fluid and relieving tired achy legs.

This all sounds good in theory, but in reality, isn’t it hot and difficult to apply? Let me share my experiences…

I have now worn compression socks throughout 2 pregnancies – the first (the good one!) featured a holiday in baking-hot Sicily where we spent some time hiking on Mount Etna. As it was so hot (and I’d never had problems with swollen legs or the heat before), I spent the first day without wearing compression socks – the result – the juiciest Kankles I’ve ever had! 

Having worked for L&R for a number of years, I understood the reasons for this and spent the second day hiking with my compression socks on – my legs were back to their usual size by the end of the day, and honestly, I didn’t find my compression socks uncomfortable or hot which I’d expected it to be. I continued to wear my compression throughout my pregnancy knowing the benefits it would bring.

I am currently 38 weeks pregnant again and this time it’s been more challenging, with many months of ‘morning’ (‘all day!’) sickness and being in lockdown due to Coronavirus. These things have prevented me from eating as healthily as I normally would or exercising the way I’d like – things which you ‘should’ be particularly conscious of during pregnancy. 

Wearing my compression has enabled me to take small steps to look after my health at this important time, and has given me a slice of control which I have so desperately needed when nothing else has felt within my control!

Why not try it for yourself and see how you feel?

Tips:

  • The usual way to apply your compression socks (bending down to your toes and pulling the hosiery up your leg vertically) gets a bit challenging as your baby bump grows, and stops you reaching your toes comfortably. I’ve found that pulling my leg up so my knee is bent and the lower part of my leg is almost horizontal (resting on the edge of my bed), allows me to pace myself and apply the compression without squashing my baby bump. It isn’t ‘easy’, but it’s certainly not difficult and the benefits are worth it.
  • Skincare is important – I’ve had pregnancy-related eczema and found my usual moisturiser aggravates this. I swapped it for baby oil which is working really well for me.

Prescriptions for compression hosiery are free during pregnancy to help keep your legs healthy and manage vein problems. Your pharmacist, GP or midwife can provide you with more information, advise on the benefits and suitability of compression.


We'd like to congratulate Charlotte on giving birth to her second baby boy mid July and wish her all the best over the coming months as they establish themselves as a new family. 

To learn more about the benefits of wearing compression visit our blog post; top 10 benefits of compression.


Why not try some simple leg exercises to help reduce leg swelling and improve circulation.

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