First, congratulations! We understand that being pregnant offers a new world of unique excitement, joy, and challenges when facing changes in your body and hormones. We're talking about increases in hormones, blood levels, body fluids, and weight that can lead to pain and swelling, especially in the back, legs, and feet. In fact, along with morning sickness, fatigue, and back pain, leg and foot problems are just as expected, especially in the third trimester.
Luckily, you can do a few things to help combat uncomfortable legs and feet, including compression socks!
Can You Run While Pregnant?
First and foremost, were you already running before you became pregnant? If the answer is no, now is not the best time to start. Other activities provide adequate exercises, like walking and yoga, without the added stress to your joints. If you are running already, asking your doctor is best. Every pregnancy is different, and a one-on-one discussion with your doctor regarding your health goals and physical abilities is the best way to determine what exercise is best for you.
Pregnancy-Related Feet and Leg Symptoms
Did you know that raised hormone levels can cause pregnant people to retain water while expecting, leading to swelling and bloating (edema)? Your body needs this extra fluid to carry nutrients and oxygen to your baby. However, fluid retention can become most pronounced in your feet, ankles, and calves because your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins that carry blood back to your lower body. This can block proper blood flow, keeping fluid in your legs and feet. Since the blood vessels in your foot and ankle are also the smallest, your body has difficulty accommodating the extra liquid. This excess fluid can lead to:
Additionally, some common triggers can cause swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy, such as:
- Not getting proper sleep; tiredness
- Overexertion or exercising
- Eating salty foods
- Drinking caffeine
- Standing on your feet or walking for a long time
While edema usually
isn't a cause for primary concern—but should still be noted by your doctor—should you begin to notice your face and hands swelling, along with blurry vision or severe and constant headaches as well as rapid weight gain (a pound or more in a day), these can be signs of preeclampsia which is a severe medical condition characterized by high blood pressure. You should notify and visit your doctor straight away.
Things That Can Reduce Discomfort
Fortunately for many women, while the following suggestions can't eliminate the above symptoms, they have been proven to reduce them significantly.
- Try not to sit or stand for long periods. Do your best to avoid doing either for more than an hour.
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Rest with feet up. Elevate your legs roughly 12 inches above your heart for 12-20 minutes to encourage blood flow to your heart and lungs.
- Get a massage or rub the legs and feet.
- Avoid lying on your right side or flat on your back, which puts the total weight of your uterus on the vena cava. Lie on your left side, a position that exerts the least amount of pressure
- Drink plenty of water, which helps keep your body from retaining fluids.
- Keep moving and exercise
- Wear compression socks
Are Compression Socks Safe to Wear During Pregnancy?
Compression socks can help keep your legs healthy during pregnancy. Common leg problems during pregnancy are the development of varicose veins, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and hormonal changes that increase blood coagulability (a measurement of how easily blood clots). Blood flow is restricted as the uterus expands and the body changes. While blood volume rises, hormonal changes can cause the vein walls to dilate and lose elasticity.
Compression socks will help alleviate leg pain and reduce swelling and the tired, heavy feeling in your legs. They also may prevent spider veins, varicose veins, and edema. Crazy Compression socks have a 15 to 20mmHg true graduated compression. This means they are tighter around the feet and ankle and slowly decrease in compression as it moves up your leg.
The graduated compression prevents the blood from pooling in the veins and keeps the blood traveling in the direction it is meant to go, back towards your heart.
Can You Sleep Wearing Compression Socks?
The best time to put the socks on is in the morning, right after waking, and then wearing them for the whole day. This does not mean you can't wear them to bed. While most people take them off to sleep, most doctors agree that there is no harm in occasionally wearing a graduated compression knee-high sock
while you sleep.
Another solution, if you are experiencing discomfort at night, is to elevate your legs with a pillow under your feet. If the pain continues, speak to your OB/GYN. You may need a higher graduated compression that requires a doctor's prescription.
Is It Normal For Feet and Legs to Swell During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body produces 50% more blood volume and other body fluids to help grow and develop your baby. The swelling is prevalent during pregnancy and isn't necessarily a cause for concern. However, here are a few symptoms that should trigger a visit to your doctor:
- Swelling that increases very rapidly
- Extremely puffy face or hands
- Blurry vision of seeing 'floaters' in your eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Severe or constant headaches
- Weight gain of more than a pound a day
Everybody is unique, and pregnancy will be a journey just as special. There will be constant changes and different symptoms as your baby grows. Compression socks and items that improve your comfort are always an excellent choice, as your body is working hard to provide both of you the nutrients, sustenance, and functions needed to keep both of you healthy and happy. Make sure you have a pair of the best compression socks in the market today and ready to help ease your body, always keep you feeling comfortable, and take care of your body!