Baby on Board: 6 Benefits of Maternity Compression Therapy
Pregnancy changes your body in many ways. Carrying a baby for nine months often involves a host of not-so-pleasant side effects, especially when it comes to your legs: spider and varicose veins, achy muscles, blood pooling and lots of swelling.
Luckily, maternity compression therapy can help prevent or reduce these effects and make your pregnancy more comfortable for both you and your baby. Read on to discover six reasons why maternity tights can help you remain healthy and happy during your pregnancy.
Pregnancy can negatively impact your circulation on several levels. Hormonal changes make the blood more likely to clot, increasing the chances of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or developing blood clots in the deep veins of the legs.
The physical pressure of your growing uterus can also push on your veins, slowing blood flow and causing blood to pool in your feet and legs. To combat these side effects, maternity stockings compress your veins, encouraging healthy circulation and helping to prevent blood clots from forming.
Relief for Tired, Achy, Heavy Legs
Feeling tired, achy and heavy is one of the classic side effects of pregnancy. However, maternity compression therapy can help mitigate these unpleasant feelings in your legs. Maternity pantyhose improves your legs’ circulation, which in turn increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the blood takes in and circulates through your body.
They also help your legs feel more energized. Plus, maternity tights can reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which contributes to muscle pain and soreness.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces 50 percent more blood and body fluids to support the growing baby, which naturally leads to swelling. In fact, about 25 percent of pregnancy weight gain is due simply to the extra fluids, not to the baby itself.
While swelling is normal during pregnancy — at least to a certain extent — many women find that it causes them discomfort or pain. Maternity compression therapy with graduated compression can help prevent or reduce swelling by gently squeezing the legs, leaving little room for excessive fluid to build up. In turn, this can reduce the discomfort or pain caused by the swelling.
Maintaining a “Normal” Shape
Reducing swelling with maternity compression therapy can have another pleasant side effect: helping your legs maintain more of a “normal” shape. Many women find that they lose definition in their feet, ankles and knees during pregnancy due to the swelling, causing their legs to look misshapen. By preventing and reducing swelling, maternity pantyhose can help your legs keep their natural shape.
Relieved Venous Pressure
All that extra fluid puts stress on your heart and cardiovascular system since the heart has to pump more blood. In turn, your arteries and veins have to handle more volume, even though their capacity hasn’t changed.
This extra fluid decreases your blood pressure, so your blood tends to flow more slowly and with less force. That increases your venous pressure, putting more stress on the walls of your veins and encouraging blood to pool. Maternity stockings help relieve this pressure and assist in raising your blood pressure back to a normal level by encouraging healthy circulation.
Help with Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are large, gnarled veins, often dark purple or blue in appearance, that can usually be found in the legs; spider veins are the milder version of varicose veins. Varicose veins occur when faulty valves in the veins allow the blood to pool or flow the wrong way, which causes the veins to enlarge and grow dark.
Varicose and spider veins are common among pregnant women because of the reduced circulation and tendency for the blood to pool. Luckily, maternity support hose can help prevent or reduce varicose veins by encouraging good circulation and reducing the chance that blood will pool in the veins.
Whether you’re in your first pregnancy or your fifth or beyond, maternity compression therapy can help mitigate discomfort and pain in your legs. If you’re dealing swelling, achiness or varicose veins, compression therapy can help reduce many of the unpleasant side effects you might experience during pregnancy. Browse our selection of maternity tights to find your perfect compression therapy option.
Kaki Zell - Vice President of Sales, Marketing, eCommerce at Legs-4-Life LLC Kaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She’s been working in the medical device industry for over 11 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.
Written June 2018 | Page last updated November 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Venous Thromboembolism (Blood Clots) and Pregnancy” https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/pregnancy.html
American Pregnancy Association. “Swelling During Pregnancy” https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/swelling-during-pregnancy/
National Center for Biotechnology Information. “The Heart During Pregnancy” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3802121/
Medline Plus. “Varicose Veins | Spider Veins” https://medlineplus.gov/varicoseveins.html