Pregnancy can be a time of incredible joy, hope, and excitement – and a time of physical discomfort. The increased blood volume and weight gain that pregnant women experience puts pressure on the veins in the lower body, making women susceptible to both spider veins and varicose veins. To prevent varicose veins during pregnancy, health care providers often recommend maternity stockings.
What are maternity stockings?
This supportive legwear squeezes the veins in the legs, making blood flow more easily and reducing the likelihood of developing varicose legs, which are bulging masses of swollen veins, which often occur in the legs. Varicose veins can occur in other areas of the body, too; when they occur in the rectal area, they’re known as hemorrhoids. Pregnant women who are overweight, carry twins, triplets, or other multiples, or who have a genetic predisposition to varicose veins are more likely to develop them.
What brand should I choose?
Maternity compression stockings don’t have to be unfashionable. There are several popular retailers, including Juzo, Jobst, Mediven, and Sigvaris, that make patterned, colored stockings that are perfect for wearing with skirts or professional attire.
Here are a few examples of pregnancy compression stockings:
- Gabriala Maternity Pantyhose
- Besjex Maternity Compression Pantyhose
- Preggers Maternity Leggings
- Jobst Maternity Pantyhose
Where do I get them?
You can get these stockings at a drugstore or pharmacy, medical supply store, or from online retailers. Pregnancy stockings come in different levels of compression; the higher the level, the more tightly they squeeze the leg veins. Your doctor or midwife may suggest that drugstore legwear is good enough for you, or he or she may recommend higher levels available only with a prescription.
How do I use them?
These stockings should be worn daily, but taken off at night. Slide your foot into the foot of the stockings, and then gently roll the stockings up the leg. Be careful not to tug the stocking into place; you could ruin the elastic compression fibers if you do this. Avoid putting lotion on your legs or wearing rings or other jewelry when you put on your maternity stockings. If you have trouble getting the stockings on, you can use a device called a compression stocking aid (or stocking donner) to help make it easier.