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The Best Compression Socks to Wear During Pregnancy
June 18, 2024

The Best Compression Socks to Wear During Pregnancy

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The Best Compression Socks to Wear During Pregnancy.
The Best Compression Socks to Wear During Pregnancy

Every trimester of pregnancy has a stand-out symptom that defines that stage of pregnancy. For the third trimester, that symptom is generally swelling of your legs, ankles and feet. When we talked to Erica Chidi, doula, health educator and CEO of LOOM, about what to expect in your third trimester of pregnancy, she said end-of-pregnancy swelling can be attributed to the extra blood flow (your blood volume increases by 50 percent) and “your growing uterus can interrupt the flow of blood, making fluid build up in your legs. Hormonal changes also make your body hold on to more water.”

While mild swelling during pregnancy is relatively unavoidable, compression socks can help your extra blood to flow as well as get the extra fluid moving as well. Julie Lamppa, APRN, Certified Nurse-Midwife at Mayo Clinic, says that ailments like “deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism are more common during pregnancy and the postpartum timeframe,” and compression socks can help prevent blood clot-related issues by keeping your blood circulating. Additionally, Lamppa says that compression socks are a great travel companion, especially if you’ll be immobile for more than a couple of hours (think a three-hour flight or an out-of-state road trip).

Whether you want to manage pregnancy swelling, prevent blood clots or give your achy legs and feet a good squeeze (or all three, if we’re being honest), these compression socks can help.

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Compression Socks

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Compression Socks

Best Overall Compression Socks

Made of thin, breathable nylon (and 9 percent spandex), Comrad’s knee-high compression socks comfortably hug your feet and legs while allowing cool air to flow through. The wide band at the top of the socks helps them stay in place without sliding down or digging into your calf. The brand uses a proprietary fabric technology, SmartSilver, designed to utilize the antimicrobial properties of silver to limit odor. I wore these socks during a road trip from North Carolina to New Jersey when I was six months pregnant and they were comfortable, didn’t budge and despite sitting for hours at a time, my feet didn’t feel swampy at all.

Best Compression Socks for Comfort

The thin, stocking-like feel of other compression socks might be off-putting if you’re new to wearing compression socks. Bombas’ Everyday Compression Socks are made of over 60 percent cotton, which means they wear like your regular everyday socks—just with an extra satisfying squeeze. The honeycomb design that wraps around the arch of your foot is designed to add some extra support, which is helpful if you spend a chunk of time standing or moving around while pregnant.

Best Compression Socks for Running

Running, jogging or just going for a quick walk around your neighborhood is a great way to stay active during pregnancy. But when your ankles are swollen and your legs are puffy, any activity that exceeds getting dressed can feel like a reach. Designed specifically for runners, the Lululemon MicroPillow compression socks have extra cushioning on the points of your foot that are impacted the most during a run. Made of thin, mesh nylon, the socks are breathable, and when you break a sweat, the added zinc will help eliminate the odor. Note that the compression is described as light (the exact mmHg is not listed; see more on this below) so if you want a firmer feel, our best overall pick has a similar nylon fabric and various mmHg options.

Best Open-Toed Compression Socks

For pregnant people who absolutely loathe the idea of wearing socks but need relief from swelling, open-toe compression socks are the answer. Made to offer the same foot support as closed-toe compression socks, the open-toe version is a good choice for a person who’d rather be barefoot. Your toes have full range of motion, while your ankles and legs enjoy a tight squeeze.

Best Compression Socks for Travel

Dr. Kenneth T. Borkowski, lead physician at Women’s Health Group, told Babylist that although traveling while pregnant is generally considered safe, sitting for more than a few hours can increase your risk of developing a blood clot due to interrupted blood flow. To combat that, Dr. Borkowski says below-the-knee compression socks, along with staying hydrated and getting up to move around, can do the trick. This pair of travel-specific compression socks are made of lightweight lycra and has extra cushioning on the heel, toe and sole for added comfort.

Best Ankle Compression Socks

When your swollen feet need some extra TLC, compression ankle-length socks can give you targeted support. And if you’re not into the tall sock look, these ankle socks will give you some relief without ruining your outfit. The compression on this set from Copper Fit has a very light compression (9-11 mmHg), which works well since only your feet are being compressed.

How We Chose the Best Compression Socks

  • We spoke to Julie Lamppa, APRN, Certified Nurse-Midwife at Mayo Clinic, to learn more about why compression socks are helpful during pregnancy, what to look for in compression socks and how compression socks are measured.
  • We reviewed our Babylist coverage about bodily changes in the third trimester and traveling while pregnant to understand why compression socks are useful during pregnancy.
  • We asked parents at Babylist HQ about the compression socks they used to survive the third trimester.

What mmHg Should I Look for in Compression Socks for Pregnancy?

The abbreviation mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury and measures the pressure created by a column of mercury. In terms of compression socks, Lamppa explains what to look for in terms of mmHg: “For pregnant women who desire compression socks for tired legs, minor swelling or minor varicose veins, over-the-counter socks should work well (15-20 mmHg). As symptoms progress to moderate to severe swelling or varicosities, then the level of pressure should increase to 20-30 mmHg. Severe symptoms may need 30-40 mmHg.” Quick health reminder—if you have severe swelling, speak to your healthcare provider.

Can I Sleep in Compression Socks?

The short answer is yes, you can sleep in compression socks—specifically if your doctor gives you the okay. Lamppa says that sleeping in compression socks is actually unnecessary for most people, though. “Gravity is your friend when you’re lying flat so blood circulates through your legs much easier,” Lamppa explains. Plus, bedtime is a good time to give your legs and feet a break from the constant compression.

Should I Take a Break From Wearing Compression Socks?

Wearing compression socks, whether during pregnancy or postpartum, is safe for you and your baby. However, wearing them for several days straight can cause skin irritation since there is constant pressure pushing down on your legs and feet. Taking them off for bed time or replacing your socks with elevating your feet instead can give your skin a much needed break.

Latifah Miles

Senior Commerce Editor

Latifah Miles is the Senior Commerce Editor at Babylist.

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