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How long after pregnancy should I wear compression hose?

This question was asked in Brooklyn, New York and has 7 answer(s) as of 07/03/2013.
Hi, I wore support hosiery during my pregnancy due to varicose veins. I am now breastfeeding and the pain is basically gone, should I be wearing the support hose as long as I am breastfeeding - I once heard the same hormones are there so should be worn right through.


Doctors Answers (7)

If you have varicose veins, you should wear then as often as you can, the compression stockings will reduce the venous pressure in your legs and maybe retard the progression of this condition.

It is beneficial to wear compression hose during a pregnancy to avoid getting new varicose veins or having the veins progressively enlarge. After the pregnancy, the fluid balance and hormones gradually returns to normal generally over 4-12 months. I would recommend continuing the hose for 3-4 months following the delivery. Breastfeeding does alter the hormones BUT does not contribute to formation of leg veins and is VERY helpful in early childhood development especially for brain and immune system function.

Nearly all adults will benefit from wearing compression hose on a regular basis. Those who will benefit most are those who have soft tissue leg pain or tenderness related to venous insufficiency, ankle swelling, or visible varicose veins. The long-term effect of gravity upon your leg veins will result in streatching of the veins and eventual failure of valves in the veins. As this occurs, patients experience a variety of symptoms and findings which may include all or only some of the following: pain, tenderness, ankle swelling, a sense of heaviness and fatigue in the legs, spider veins, and varicose veins.

If you had problems with your veins during pregnancy I would recommend that stocking be worn as much as possible. The symptoms and the look of the varicose veins usually improve after delivery but the damage to the veins has been done. Over the coarse of time you probably will have an increase in the symptoms and appearance of the varicose veins. By wearing stockings and exercising on a long term basis you can minimize your chance of having significant veins problems in the future.

You can wear these as long as you like. If you have a family history of varicose veins, then stockings will help slow the progression.

If you can tolerate the hose in the summer (when in AC) it might be of benefit until your legs and hormones return to normal - usually the first full menstrual cycle after weaning the baby. Mostly when you know you are up and about shopping, walking, working or sitting for prolonged periods of time. If you are just around the house and able to put your feet up regularly you don't need to wear them all the time. Once the baby is weaned and your body is back to normal, I recommend getting those legs evaluated for underlying venous insufficiency and taking care of it. These procedures are minimally invasive with little or no down time. If you plan more pregnancies, your problem may become worse if this isn't done and you will be more uncomfortable.

The need for vein compression is generally not related to breastfeeding. If the veins are symptomatic, compression is a good idea.

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