Font Size: Increase | Decrease

What kind of compression socks are ok for pregnant women?

This question was asked in Driver, Virginia and has 10 answer(s) as of 06/10/2013.
I read that compression stockings are good to use to prevent varicose veins but my doctor says because I am pregnant thigh-high compression stockings are dangerous and could pinch and stop blood flow to the groin area. Is this right? Are there other types of compression stockings I could wear or something else I can do to prevent varicose veins during my pregnancy?


Doctors Answers (10)

Thigh highs are definitely not dangerous and are recommended. They make pregnancy stockings with a pregnancy waist band that gets bigger with you. Personally most of my patients prefer thigh high hose unless they have vulvar varices. The thigh highs can be worn easily without compromising blood flow and actually should help your venous return. You can wear the same stockings through your pregnancy and afterwards since they end at your upper thigh. The pregnancy hose are pantyhose and some people find them tight on their belly or cause them more heartburn. It is a personal decision what you like. If you have vulvar varices the pregnancy pantyhose are recommended.

Actually if you are correctly measured and fitted into a thigh length compression hose of a medical grade, you should not have any problems as they should not restrict the flow of blood upwards. If the hose are incorrectly fitted or not of a medical grade, your doctor is correct. We have fitted many pregnant women in both thigh and pantyhose and it seems a personal preference. However, if you body type precludes you wearing a thigh length we would recommend maternity pantyhose. This has the added benefit of abdominal support in the later months. Varicose veins are a hereditary problem. It someone in your family has had issue, you MAY also develop problems. Normally with the first pregnancy if veins develop, they can resolve after delivery. It is usually subsequent pregnancies which cause persistent problems. You can wear a knee length hose, again if correctly fitted after measuring.

We recommend thigh high or maternity compression stockings. It will not stop your blood flow. It would only improve it as long as you do not have peripheral artery disease to begin with.

I recommend a knee high pair of 20 -30 mm Hg compression stockings to pregnant women.

Most women who are pregnant should wear 30-40 mm Hg compression hose on a routine daily basis. While calf length hose may be fine, particularly early during pregnancy, maternity support pantyhose or thigh length hose are much better later during the pregnancy. Properly fitted thigh length hose do not cause the problem that your physician described to you. A high quality brand of hose which is properly fitted and properly worn will be of great benefit during pregnancy.

Maternity compression hose are waist high with an abdominal section that is loose and comfortable. Compression hose on the legs INCREASES venous blood flow to the heart, reduces fluid retention and edema in the legs, helps maintain adequate blood pressure in patients prone to low pressure (common in early pregnancies), does not contribute to elevated blood pressure, and helps to reduce and prevent the development of varicose veins during each pregnancy. Thigh high hose are not comfortable and not recommended during pregnancy. For most patients a 15-20mm/Hg compression is adequate. If you have already developed varicose veins then higher compression 20-30mm/Hg would be better but are certainly more difficult to get on so alternatively you may wear 2 pairs of lighter 15-20mm/Hg on top of each other.

Knee length stockings should provide adequate compression in this setting. Please check your physician regarding use during pregnancy.

The best compression stockings for pregnant mothers are maternity style, providing 40 mmHg compression. There are special perinatal support garments in the event the patient has developed varicose veins in the perineum during late pregnancy.

Thigh high or panty hose compression will work. These must be graded compression stockings.

The panty hose are the best for pregnant women because they also give support to veins in the pelvic / panty area . However the thigh high stocking are still helpful to lower thigh and legs and they do not hurt your legs, they just don't support the pelvic area.

Disclaimer: The information found on this website is intended to be general medical information; it is not a medical diagnosis or medical advice. Specific medical advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of the facts and circumstances of your health situation. You should seek consultation with a doctor familiar with your medical condition. Posting a question on this website does not create a doctor-patient relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public; do not include confidential information in your question.