Is Pregnancy Taking a Toll On Your Ankles and Legs

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

2-IsPregnancyPregnancy is a special time to take care of you and your developing baby. Compression socks and stockings can help your health during the special time, and can also help your legs, ankles and feet feel better.

While much of the focus is on your baby and bodily changes, changes are also affecting your veins. The normal hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy affect the walls of your veins causing the vein walls to relax or dilate.

Relaxation of the veins occurs early in the pregnancy – during the first trimester. Total blood volume also increases in the first trimester and gradually rises with gestation. Your total blood volume may increase as much as 45% in comparison to the non-pregnant level. Relaxation of the vein walls, especially in areas of venous valves may cause the valve to become incompetent – thus allowing backward flow of the venous blood.

Vein relaxation, valve incompetence, and increased blood volume all contribute to a reduced venous flow from your legs. The reduced flow results in congestion, and venous congestion in turn causes swelling and leg discomfort. And yes, it is true – unsightly and uncomfortable ankle swelling occurs with most pregnant women!

During the later months of pregnancy – typically the third trimester – the weight of the baby and the uterus may impede return of blood through the veins of your legs, another condition that is not beneficial for either mother or baby.

This is where compression socks and stockings can help pregnant women greatly. Gradient compression stockings reduce venous congestion and support the superficial veins of your legs. This helps manage the increased blood volume and relaxed vein walls thus reducing the amount of swelling and the severity of varicose veins.

The end result? Compression helps make women more comfortable, and can improve overall circulation to make the pregnancy better for both her and her baby.

Talk with your obstetrician or OB nurse about the amount of compression and stocking style best suited for you during this pregnancy, or contact us to learn more.