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ASK DR. ARTHRITIS: CAN I WEAR COMPRESSION SLEEVES WHILE PREGNANT?
Compression therapy has a lot of benefits for chronic pain sufferers, frequent travellers and athletes. But what about for those who are pregnant? Can pregnant women still reap the benefits of graduated pressure? Can pressure from the sleeves harm the fetus?
The simple answer is, no.
Compression garments, specifically socks or stockings, are generally safe. It’s an easy, non-invasive way to reduce risk of developing varicose veins and lowering your risk of blood clots.
That said, there are a few guidelines that pregnant women should keep in mind. Take a look at some of the frequently asked questions women have about wearing compression sleeves during pregnancy.
How long can I wear my arthritis compression socks?
This will largely depend on your reason for wearing the socks to begin with.
If you’re at a normal weight, follow a generally active lifestyle that allows you to walk and move around regularly, then you might not really need to wear compression socks for reasons other than providing additional support.
But if you are overweight, or you have a job that requires you to stand for extended periods of time, then wearing them throughout the day to ensure efficient blood circulation will be very helpful. It’s also a good idea to wear them if you’re a pregnant woman planning to take a long haul flight to bring down the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
Unless otherwise advised by your physician, compression garments should be worn all day and removed before going to bed since movement is essential to helping the compression garment facilitate efficient blood flow.
Can I sleep with my leg compression sleeves on?
It’s important that you consult a trusted physician for this one.
Generally, it’s safe to let people sleep with light compression on, but if you have symptoms of arterial insufficiency, or if you’re pregnant, it’s always better to seek the help and advise of a professional.
Once given the go signal from your doctor, know that the foot compression sleeve will help bringing down the swelling on your legs, which are common among pregnant women.
If you feel numbness, tingling and foot pain while wearing the compression sleeves while lying down, take it off immediately. This could be a sign that there’s too much pressure on your arteries and nerves.
Is it normal that my leg hurts and is more swollen when I wear compression socks?
It’s likely that you’re wearing a foot or ankle sleeve that’s way too tight. Remember that compression garments are there to make your tired, aching feet and ankles feel better—not worse.
I experience itching on my legs after taking off the compression sleeves. Is this normal?
Usually this depends on the conditions surrounding the use of the compression sleeve. Do you live in a warm climate where your legs are likely to perspire a lot when you wear compression garments? This can be remedied by sprinkling talcum powder on your legs before wearing them.
This may also be caused by the material of the compression garment. So be sure to choose from a trusted brand who use only high quality materials .
Is it better to use calf compression sleeves? Or shorter, ankle sleeves or foot compression sleeves?
This completely depends on what you need the compression sleeves for. For most pregnant women, over-the-counter ankle sleeves already provide enough support. But depending on the nature of your daily activities or other pre-existing conditions, then a calf compression sleeve may be more useful.
Talk to your physician to find out which one is best for you.
A lot of pregnant women experience marked relief from vein-related discomfort caused by their pregnancy soon after delivery. So in a lot of cases, compression garments only have to be worn a few weeks after they give birth.
While pregnant however, there are a lot of anecdotal evidence that shows how it helps manage swelling and provide support to make daily activities easier.
To browse options for knee, leg, and ankle support, browse through our arthritis compression shop and check out our selection of sleeves and braces. All our products also come with a booklet with a detailed series of exercises designed to maintain joint health.
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