Compression stockings: Best pregnancy swelling relief

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
April 19, 2023
three pregnant moms wearing compression stockings in different colors

I am going to let you in on a little secret that kept me comfortable at work while I was pregnant. One that is not often talked about but could save pregnant women everywhere from the aches and pains that come with pregnancy.

I used to work 8 hour days, many of which were spent on my feet. Half-way through my second trimester I learned exactly what the joys of pregnancy swelling were. To say that it is painful would be an understatement.

I would limp around the office like an injured race horse, just begging to be put out of my misery.

Then one day a mommy friend who had done it all before recommended a product that changed my life:

Compression stockings!

It was like the heavens opened up and delivered me the solution to my swelling pain…

If I can recall correctly, the stockings were delivered to me like this, down a rainbow:

compression stockings for pregnant women - a gift from the heavens

Okay, you got me. They actually came two days later in a box from amazon.

Opening the box up they didn’t look like much. Just a regular pair of stockings. Hardly impressive…

Then I tried them on.

It was an odd feeling. A feeling of tightness and constriction but not uncomfortable. Once I got over this weird sensation I was hit with a realization:

My pains had reduced from agony to a very dull ache in a matter of minutes. It was amazing just how quickly the stockings soothed the pain in my ankles and calf muscles.

The feeling of relief was absolutely amazing. In fact it was so good that I made a face that I had not pulled in a long time...

womans relieved face

…An orgasm face.

Although not as pretty as the one in picture above. My face looked more like a twitching gremlin.

With pregnancy stockings supporting my swollen bits I was able to focus on my work being distracted by the pain attacking me below my knees. After my success with compression stockings I also invested in a
great pair of pregnancy shoes which helped as well, particularly on the ankles.

The best part about compression stockings is that they look incredibly similar to regular stockings. Your workmates wont be able to tell the difference!

But that’s just my story…

Do YOU need compression stockings?

Take a look down at your legs and feet.

Do you see something like this?

swollen feet from pregnancy

No I’m not talking about my ugly brown carpet. I am talking about the swelling. These were my feet. It was difficult to see where the calf ended and the foot began. Ankles, what ankles?

If you experience extreme pain from your swollen bits when standing upright then compression stockings are the solution you have been waiting for and I thoroughly recommend you at least try a pair out. The difference they make is astounding.

But what if you have swelling from pregnancy that is not painful?

Firstly, lucky you, many pregnant women will be incredibly jealous of your good fortune. Secondly, compression stockings may still be able to help you:

Swollen legs can look unsightly and misshapen. Compression stockings can help return your jelly legs back to a slightly more normal shape by holding it all in place. No more looking like a blob monster!

But it’s not just pregnant women that suffer from swelling that can benefit from compression stockings…

Does this look familiar to you?

varicose veins under a magnifying glass

These blue rivers flowing all over your leg are known as varicose veins (or spider veins). While some moms experience no discomfort from varicose veins (lucky them!) others experience heavy legs and achy throbbing; often after a long day of standing on their feet.

To put it super simply: compression stockings actually make it easier for blood to flow back to your heart which helps provide relief from varicose veins and may even stop them from getting worse.

So there you have it. Whether you are suffering from swelling or varicose veins, compression stockings can give you the relief you have been searching for.

The different types of compression stockings

Compression stockings come in many different shapes and sizes and are designed to support areas where you need it most.

Let’s take a closer look at the most common designs of compression stockings:

1. Knee-high compression stockings

knee high compression stockings

Also known as compression socks, these stockings provide support and relief from swelling to your ankle and calf.

2.Thigh High Compression stockings

thigh high compression stockings

Similar to knee high stockings but also provide support and relief to the majority of your thigh as well.

3. Full-length pantyhose

full-length compression pantyhose for pregnancy

Full-length compression stockings are designed for you pregnant moms that are experiencing swelling pains from your back to your toes.

Now you might be thinking:

If the full length panty-hose support more of my body then why would I choose anything else?

I originally thought that too and went with full length to ease the pain in my ankles and calf muscles.

Can you guess what happened?

They were an absolute nightmare to put on. I looked like a hippo trying to slide down a water slide!

The more of your body the stocking covers, the harder time you will have getting into them. This is especially true in the later stages of pregnancy when your flexibility is the same as a street pole.

For this reason I strongly recommend just sticking to a compression stocking that is just tall enough to provide support to your aching areas. It will save you a lot of time when you get dressed.

How much compression do you need?

woman pulliong on compression stockings

Compression stockings apply pressure differently across the stocking. The compression is strongest at your ankle and gets lighter higher up the stocking.

Because of this you will see compression written as a range like:


The higher number represents the compression t the foot and the lower number represents the compression at the top of the stocking.


So was I until I spent an hour researching it. That’s why I am not going into the intricate details of how compression is measured. Instead I am going to explain the only two compression levels you need to worry about as a pregnant mother:

15-20mmHg - This level of compression is available over the counter or online and comes in all different styles and colors. This level of compression offers relief from minor swelling and varicose veins.

But what if you are suffering from severe swelling or varicose veins?

This is the option for you:

20-30mmHg - These compression stockings are classed as medical grade and have to be prescribed by a doctor. Providing relief from moderate to severe varicose veins and swelling, it is the most commonly prescribed prescription stocking. It provides enough compression without it feeling like your leg is being constricted by an anaconda.

If you can only find stockings lower than this range of compression then you can still try them out. Any support is noticeably better than none.


And that rounds up my guide on the wonderful invention known as compression stockings.

The you are hit with swelling or varicose vein pain during your pregnancy, run out an buy a pair of compression stockings. I honestly wish I found out about them sooner. It would have saved me a lot of painful days around the office.

If you are still sitting on the fence, just buy a pair. They are not overly expensive and the potential relief you will experience more than justifies the cost.

Did you try compression stockings during your pregnancy? I would love to hear your experience.

You know the drill: Leave me any questions, wisdom, love or hate in the comments below and as always . . .

Keep being awesome!

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