Mother and Baby

Compression socks for pregnancy

compression socks

In the later stages of pregnancy, you might find your legs and feet start to become a little swollen.

Wearing compression socks can help reduce this swelling and lower the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Many people associate compression socks as something older people wear but there are now plenty of options to choose from including younger styles, bright colours and funky designs.

What are compression socks?

Compression socks – sometimes called compression stockings – are long socks which gently squeeze your legs and force the blood to move around the rest of your body. These specialist items are designed to improve circulation and prevent medical issues like blood clots.

They can be made from a variety of materials, including nylon, cotton and polyester. Different thicknesses and compression levels are available, depending on what the socks are needed for.

Why should I wear compression socks in pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, your body produces about 50 per cent more blood and bodily fluid. In the later stages of pregnancy, this can cause your legs and feet to swell, which can be uncomfortable or even painful, especially if you work in a job where you are on your feet all day.

Compression socks will help ease the aches and pains caused by the swelling by improving your circulation and keeping the blood flowing.

Your pregnancy hormones also make your blood clot more easily and your veins dilate, increasing your risk of developing serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Your expanding uterus also puts pressure on your veins so wearing compression socks will help prevent a blood clot from developing or blood pooling in your feet and lower legs.

Another good reason to try wearing compression socks is that they can help prevent varicose veins from appearing or at least minimise those that do. Varicose veins are the swollen and enlarged veins which can develop on your legs. They are often dark blue or purple and lumpy in appearance and are a common problem in pregnancy.

Do I need to wear compression socks after baby has arrived?

Your midwife may recommend you wear compression socks or surgical stockings for up to six weeks after you give birth. You will usually be asked to wear them if you have had a caesarean section, experienced heavy bleeding after delivery or you have three or more children.

The best compression socks for pregnancy

We love these socks as they come in colourful designs and look nothing like the surgical stockings you’re given in hospital. This three pack includes spots, hearts and even a heart rate pattern.

Made from nylon and polyamide, these socks are breathable and moisture wicking and they are reinforced around the heel and toe.

Compression socks don’t have to be boring as this colourful pair with a pink flamingo design proves. Made from a breathable blend of nylon and polyester, they won’t make your legs too hot when you’re wearing them.

Reviewers found them comfortable and easier to put on than many compression socks.

These stripy pink compression socks look great and are made from cotton so are a good choice if you prefer to wear natural fibres. They are supportive without feeling too tight and have an extra large cuff to keep them in place so they won’t fall down.

Designed to come to just below the knee, they put pressure on the areas of your leg where you need it most.

These are not as pretty as many of the other socks on our list but the practical side zip makes them a doddle to put on and take off. They have an open toe so you’ll have plenty of room to wiggle your tootsies and a reinforced heel.

Available in black and grey as well as beige, these soft socks place more pressure around the ankle with three different intervals of graduated compression.

The two pairs in this set look just like normal knee highs, so no one will ever know you're wearing compression socks unless you tell them. We like the stylish design with plain black legs and a striking pink heel.

The nylon and elastic material is stretchy and flexible and as they were created using a 3D knitting technique, there are no uncomfortable seams to worry about either.

These compression socks are ergonomically designed to allow a free range of movement with discomfort or chafing. The under the sea themed designs are adorable with penguins, sharks and whales and as they come in a seven-pack, they are extremely affordable.

Made from a moisture wicking fabric which draws sweat away from your body, these socks will keep your skin feeling dry.

  • Author: Catherine Ball Catherine Ball
  • Job Title: Mother&Baby contributor

Catherine Ball is a mum-of-four and freelance journalist who specialises in parenting and health. As well as writing regularly for Mother & Baby since 2015, her work has appeared in a number of publications, including the Sunday Mirror, the Independent, Top Sante, Closer Online, Metro and She has worked as a journalist for more than 18 years, including more than a decade working as a news reporter. 

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