Although it's always best to speak with your doctor when you have concerns about your pregnancy, the following tips cover some of the most common health concerns for expecting mothers.
1. Leg Cramps
During the last months of pregnancy, women often experience leg cramps, especially while they're resting in bed. Massage or heat pads are wonderful ways to reduce the pain of leg cramps, as is wearing maternity compression stockings. Compression stockings reduce venous pressure and increase circulation, which often completely stops cramping in the legs. However, if the cramps persist, you should contact your doctor.
2. Poor Leg Circulation
During pregnancy, the weight of the fetus puts extra pressure on the legs and feet. Specifically, the uterus puts pressure on the main vein on the right side of the body, the inferior vena cava. This puts more pressure on the rest of the veins in the legs, and can result in varicose and spider veins.
In addition to following your doctor's orders for relieving swelling (such as elevating your feet when you are seated), compression stockings can also reduce the pain and discoloration of varicose and spider veins. Maternity compression stockings are specially designed to boost the blood flow from your legs to your heart; this reduces circulatory problems that can occur in your ankles and lower legs.
3. Thyroid Disease
During pregnancy, the body naturally increases the levels of estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone present in a woman's hormone system. These hormones can cause the thyroid to function differently. Altered thyroid functioning can manifest in symptoms such as fatigue, feelings of depression, high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, anemia, and intolerance to heat. Doctors often prescribe thyroid supplements for pregnant women experiencing a problem with their thyroid gland. Health professionals may recommend wearing compression socks for women as well; this will help reduce the additional leg swelling that can come with a thyroid imbalance.
4. Gestational Diabetes
When an individual is diabetic, insulin levels are too high. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood stream. If the body fails to produce enough insulin, or inappropriately uses insulin, diabetes may occur. Gestational diabetes symptoms include extreme fatigue, hunger, and thirst.
Because these symptoms are common during pregnancy, the best way to diagnose gestational diabetes is through blood testing. Doctors may instruct sufferers of gestational diabetes to follow a certain diet/meal plan, exercise regularly, regularly monitor blood sugar levels, and take certain medications. Lastly, gestational diabetes can decrease circulation, particularly in the legs, so your health advisor may suggest that you wear maternity compression stockings to prevent or alleviate pressure and swelling.
5. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure during pregnancy is dangerous, especially for the baby. It can cause conditions such as low birth weight, preeclampsia, and premature delivery.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure during your pregnancy, it is wise to heed your doctor's advice regarding diet and lifestyle changes. Additionally, compression socks for women can help control the symptoms of high blood pressure, such as leg swelling and cramps.