BY LAUREN BRENTON | Clinical Midwifery Specialist | Childbirth Educator | MAMA of 4 

October 2022

Did you know that during your pregnancy your blood volume and cardiac output increases to support your growing baby?  So, what happens to all that extra fluid when you give birth to your baby?

It needs to go somewhere before it is removed from the body. Most of the time it drops with gravity to your legs and your feet, causing swollen feet

If you have lots of intravenous fluids during your labour and birth or a caesarean section, the amount of fluid in your body is increased, which can increase swelling.

The extra fluid puts pressure on the valves in your legs. By wearing graduated compression tights after birth it can help to support the valves, encourage the fluid to move through the body, improve your circulation and reduce your risk of developing a blood clot.

So, regardless of if you have a vaginal birth or a caesarean section compression tights can be beneficial to your postpartum recovery. 

5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED COMPRESSION TIGHTS AFTER BIRTH

1. PROMOTE HEALTHY CIRCULATION OF BLOOD

Compression tights promote healthy circulation of your blood therefore reducing the swelling and discomfort in your legs after birth. Only graduated compression leggings can help improve circulation [1] .

 

2. HELPS REDUCE FLUID BUILD UP

In the early postpartum period, you spend a lot more time sitting to feed your baby and resting which can further contribute to the excess fluid dropping to the legs. 

Graduated compression tights can help encourage blood flow and the fluid to continue moving throughout the body. If you sit or stand for more than 4 hours a day blood circulation can be compromised [2].

 

3. REDUCE DEVELOPMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS

Supporting the veins after birth can reduce the development of varicose veins, which can be associated with itching, burning or pain [3]

4. REDUCE RISK OF BLOOD CLOTS

In the first 6 weeks after birth, your risk of developing a blood clot is 3-5x higher. This is due to the increased clotting factors intended to reduce excessive blood loss postpartum, in conjunction with the increased fluid volume.

 

5. SUPPORT FOR ABDOMINAL SEPARATION 

Abdominal separation (Diastasis of the Rectus Abdomens Muscle - DRAM) occurs when the muscles of the abdomen are stretched and separated due to a growing uterus.  Abdominal separation is normal during pregnancy to prevent the abdominal muscles from tearing, and is caused by hormonal changes, weight gain and weakened abdominal muscles. 

Women are at increased risk of abdominal separation if they are

  • over the age of 35
  • have had multiple pregnancies without much break in between
  • have a big baby, have twins or triplets.

Abdominal separation is only a problem if the muscles don’t come back together after pregnancy.

In the postpartum period wearing compression tights with targeted compression will help support your abdominal muscles to move back into place.  Furthermore, if you have a caesarean section compression tights that are high waisted, with low seams so they’re not going to cause you discomfort to your caesarean wound whilst helping your muscles heal. 

TheRY postnatal abdominal support compression leggings

 

During the postpartum period, it is important to wear quality graduated compression tights such as those from TheRY, do some gentle exercise each day, drink lots of water and eat a well-balanced nutritious diet to reduce your swelling and risk of developing a blood clot in the postpartum period.

Knowing that you are improving your circulation, helping remove any excess fluid volume, reducing your risk of blood clots and supporting your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles afterbirth enables you to focus on healing and caring for your new baby.

 

One Mama Midwife - Lauren Brenton

Clinical Midwifery Specialist | Childbirth Educator | Mama of 4 

Helping to educate, inspire & empower.

 

[1] Graduated compression is engineered to gently exert pressure to the limbs. Graduated compression leggings exert a higher amount of compression at the ankle and decreases the level of compression up the leg. The constant pressure gradient helps improve venous return. TheRY compression leggings are TGA approved and are 15-20mmhg moderate medical grade compression.

[2] Sophie E. Carter et al. Regular walking breaks prevent the decline in cerebral blood flow associated with prolonged sitting, Journal of Applied Physiology (2018). DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00310.2018

[3] Varicose veins are enlarged swollen veins that are twisted and deformed that sit just below the skin's surface and can develop mainly in the legs, but can also develop in the vulva or rectum.

[4] Hooman Kamel, M.D.,Babak B. Navi, M.D.,Nandita Sriram, B.S., Dominic A. Hovsepian, B.S., Richard B. Devereux, M.D., Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D. Risk of a Thrombotic Event after the 6 Week Postpartum Period N Engl J Med. 2014 Apr 3; 370(14): 1307–1315.


 

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