The Impact of Compression Stockings on Nausea and Vomiting During Early Pregnancy: A Randomized Crossover Trial

This MOH Focus reviews the effect of compression stockings on the symptoms nausea and vomiting in the early stage of pregnancy. This paper is also available in French, German, Italian, and Polish.

The Impact of Compression Stockings on Nausea and Vomiting During Early Pregnancy: A Randomized Crossover Trial


50-80% of all women experience nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy (NVP). NVP has a detrimental impact on women’s quality of life (QoL), especially their ability to work. Despite the fact that a number of therapeutic interventions exist to alleviate symptoms – ranging from pharmaceutical products to natural therapies – women remain reluctant to take medications during pregnancy, and a safe, effective and acceptable treatment for NVP is still to be found.

Study design

The aim of this study (1) was to evaluate the effect of medical compression stockings (MCS) on symptoms of nausea, vomiting and dizziness between 8 and 16 weeks of pregnancy, and their impact on QoL factors.


Pregnant women >18 years and with mild to moderate NVP were eligible to participate. A total of 74 women were enrolled in the study. 58 women completed the study and were included in the analysis set.

Patient randomization

Group 1: «MCS first» = 2 weeks with // 2 weeks without

  • Eligible: n = 33
  • Dropout: n = 4 (3 miscarriages, 1 questionnaire incomplete) 
  • Final evaluation: n = 29

Group 2: «MCS second» = 2 weeks without // 2 weeks with

  • Eligible: n = 41
  • Dropout: n = 12 (3 miscarriages, 9 did not return for controls) 
  • Final evaluation: n = 29

There were no statistically significant differences between Group 1 and 2 in any baseline characteristics. 


Endpoint = change in the Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy Quality of Life (NVPQOL) score

  • The compliance rate of wearing medical compression stockings was 100%. 
  • 80% of the participants would recommend wearing medical compression stockings during pregnancy.
  • The participants reported significantly less nausea and vomiting when wearing medical compression stockings compared to the time without.
  • Other reported benefits of wearing medical compression stockings include fewer physical and physiological limitations as well as less leg pain and dizziness.


Wearing compression stockings in early pregnancy improves not only nausea and vomiting-associated symptoms, but also QoL factors such as dizziness, leg pain and physical/physiological limitations.

Author's suggestion

Compression stockings could be a non-pharmaceutical instrument to alleviate nausea and vomiting symptoms during early pregnancy.

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