WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FEET DURING PREGNANCY
PREGNANCY IS A JOYOUS TIME IN A WOMAN’S LIFE AND HER BODY WILL GO THROUGH MANY CHANGES, INCLUDING CHANGES TO HER FEET. THAT IS WHY A PREGNANT WOMAN MUST TAKE CARE OF HER FOOT HEALTH A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY.
It’s amazing how a body changes during pregnancy. For instance, did you know that a pregnant woman’s feet become wider and longer because her ligaments become more easily stretched to prepare for childbirth? The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) shares common pregnancy symptoms along with tips and tricks to keep your feet healthy until you finally meet your little one.
Edema, or swelling, can be caused by the excess blood and fluids your body produces for pregnancy and from the baby compressing the blood vessels. Edema in the feet and ankles can make it uncomfortable to perform simple tasks such as walking and standing. How can you keep swelling down and your feet feeling good throughout your pregnancy?
- Wear supportive shoes, orthotics, and compression stockings. Comfortable footwear and the right orthotics offer much-needed arch support and help distribute weight more evenly, while compression stockings can help with the swelling.
- Exercise. The more active you are, the more your blood flows out of your feet and ankles and into the rest of your body. Is painful swelling already making exercise difficult? Try exercises that don’t put too much stress on your feet, like elliptical training.
- Cut back on the salt and drink plenty of water. You are what you eat, and small changes in your diet can make big improvements. Salt can cause your body to retain excess fluids, while drinking plenty of water can flush out excess fluids.
- Put your feet up. Let’s face it, pregnancy can be tiring, and you’ve earned some R&R! When you’re taking a break, try elevating your feet as well. This can help reduce that unwanted swelling.
- Know your limits. No one knows your body better than you. Trust your instincts, and when you feel that you’re overdoing it, don’t be afraid to take it easy.
Pronation is the normal flexible motion and flattening of the arch of the foot that allows it to adapt to ground surfaces and absorb shock in the normal walking pattern. Overpronation, common in pregnancy, occurs when the increased weight of carrying your baby stresses the feet and flattens the arches, causing the feet to roll in. Overpronation can stretch the tissues lining the bottom of your feet, also known as the plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia is stretched, it can cause painful inflammation called plantar fasciitis. Overpronation and plantar fasciitis result in pain in the foot and heel. How can you keep the pain at bay?
- Monitor your weight. Added weight is the most likely cause of overpronation. Do your best to follow your obstetrician’s guidelines for how much weight you should gain throughout the pregnancy.
- Stick to shoes with thicker soles and plenty of cushioning. With extra weight and pressure on your feet for nine months, you need a shoe that provides support and cushioning. Avoid thin-soled shoes, such as flip-flops and ballet flats. Remember, shoes should only bend at the ball of the foot.
FUN PREGNANCY FACTS
- Most women’s feet get wider and longer during pregnancy and remain that size after delivery.
- Waddling is normal! It is actually due to the fact that your joints become more relaxed.
- In addition to your feet growing, your heart may grow as well to accommodate the increase in blood volume.
It is important to care for the feet during pregnancy. A podiatrist should be seen for any issues with the feet or ankles during pregnancy. If you are experiencing any pain in your feet, don’t hesitate to make an appointment. Same day and Saturday appointments now available.