Women’s feet can change significantly during pregnancy and often there isn’t much attention paid to the feet unless there’s pain. Without some care and attention, these changes can cause swelling, discomfort and sometimes ongoing problems.
An increase in the hormones oestrogen and relaxin soften the ligaments throughout the body, to prepare the body for childbirth. The ligaments in the feet also soften, and this can lead to the feet rolling in or pronation. When this happens, the feet are not supporting the ankles, knees and lower back, and can cause not only painful feet, but lower back problems as well.
Pregnant women also develop plantar fasciitis which is a condition that affects the band of tissue between your heel and forefoot. This becomes strained and you feel it especially in the morning or after long periods of sitting down. Rest will eventually resolve this but it is more important to prevent it from happening in the first place with well-fitting shoes.
Another common change during pregnancy is that the feet can widen as the combination of weight gain and relaxin cause the feet to spread. Many women complain that their shoes are too tight. Sometimes the feet will go back to their normal size after pregnancy but not always.
Related article: The 10 most common foot problems we treat in our podiatry clinics
Caring for your feet during pregnancy
Here are some tips to remember when you are pregnant to take that little extra care for your feet.
- Wear wider shoes or shoes that allow room for your feet to spread
- Massage your feet in the evenings with a natural cream/oil
- Elevate your legs as often as possible to reduce swelling of ankles and feet
- Avoid standing for long periods of time
- Avoid thongs and high heeled shoes, opt for supportive and comfortable footwear
- Keep moving – walking and gentle yoga are excellent for pregnant women
- Do simple stretches for the calf and ankles daily
- Wear compression socks which are effective for pregnant women who are experiencing swelling. Also 30% of women develop varicose veins during pregnancy, and 70% develop them in the first trimester of pregnancy, so compression socks will help reduce this incidence.
- Wear orthotics – if pronation is causing too much pain in the feet, then we’ll fit you with orthotics to relieve the pressure on your arches.
Caring for your feet post pregnancy
Caring for your body post pregnancy will help you get back on your feet sooner than later – pardon the pun. Pregnancy hormones have caused significant change and softened the ligaments. Even though you feel like you can get on and do things that you did before pregnancy, it takes a little time for the body to adapt to a new baby, breastfeeding, and feeling yourself again. If you feel a little disconnected from your body, don’t be too concerned. Give your body time to readjust and visit one of our family friendly podiatrists to help care for your feet.
Make an appointment with Sanders Podiatry, during and after your pregnancy
We’re here to help you stay well pre and post pregnancy by ensuring your feet are properly supporting you through the changes you experience.
We’ll help you with stretches, fit you with orthotics if necessary and provide other tips to help care for your feet at home during this time.
Our podiatry clinics are located in Adelaide, Stirling and Mount Barker.