As an expecting mother, you have many months of joy ahead, knowing you’ll soon be welcoming a new baby into your family. But this wonderful, life-changing event can be a stain on your body— especially your feet.
Your feet bear this drastic change of weight, often suffering the most from the added pressure: flattening, swelling and aching.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do ahead of time to avoid or mitigate foot pain during pregnancy. Let’s look at some of the most common complaints and look at the best ways to prepare over the next nine months.
Avoiding Painful Flat Feet (Overpronation) Early
During pregnancy, the added weight can cause your feet to flatten, or overpronate. Your tissue between your forefoot and your heel (called the plantar fascia) will likely become strained from the new pressure and your arches will flatten more and more each trimester as changing hormones cause ligaments to lax and stretch out.
As the arches flatten, your feet begin to roll inward when walking. Overpronation causes many women to experience strain on the feet, calves, knees, hips or back. Depending on the extent of the extra weight, your discomfort may vary.
Luckily, properly fitted orthotics can help you to minimize the strain, cushioning your arches. Shortly after your pregnancy, take the time to get a custom fitting to reduce the severity of symptoms. This will help to protect your feet as weight gradually increases, instead of dealing with the repercussions a few months in.
Reducing Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
During the second and third trimester, you may experience foot or ankle swelling, as pressure from your expanding uterus causes strain on your veins and blood flow.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce this foot swelling while pregnant:
- Walk regularly, intermediately resting
- Elevate your feet between activity
- Wear pants that do not restrict circulation or waist-high support stockings
- Avoid crossing your legs when sitting
- Take a cool bath to reduce swelling or ice your feet and ankles
- Avoid tight fitting shoes but still ensure you have proper support
- Wear breathable socks to help with blood flow
During the later trimesters, you will gain weight faster as your child develops and your swelling may fluctuate. Be sure to measure your feet regularly and wear footwear which fits appropriately.
Avoiding very salty and spicy foods can help prevent water retention, a major reason you experience swelling. During any stage of your pregnancy— especially during the third trimester when your body needs more fluid to regulate blood flow and provide amniotic fluid for your developing baby— make sure you are eating a well balanced diet and consume less high salt content foods and drinks. Be sure to check labels, as sodium can be found in unexpected places. Staying hydrated can help your body flush salt and other irritants out of your system, so be sure to drink lots of water every day of your pregnancy.
Swelling can cause poor circulation, often associated with tingling or burning feet. If you experience this sensation prior to pregnancy, be sure to check these other causes to avoid future trouble.
Soothing Leg & Foot Cramps During Pregnancy
During the second and third trimesters, strain on your lower body may cause you to experience leg or foot cramps. Be sure to stretch your calves right before bed and at least twice a day to avoid the pulsing pain. Here are some tips for stretching, which can also help with overpronation.
Some women find that magnesium supplements, the only supplement demonstrated scientifically to prevent leg cramps, bring relief, but check with your doctor before taking any new medication.
Try Custom Orthotics
One of the biggest ways to avoid foot pain during pregnancy is to wear properly fitted shoes. During these months of added pressure to your lower half, orthotics or custom-shaped footwear can bring you instant relief— and mitigate strain before it progresses.
Our team at Foot & Ankle Group are here to help fit you into shoes that will keep you comfortable during your pregnancy. We’re also here for regular check-ups, ready to make adjustments to your footwear to ensure that as the baby develops, your feet aren’t over swelling or causing you pain.
With four offices across Southwest Florida, we can get you in quickly and are only a phone call away. Call us at 239.936.5400 to schedule a consultation today.
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