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Pregnancy & Your Feet

Understanding your feet during pregnancy


Swollen feet during pregnancy

What are the main causes of swollen feet during pregnancy?

One of the common complaints during pregnancy is tired, sore or swollen feet. A woman’s centre of gravity changes during pregnancy and this adds pressure to the knees and feet.

Oedema, or swollen feet, normally occurs in the latter part of pregnancy. Oedema results from the extra blood accumulated during pregnancy. The enlarged uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels causing circulation to slow down and blood to pool in the lower extremities, resulting in the feet becoming swollen and purplish in colour. The total level of water fluid in the body, while remaining the same as before pregnancy can also become displaced. This is considered normal unless swelling also occurs in the hands or face. If this happens then medical assistance should be sought.

Suggested remedies for swollen feet during pregnancy 

Swollen feet (Oedema) is a natural occurrence during the latter stages of pregnancy but the following can relieve the condition:

  •  Elevate your feet as often as possible.
  • Avoiding prolonged periods of sitting and standing.
  • Wear proper fitting footwear. Footwear that is too narrow or short will constrict circulation.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated. This helps the body retain less fluid.
  • Have your feet measured several times during pregnancy as they will probably change sizes.
  • Eat a well balanced diet and avoid foods high in salt.

Flat feet during pregnancy

What are the main causes of flat feet ?

Flat feet (over-pronation) occurs when a person’s arches flatten out. In pregnancy this is due to the additional weight being carried. This stresses the plantar fascia which runs from the heel to the forefoot and can make walking very painful.

Suggested remedies for flat feet

Flat feet (over-pronation) can be treated with shoe inserts which support the arch. Choose a material such as poron, which has high levels of shock absorbency. This will also stop other conditions developing such as heel spurs, bunions and plantar fascitis.

Feet spreading during pregnancy

Feet are affected considerably during pregnancy. We have already discussed how your feet may change shape as a result of flat or swollen feet, yet your feet can also change shape for another reason.

The same pregnancy hormone (relaxin) that loosens the joints around a woman’s pelvis also loosens the ligaments in your feet. Your foot isn’t actually growing, it is just the ligaments that hold the bones in your foot together are not as tight as they were.

While the foot swelling will usually subside within a month of delivering the baby, any foot spreading as a result of looser ligaments is permanent. Hence many women require a different size or width shoe post pregnancy.

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