A new baby starts a new season in life, whether it’s your first child or one of many. Every child is different and adds a new dynamic, just like every pregnancy is slightly different. Still, even with all the differences and changes that happen with every new bundle of joy, there are a few things you can come to expect—including foot changes during pregnancy. The effects of pregnancy on your feet are well-documented and normal, but they don’t have to keep you from your activities.
Common Changes to Expect
As you continue through your pregnancy and your body prepares to give birth, you experience a lot of changes. Gaining weight is the most obvious one. An expanding belly and growing baby add a few appropriate pounds to your body. There are other changes though, too. You actually have about 50 percent more blood circulating through your system. Your body also produces and releases various hormones, including ones designed to relax the ligaments around your hips for labor.
What do all these general changes have to do with your feet? Quite a lot, actually. Pregnancy and foot changes go hand-in-hand. The extra weight puts pressure on your lower limbs, potentially straining your arch and your plantar fascia band, which could contribute to midfoot pain, heel pain, and overpronation issues. Some women also experience cramping in their feet and legs. Extra blood in your system means swelling, particularly in your feet, is much more common. You also have a somewhat higher risk for things like varicose veins. The hormones that relax the ligaments in your hips also impact your feet. This, combined with extra weight, can actually flatten your arch and make your feet “grow” up to half a shoe size in length.
What to Do for Foot Pain
Heel pain, midfoot soreness, swelling, leg cramps, and more can all be quite uncomfortable. The good news is that there are ways you can take care of those things. You don’t have to simply suffer through them. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will help examine your lower limbs to determine the best course of action so you can continue supporting your body without foot pain.
The most important step will be supporting your feet correctly. Make sure you wear shoes with arch and heel support as well as cushioning through the soles to absorb some of the pressure. Sometimes the right kind of insole insert can help as well. This can also control overpronation problems. Make sure your shoes are the right sizes, however—expanding feet and flattening arches might mean new pairs to accommodate them.
Exercise regularly to improve your circulation and avoid pooling blood in your lower limbs. This can help alleviate some swelling and muscle cramping as well. When you can, prop up your feet so they are at least parallel to the ground to let them rest and keep fluids from pooling. If the swelling is uncomfortable, try icing your lower limbs. Compression stockings might be helpful as well, particularly if you are prone to problems like varicose veins. Make sure you stay hydrated, too; dehydration makes swelling much worse. If you can, treating yourself a little with a foot massage can be a great pain relief as well.
When to Be Concerned
Most of the effects of pregnancy on your feet are normal, even when they are uncomfortable, but occasionally they point to serious pregnancy complications. Swelling that doesn’t go away with home treatment and is accompanied by high blood pressure, vision changes, headaches, decreased urine, and a few other symptoms could be preeclampsia. You’ll need to have that investigated immediately.
Having a baby on the way is something to celebrate, and so is comfort for pregnancy and feet. You don’t have to accept the aches and the pains in your lower limbs. You can do something about them. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. is happy to help you stay mobile and comfortable throughout your pregnancy. Don’t wait until you can barely walk to get help. Call our Castle Pines, Parker, and Cherry Creek in Denver, CO, offices at (303) 805-5156 or use our online forms to contact us for an appointment today.