During pregnancy a woman’s body goes through many stages of changing and adapting in order to protect an unborn baby as well as prepare the mother’s body for labour. Sometimes these changes can cause discomfort and pain for the mum-to-be. Our feet and ankles can also suffer during pregnancy.
One of the main problems seen during pregnancy is swelling in the lower legs. Due to the increased blood volume our circulatory system has trouble keeping the blood flowing normally and causes fluid to accumulate in the lower legs. This can make your legs feel tired. Some women have trouble with footwear due to the swelling. Keeping active by exercising moderately and elevating your legs (higher than heart level) can reduce the swelling. Avoid standing and sitting for long periods of time, reduce salt and caffeine intake and change your footwear in order to accommodate the swelling.
Due to the increased swelling, some women develop ingrown toenails. Make sure to trim your nails regularly, wear comfortable shoes and seek medical advice when necessary. The growing belly makes it difficult for pregnant women to reach their feet. In this case a podiatrist can trim your nails for you and remove any corns or calluses. This will make your feet feel lighter and pain free.
During pregnancy a woman’s body posture can change as well. There is a change in the centre of gravity towards the front of the body, and this can cause pain in the knees and ankles. The hormones which are released naturally from the body to prepare for childbirth can cause loosening of the ligaments in the feet, leading to increased pronation and flat feet. This can be addressed by wearing supportive footwear. When necessary your podiatrist can provide you with insoles that will support the foot further and reduce the pronation occurring. Some women find that their feet grow during pregnancy. This is due to the swelling and also the loosening mentioned above. It is therefore very important to make sure that you are wearing the correct shoe size to prevent any problems associated with poorly fitting footwear.
It is important to note that increased and prolonged pain levels are not normal. If you have increased pain that does not resolve please seek medical advice immediately.