Being pregnant brings many changes to your body and your feet are no exception. You can minimize any negative impact from these changes, however, if you are prepared and make a few adjustments to your wardrobe and daily routine. Below is the Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS version of “what to expect when you’re expecting.”
Edema—this is just a fancy word for swelling. The volume of water, blood and other fluids in your body greatly increases when you are pregnant. Since your feet are at the bottom of the gravity ladder, fluid tends to pool and accumulate in them and your ankles. Hot, humid summer temperatures can make it even worse. Although it sounds counterintuitive, one of the best ways to reduce swelling is to drink plenty of water (which will also help you stay hydrated). Avoid tight socks or stockings that impede circulation and try not to be on your feet for extended periods of time. Put your feet up whenever you have a chance and be sure to elevate them at the end of the day.
Wobbly ankles—among the many hormones released while you’re pregnant is one aptly named relaxin. Relaxin loosens up ligaments to make it easier for a baby to pass through the birth canal. Unfortunately, this hormone is not specific—if affects all ligaments, including those in your ankles. With the added weight and shifting center of gravity that occurs as your pregnancy progresses, ankle sprain risk is significantly elevated. Take extra care when walking, especially on uneven surfaces and when on stairs or stepping off curbs. Choose sensible shoes with low or no heels.
Growing feet—the relaxing ligaments combined with the increased weight can actually cause your feet to spread and go up an entire size in the last trimester of pregnancy. It may be necessary to buy a couple of pairs of shoes in a bigger size to avoid blisters, ingrown toenails and other common nuisances that are caused by wearing shoes that are too tight.
Flat feet—many patients experience a flattening of the arch during pregnancy due primarily to the pressure put on the foot from weight gain. This can result in pain in the arch and also the heel. Check with our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, if you begin to experience these symptoms. The foot doctor will examine your feet and may suggest a custom orthotic or other means of arch support.
Taking good care of your feet during pregnancy will increase your comfort level and also enable you to stay active, which will help with all aspects of your health. If you have additional questions about your feet during pregnancy, contact our Wayne office by calling: 973-595-1555.