Nothing is as exciting as bringing new life into this world — being a mom is certainly one of the most important jobs out there! Don’t let your pregnancy feet suffer among it all. From swelling to even growing feet, we’re here with our best foot care tips during this transformative time.
When you’re pregnant, you might notice that many unfamiliar things are happening within your body, and it can be difficult to keep track. Your feet, though, will certainly be one of the first notable changes. Expectant mothers often experience painful, swollen feet, an adjustment in foot size, arch pain, and ingrown toenails. With feet as one of the main measures of circulatory health and other body systems, it’s no wonder that pregnancy is a time where they’re affected, too!
Most often, pregnant women experience weight gain, along with extra fluid and blood, causing what we call “edema” or swelling. It’s key to remember that your feet aren’t used to the extra pounds (though healthy and necessary!) so treat them kindly throughout the day.
• Elevate your feet and legs as much as you can.
• Try “half-sitting” on the couch by adding some cushions between your head, feet, and legs. This pushes extra fluids to your kidneys so they drain out of your body rather than pooling in your feet.
• Limit your salt intake, and drink lots of water. (Sodium is edema’s foe!)
• Lastly, be sure you get plenty of rest.
That’s right. With added hormones, like progesterone and relaxin, flowing through your body, your ligaments everywhere will start to loosen up, including those in your feet. This careful boost of hormones serves as preparation for childbirth so that the entire process goes as smoothly as it can.
With more relaxed ligaments, it’s important that you’re particularly mindful of how you take care of your legs and feet. Looser ligaments mean more opportunity for injuries, and the last thing you need during pregnancy is a foot problem! (Can we get an amen, ladies?)
Like the clothes that start fitting tighter, your old shoes will, too. To protect your feet, you may need to invest in a bigger pair of shoes. Couple that with plenty of rest and lots of fluids, and you’re golden.
Though it’s not as common during pregnancy, overpronation, or the falling of your foot arches (or what many call, “flat feet”), can happen. This, alongside the loosening of your ligaments referenced in the above point, can make your feet feel bigger than they originally were.
Flat feet may cause pain because the condition puts stress on the plantar fascia, or the ligament that holds your foot arch up. (If you’ve heard of plantar fasciitis, this is the same ligament! Read more here about the plantar fascia.)
• Stretch your feet in the morning and before and after you exercise. Here’s a little routine that we like: lift your heel, and point your toes toward the ground. Then flex. (This will feel so great!) Repeat as necessary on each foot.
• Grab a pair of shoes with the perfect support to hold up your arch, or contact your local podiatrist for some custom orthotics. Sometimes our feet need extra encouragement, and for those who experience flat feet, this can make a world of difference. Contact us today for our recommendation.
An ingrown toenail isn’t even ideal outside of pregnancy!
This issue can be quite unpleasant, and if you don’t attend to it properly, an ingrown toenail may require a visit to your local podiatrist for an in-office removal procedure.
Though we love seeing our patients, we want them to lead their best selves and lives by maintaining healthy feet from the start. Stick to comfy, supportive shoes (opt for low-heeled ones if you work in a professional environment), and ensure they’re wide enough to not let your toenails rub too harshly against the sides.
If you do notice the beginnings of an ingrown toenail, please avoid any bathroom surgeries. This can lead to an infection, and you certainly do want something like that to potentially affect your baby.
Don’t be surprised if your feet don’t return to their normal size right away! Just like everything else that changes from pregnancy, that’s perfectly okay.
Exercise is one thing that can help your feet! A simple walk with your new little one can aid in circulation and endorphins (those happiness hormones), and in time, a sense of harmony will return to your life and body.