Foot Care During Pregnancy
The female body goes through a lot of changes to accommodate a pregnancy, from head to toe. It’s important to keep legs and feet healthy during pregnancy for proper support throughout and to prevent avoidable pain. If you or someone you know is expecting, here are some things to consider in order to keep feet well as pregnancy progresses!
Swollen feet are the most common foot woe during pregnancy. The body increases the overall amount of fluid in your body to help support the pregnancy, and this can end up your lower extremities. Gravity also plays a role, pulling that extra fluid down to your feet. Some women can experience swelling during one pregnancy but not another, as each pregnancy is different. If you experience a lot of swelling, watching your salt intake can help because salt will make you retain fluid. There are a few instances when you should see a doctor about swelling. If you notice asymmetrical swelling, one foot much larger than the other, it could indicate a circulation issue.
Legs can also experience swelling and cramping. Stretching when you can and adding more calcium and potassium to your diet can keep cramps at bay. Staying hydrated is important throughout pregnancy and will also help with cramping. For cramping and swelling, it’s important to elevate the feet whenever possible. Do not cross your legs, and if possible elevate your feet above your heart – this helps blood flow back to your lungs and heart and relieves pressure on your feet. If you sit at a desk most of the day, even stretching and wiggling your feet and legs as much as you can help. Tight socks and footwear will encourage swelling, so wear comfortable socks and shoes.
Wearing shoes that don’t accommodate the changes in your feet during pregnancy is a big mistake that can leave you in a lot of pain. Some women’s feet can change permanently in size up to a full shoe size during pregnancy. Ill-fitting shoes won’t only be uncomfortable but will increase the odds of ingrown toenails which can be painful. A slip-on shoe may seem like the comfiest option but won’t provide enough support. The best shoe to wear has a lot of support and a tie closure. Even with appropriate shoes, some women experience flat feet from carrying extra weight. Flat feet can cause pain in the toe area (Metatarsalgia) and the heel (Plantar Fasciitis) but shoe inserts can help maintain arches. The right shoes are important to have enough support for you to carry that precious cargo!