Why pregnant women need to pay particular attention to their feet

Posted on: 22 September 2015


Pregnancy is a time when you can expect all kinds of changes in your body, and because they happen so rapidly, the changes can be alarming for some women. Of course, there is the obvious change of having a growing life inside you and the additional weight that you will put on to support your child's growth, but you tend to hear less about other changes in your body, such as in your feet.

Why does pregnancy change your feet?

Many women will experience some changes with their feet, simply because the feet are bearing more weight during those nine months. If you typically spend a lot of time standing up, walking around, or even running, you are more likely to feel the differences. It's not only the weight of your body that changes, but also the form, and to support the big bump on the front of you, your gait and walking stance are liable to change and cause some changes to occur in the feet. And finally, hormonal changes can affect the feet too.

What are some of the ways that pregnancy changes feet?

Flat feet. The arch you have on the underside of your feet is home to the plantar fascia, and when it gets stretched or torn, it can cause extreme discomfort whenever walking. This can happen during pregnancy because the extra weight that you bear pushes that natural arch downwards and can place strain on that piece of tissue. This is called plantar fasciitis.

Edema. Edema is more commonly known as swollen feet, but the swelling occurs due to one particular reason – excess pools of blood in the feet. Your body naturally produces more blood during pregnancy because it needs more of all its natural resources to support the growth of the child. Unfortunately, this can mean that your circulation slows down and blood collects in your lower legs and feet.

What can be done about this?

Because the feet are more vulnerable during pregnancy, it is worth booking regular appointments with a podiatrist to proactively help with these foot related problems. Podiatrists, like those at Walk Without Pain, will be able to give you advice about how to maintain an active lifestyle without putting undue weight on the arches of your feet, how to choose supportive footwear throughout your pregnancy, and how to use certain exercise techniques to relieve foot pain. And, of course, if you experience edema, flat feet, or any other sudden change in the well-being of your feet, be sure to let your podiatrist know about it right away.