You can expect a lot of physical changes during your pregnancy. Though the most noticeable may happen around your belly, nearly every part of your body will experience something new during this time. Your feet take a lot of the impact from your growing body as the pregnancy progresses, and you’re likely to notice several changes, some which can even be permanent. Here’s what to expect.
Swelling is common in the feet, ankles, and calves during pregnancy. This typically worsens in the later stages. Your body naturally retains more water when you’re pregnant, which contributes to some of this swelling as this extra liquid tends to pool in the lower extremities, particularly when you’re on your feet a lot.
Your feet and ankles may also swell because it’s more difficult for your body to pump blood back upward when you’re pregnant. Your expanding uterus can put pressure on the veins bringing blood back up to your heart, slowing down circulation in this area.
In most cases, swollen feet, ankles, and legs are perfectly normal. However, a blood clot can form in rare cases. Symptoms of a blood clot include warmth, tenderness, and persistent pain. You may also notice redness at the site of the clot. Contact your doctor immediately if you suspect a blood clot.
Another complication associated with swollen feet is preeclampsia. This is a serious condition that requires medical treatment as soon as possible. Contact your physician if you notice symptoms of preeclampsia, such as a bad headache, blurred vision, flashing lights in your eyes, severe pain beneath your ribs, or swelling in the face and hands.
Pregnancy hormones cause the ligaments in your feet to loosen, which makes your feet grow. The added weight from your pregnancy may further contribute to your expanding feet, which can increase in both length and width.
You may start wearing an entirely different shoe size during pregnancy. If your shoes feel too tight, don’t try to fight the change. Rather, invest in a pair of new shoes that are sized to the current dimensions of your feet so you can enjoy the comfort that you need and deserve during your pregnancy. Avoid heels and choose something supportive instead.
Though your feet may return to their original size and shape after the baby comes, some women experience a permanent increase in shoe size. This typically occurs during the first pregnancy, as foot growth is less dramatic during subsequent pregnancies.
Pronation is the process by which your feet roll inward as you take a step. If your foot rolls more than 15 degrees, you have what’s known as overpronation. This causes the inner edge of the foot to take more weight and pressure than it should.
Overpronation during pregnancy results from weight gain and a slight change in gait. As your body takes on a different shape, you may begin to walk with your feet further apart or otherwise adjust your stance. This can leave you standing and walking in a flat-footed fashion, which isn’t good for your feet. Overpronation leads to bunions, stress fractures, and other problems.
Women often fail to notice overpronation until it’s become a painful problem. Make an appointment with Dr. Bever or Dr. Schoene at the first sign of trouble to address possible issues with your pronation. This specialist can prescribe orthotic therapy, providing you with specialized devices that will restrict the motion of your foot and relieve pressure on the inner side. This helps to properly distribute weight along your feet so you can walk as comfortably as possible. Using the proper orthotics during pregnancy can also ease pressure and pain in your knees, hips, and back.
Proactive measures can help you avoid many of the more painful problems associated with your feet during pregnancy. Try these tips to keep your feet as comfortable as you can when you’re pregnant:
If you’re experiencing a great deal of foot pain and swelling during your pregnancy, it’s best to see a specialist who can address this problem. Dr. Schoene and Dr. Bever are experienced podiatrists who can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan for a more comfortable pregnancy. Contact Gurnee Podiatry & Sports Medicine Assoc. today to learn more.