Throughout a woman’s pregnancy many changes occur within her body. As much as this is a beautiful experience, it usually involves some levels of discomfort along the way. Pain and swelling of the feet are one such condition that is experienced by many expectant Mothers.
This discomfort in the feet is primarily due to the increased weight gain altering the Mother-to-be’s centre of gravity, which in turn applies new/different pressure to the joints (knees and feet). Compounding the issue is the body’s release of natural hormones, which allow tendons and ligaments in the body to relax and stretch in preparation for childbirth, and this includes the ligaments in the feet.
Common foot complaints during pregnancy
There are two major complaints when it comes to foot pain experienced through pregnancy.
1) Over-pronation – aka ‘flat feet’ is when the arch of the feet flattens, causing the feet to turn inwards while walking. This can cause inflammation and pain from the heel to the forefoot and is very uncomfortable.
2) Oedema – swelling of the feet. This tends to occur in the latter stages of pregnancy as the enlarged uterus puts pressure on blood vessels in the pelvis and legs. This slows down return circulation resulting in additional fluid pooling in both the legs and feet.
In addition to this many woman also experience leg cramping and also spider veins due to carrying additional weight and having slower circulation.
How to prevent, treat and minimise prenatal foot discomfort.
Here are some proven methods for treating both over-pronation and oedema during pregnancy.
Over-pronation can be prevented / treated quite simply by wearing comfortable shoes that provide excellent arch support. Some pregnant woman may also need to have a customised foot orthotic made to correct the over-pronation.
Please note too, that a pregnant woman’s foot size will tend to change throughout her pregnancy (sometimes permanently) and so her regular shoe size may not be appropriate.
In addition to having proper and comfortable footwear Oedema (swelling) can be significantly reduced by observing the following:
1) Good Diet
The Mother-to-be will already be doing her best to eat a well-balanced diet. However, one thing to watch out for is salt intake. Excess salt can cause water retention so it’s important to limit those foods that are high in salt content.
The best exercises during pregnancy are ones that are low impact and also help to increase circulation. Two great ones are walking and swimming, which should be done regularly, if not daily.
3) Drink Water
Keeping well hydrated is vitally important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that drinking lots of water helps you to retain less fluid.
One easy and effective way to minimise fluid pooling in the legs and feet is to keep them elevated wherever possible, especially when sitting for long periods.
When it comes to treating both over-pronation and oedema during pregnancy, one often overlooked method is massage.
Pregnancy massage is great for both pain relief, draining of excess fluid and also increasing circulation. Not to mention it is deeply relaxing and can also increase energy levels as well as feelings of well-being and vitality.
I hope these feet care tips help to provide you with greater comfort during your pregnancy. After all, your feet allow you to move through your world and you need to give them the care and respect that they deserve so they can love you back.
Give me a call on 0407 774 552 to schedule your pregnancy massage today!