Pregnancy and your feet
Why do feet change during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, hormonal changes, specifically the hormone relaxin, cause ligaments in the body to become more relaxed and flexible. This is essential for preparing the body for childbirth. However, the relaxation of ligaments can also affect the feet by causing the arches to flatten and the feet to become wider. Additionally, the increased weight gain during pregnancy puts extra pressure on the feet, leading to discomfort and swelling.
Is it normal for feet to swell during pregnancy?
Yes, it is common for pregnant women to experience swelling, also known as oedema, in the feet and ankles. The weight gain and increased pressure on the vascular system can contribute to fluid retention and swelling in the lower extremities. Swelling tends to be more pronounced later in pregnancy, especially at the end of the day or after prolonged periods of standing. It is important to manage swelling by elevating the feet, wearing comfortable and supportive footwear, and avoiding prolonged standing or sitting.
Will my feet return to their pre-pregnancy size and shape after giving birth?
While some foot changes during pregnancy, such as swelling, tend to resolve after giving birth, other changes may be more permanent. The flattening of the arches and widening of the feet may persistpostnatally. It is not uncommon for women to go up a shoe size or find that their pre-pregnancy shoes no longer fit comfortably. It is important to wear proper footwear that provides adequate support and to consult with a podiatrist if foot pain or discomfort persists after giving birth.
When should I seek podiatry assessment and advice during or after pregnancy?
It is recommended to seek a podiatry assessment and advice during pregnancy if you experience foot pain, swelling, or discomfort that affects your daily activities. A podiatrist can provide guidance on appropriate footwear, offer strategies to manage foot and ankle swelling and provide customised orthotic solutions if necessary. After giving birth, if foot pain or changes in foot shape persist, it is advisable to schedule a postnatal podiatry evaluation to address any ongoing issues and ensure optimal foot health.
Please note that every pregnancy and individual is unique, so it's important to consult with your healthcare provider or a qualified podiatrist for personalised advice and recommendations based on your specific situation.