How can you look after and care for your feet during pregnancy?
At Maidenhead Podiatry we find foot care during pregnancy is often overlooked with treatment only being sought towards the end of term, and frequently only because feet can no longer be reached.
Anti-natal classes provide lots of information and education about the changes to your body during pregnancy but they rarely include the changes that can take place with your feet
Why do the feet change?
Pregnancy means many changes in a woman’s body and there are common changes that develop over the nine month term. Over the course of a pregnancy the body produces increasing amounts of the hormone relaxin.
Relaxin is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the ovaries and placenta with important effects in the female reproductive system in preparation for childbirth, including relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis to facilitate birth.
The action of relaxin on the soft tissue support structures of the feet combined with gradual weight gain can lead to foot pain as ligaments in the feet relax contributing to changes including pain and broadening of the foot.
Changes to the shape of the feet during pregnancy are often permanent.
This means that your favourite shoes may not fit your any more once you hear the pitter patter of tiny feet.
How do feet change?
A woman’s centre of gravity moves forward during pregnancy due to the natural pregnancy weight gain in the area of the pelvis and abdomen.
This leads to a new weight-bearing stance and often changes the way you walk, adding pressure in the hips, knees and feet. Often a simple set of orthotics can bring relief and make life easier but professional guidance is recommended.
Other common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over- pronation (rolling the foot inwards), odema (swelling), and the build up of hard skin (callous) or corns as a direct consequence of increased pressure and friction.
This can lead to pain in the heel, inner arch, or the ball-of-foot, often worse in the mornings on rising or after periods of rest such as sitting and having a coffee.
Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins largely due to weight gain.
Because of this, it is important to learn more about foot health during pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable.
What can you do and what can we do for you?
Some of the changes are inevitable but there are things you can do to accommodate your feet and make them more comfortable including –
put your feet ‘up’ when you can
wear shoes that allow for the changes
avoid flat shoes – a modest heel will be most comfortable
use foot cream regularly to keep the skin supple
visit a podiatrist for general footcare and nail cutting
A visit to a podiatrist will ensure you are doing the best to care for your feet and you will be given advice on how to continue that care before and after pregnancy.
At Maidenhead Podiatry we can treat and tidy the feet removing hard skin and callus and trimming and burring the nails. We can also give advice on bio-mechanical and gait changes and foot wear choices.
In addition, one of our Chiropractors, Lucy Steele‘s passion lies in the care of pregnant women, babies and children, and most of her post-graduate training has been in these areas. So, if back and/or pelvic pain is your problem Lucy will be pleased to help..