As an expectant mother, you glow as your belly grows and are busy making obstetrics appointments and anxiously nesting away. However, as your list of bodily discomforts builds trimester by trimester, you may find that the pain and soreness make their way down to your toes.
Why Do Feet Swell During Pregnancy?
An overwhelming majority of women experience foot swelling during pregnancy, which usually worsens in the third trimester. The swelling is caused by the production of the hormone relaxin – which stretches ligaments throughout your body – in addition to the overproduction of fluids and water retention. The foot swelling that happens during pregnancy comes about due to gravity. Thankfully, there are several ways to ease the pain and annoyance of this condition. While swelling is a common side effect, it should always be discussed with your doctor, as certain symptoms and types of swelling could indicate preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication.
Shoe Styles to Look for When You Are Pregnant
For some, the increase in shoe size (typically a half to a whole size) experienced during pregnancy may be permanent. Whether or not your feet do eventually shrink, you will need new shoes to accommodate swelling and offer the support needed to combat discomfort and weight gain. Due to the relaxation of the ligaments, your arches may become lower, putting your feet in danger of overpronation.
Things to should look for in shoes to wear during pregnancy include: adequate cushioning to support your weight comfortably; arch support to avoid overpronation; breathability; and a large toe box (i.e. avoid pointed or narrow-toed shoes). Hook and loop closures are also extremely helpful to let you adapt to swelling over the course of a day, and allow you to adjust the tightness of your shoes as you need to. New Balance athletic or walking shoes are great for dealing with foot changes during pregnancy, as are Dansko clogs and Birkenstock sandals.
Exercises and Activities to Combat Swollen Feet
Standing and sitting for long periods of time can exacerbate the swelling (although standing for long periods is worse). For this reason, you should take a break from each activity at intervals. Other helpful exercises include stretching, fidgeting, and elevating your feet to keep the blood and fluid flowing. Going for a swim or even standing in a pool can also provide relief, and at night try sleeping on your side. Light exercise is typically prescribed by doctors: rotating, bending, and lifting your feet can prove beneficial, because improved circulation can help minimize swelling.
Avoid wearing tight clothing, and utilize support stockings or compression stockings specifically for maternity use. In general, you can help the condition by staying cool and applying a cold compress on your feet for short periods of time.
Foods to Help Prevent Foot Swelling
To avoid the water retention that contributes to swelling, drink plenty of water. Avoid too much salt, and keep your distance from licorice, processed foods, and caffeine. Enjoy foods that are water-rich and diuretic (celery, apples and citrus), as well as foods rich in potassium, like bananas.
How to Alleviate Foot Pain during Pregnancy
In addition to foot swelling, another common malady during pregnancy is foot pain. This is caused by the wide variety of changes occurring within your body that shifts your center of balance, in addition to the relaxation of the ligaments. One specific problem that can occur is plantar fasciitis, which is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis can only be diagnosed by a doctor; however, relief can be achieved by wearing closed-heel shoes with supportive heel and arch supports. Other home remedies include icing your feet as directed by your doctor, wearing orthotics, and keeping your feet rested and elevated.
Footwear Etc. offers many solutions for swollen, painful feet, including wide shoes and orthotics, adjustable straps, compression socks and sleeves, and special footwear, inserts, braces and more to treat planar fasciitis. Browse our bountiful online assortment today.