While motherhood may be one of the most exciting lifetime experiences, expectant mothers have to endure the rigors of pregnancy before they can even enjoy baby bliss. As a woman’s waistline expands, healthy weight gain during pregnancy can alter one’s center of gravity causing a sway-backed posture called lordosis. This new posture, coupled with weight gain, can create pressure on the knees, legs, and feet. Some of the most common lower-extremity ailments mothers-to-be may face are swollen feet, overpronation (commonly called flatfeet), and cramps in the legs and feet. An obstetrician or gynecologist should make a referral to a podiatrist for specialized treatment of these conditions.

Below is a review of foot ailments that commonly trouble pregnant women and suggestions to prevent or treat the problem:

Swollen Feet/Increased Foot Size/Color Changes

Cause: Excess fluid collects in the foot tissue and extra blood accumulates in the lower extremities (due to weight and position of baby) usually during third trimester. Additionally, hormones released to increase flexibility of the birth canal can also have an effect on the feet.

Treatments: Put on waist-high maternity support stockings before you get out of bed in the morning so blood doesn’t have a change to pool around your ankles.

Prevention: Put your feet up whenever possible, uncross your legs while sitting, and stretch your legs frequently. Wearing properly fitting, comfortable shoes will also help (you may need to get a large size).

Over Pronation/Flat Feet

Cause: Arch flattens out due to body weight and feet roll inward when walking. Extreme stress or inflammation on the fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the forefoot may also be the cause.
Treatments: Purchase approved inserts from your podiatrist at Foot Healers. These will help with arch support and rearfoot positioning.
Prevention: Choose comfortable footwear that provides extra support and shock absorption, and definitely avoid high heels! If you’re looking for an exercise shoe, choose a running shoe since they provide more shock absorption.

Plantar Fasciitis

Cause: Arch flattens out due to increase body weight and feet rolling inward when walking.

Treatments: Using proper foot inserts and orthotics from your Foot Healers podiatrist will help give your foot more of the necessary support.

Prevention: Warm up and stretch properly before exercising, which should be done on a daily basis. Again, avoid high heels and wear comfortable shoes that provide support in the arch and heel. Do not walk barefoot or in backless shoes as this will only exacerbate the problem.

Cramps in the Feet and Legs

Cause: Increase blood volume during pregnancy and high progesterone levels relax your blood vessels to prevent high blood pressure while increase weight in your pelvic area can compress the veins, reducing circulation to your feet.

Treatment: Stretch your calves often and wear supportive shoes. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help ensure that there are no vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Prevention: Walk the cramp out and increase circulation by rotating your ankles 10 times to the right, then to the left. Repeat 10 times.

We hope this overview will help make your pregnancy as comfortable as possible. Visit a podiatrist at Foot Healers to help diagnose and treat any uncomfortable foot and ankle problems.

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