Pregnancy causes a wide range of changes and affects throughout your body, not just your belly. One common thing that people don’t always tell you about is foot pain. Most women experience it during the third trimester, but it can occur at many points during your pregnancy because of the extra fluids and weight of the growing baby.
Luckily, the pain will most likely go away after you give birth. In the meantime, educating yourself about foot health, why the pain occurs, and how to treat it can help you be prepared and get through it as best as you can.
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Why Does My Pregnant Feet Hurt?
There’s a lot going with your body during pregnancy. There are several reasons why your feet might become achy. Understanding these changes might help you find ways to avoid extreme pain and make the situation less frustrating.
Here are a few things that might be going on:
The plantar fascia is the part of the foot that provides support and allows motion to help you walk. It’s made up of a long piece of fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone to the ends of your toes.
During pregnancy you’ll be gaining weight at a pretty fast pace, especially during the first few months. This extra weight adds pressure to the plantar fascia and can cause it to become inflamed. It also doesn’t help that your body releases a hormone called relaxin to loosen and relax ligaments to get you ready for birth.
This results in sharp pain around your heel. It can be especially painful after you’ve been sitting for a long time or after waking up. You’ll also notice the arch your foot becoming flatter.
You might also notice increased swelling and bloating during pregnancy. This is wear edema comes in. Your body will create extra blood and other fluids that help deliver oxygen and nutrients to your baby.
Especially during the later months of your pregnancy, your uterus will become enlarged and put a lot of extra pressure on your pelvic blood vessels, which are the ones that pull blood up from the lower body. Since these vessels are compromised by the pressure, extra blood can begin to pool in the tiny veins your legs and feet. The extra fluid retention also adds to the swelling.
If you notice more swelling in one foot, it could mean there is vascular issue. In this case, seek medical attention immediately.
Wearing the Same Shoes
The extra swelling from edema and/or the inflammation of plantar fasciitis could mean that your feet are in need of bigger, more supportive shoes. In other words, proper pregnancy shoes!
Your growing belly can cause your center of gravity to shift significantly so you might need extra support in new places. And don’t forget about that extra dose of relaxin too – it can cause your feet to stretch, widen, and become flatter.
You might wear a whole different size in shoes. If your shoes are too small and lack support, this could be making your pain much worse than it has to be.
Remedies for Relief
Now that you have some idea of why these aches and pains might be happening, you’ll be more prepared to prevent and treat them. Here are a few tips and tricks to find relief from aching pregnancy feet:
Rest and Elevate
Finding enough time throughout your day to sit and put up your feet will help a ton. Even if you just have a couple of minutes. Elevating your feet and legs will help to reduce some of the swelling by moving that extra blood and fluid that might have been building up. Elevating your feet above your heart will have the most benefit.
Elevation is important even if you’re sitting most of the day. If you have a desk job, try putting a small stool or box under your desk to keep swelling down.
Get Some Proper Shoes For Pregnancy
You’ve already learned that along with your belly, your feet are probably growing and changing to. Getting a proper fitting shoe with extra support will help prevent and ease extra pressure. Getting a proper shoe is especially important if you’re experiencing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Find a pregnancy shoe with good arch support and cushion to absorb shock. You’ll also want to stay away from shoes with pointed toes. Square or round-toe shoes provide extra space. Try shopping at later times in the day because that’s when feet tend to be the most swollen, this will help make sure you choose a comfortable size.
You can also seek the help of a professional. A podiatrist could help you identify which regions of your foot need the most support and recommend special shoes or inserts.
Lay on Your Side While Sleeping
Side sleeping is comfortable as your belly is getting bigger, but it also takes pressure off those pelvic veins to allow proper blood flow to return. It’s especially good if you noticed a lot of swelling or were on your feet a lot that day.
Allowing this time for blood to flow back to the heart will also help to regulate your blood pressure.
Stretching and Light Exercise
Stretching you feet and ankles will help improve circulation and reduce cramping. This will be especially helpful for plantar fasciitis pain. Light walking exercises will also help improve circulation and overall wellbeing. Just be sure to take frequent breaks.
Foot pain and discomfort are incredibly common during pregnancy. Changes like weight gain and fluid retention cause extra pressure on your bottom half. It’s even common for your foot shape and size to change significantly.
Fortunately, there are things you can do throughout the day to help alleviate these aches and pains. Taking frequent breaks to elevate your feet and sleeping on your side will help restore proper blood flow and getting proper fitting shoes will increase comfort and relieve pressure. If your pregnant feet hurts, I hope you find some good suggestions here.