During pregnancy, a woman experiences a wealth of changes to her body. One of those is changes in the feet. Although you may pay more attention to other parts of your body that are changing, be sure to remember the changes, pains, and issues you may experience in your feet. Your feet are crucially important, so you need to care for them properly. Here are some things you need to know:
You May Experience Permanent Changes
Although most pregnant women will experience changes in their feet, some of them may be permanent after the child is born. Some women's feet get a little bigger or wider. You may have to adjust your shoe size during and after your pregnancy. This is totally normal as long as you do not experience pain.
You May Have Edema
Edema is one of the most common foot anomalies pregnant women experience. Edema, or swelling, happens when the body retains extra water to help support the baby's growth. Edema makes your feet appear larger and they can feel tight and painful.
If you are dealing with edema, there are some things you can do. One of the best things is to drink extra water. It may seem counterintuitive, but water helps to flush out your body's circulatory system and prevent the water from pooling up around your ankles and in your feet. In addition, you should also decrease your intake of salt and caffeine. Too much salt causes your body to hold more water than it actually needs, which contributes to the swelling. Likewise, caffeine causes dehydration which prevents the proper circulation of fluid throughout your body.
Other things you can do to help edema in your feet include gentle exercises such as walking or stretching. You should elevate your feet and wear compression socks if the swelling is especially prevalent.
You May Need to Pay Attention to Your Gait
As your midsection gets heavier, you may notice a change in your gait as you walk. This can also happen because the arches in your feet can get flatter during pregnancy. Because your body is experiencing an influx of hormones that soften the ligaments in your body, it is not uncommon for the ligaments in your arches to change. The best way to deal with this is by wearing supportive shoes that support your arches. If you still notice your gait is off, be sure to visit your podiatrist. The doctor will watch you walk and identify ways to specifically support your feet.
Contact a podiatrist for more information about foot and ankle care.