During pregnancy the most obvious changes to your body will be in your weight and shape. Weight gain can impact enormously on your feet especially in the later stages with common problems including ankle swelling, cramps, aching calves and sometime varicose veins.
As your bump grows you may not only lose sight of your feet but also be unable to reach them! As your baby grows there is greater pressure in the pelvis which can cause your legs to feel heavy and achy and sometimes a throbbing pain.
But it’s all worth it in the end especially if you help yourself to keep your feet healthy:
- Raise your feet and legs up whenever you can and do daily leg and calf stretches. Whenever you sit down for a cuppa, raise your legs so your feet are above your heart (lying on the sofa with your feet piled up on cushions is nice and comfy and as your bump grows you have a handy built-in shelf!)
- Wear comfortable, supportive footwear – ideally with a strap, laces, or Velcro. OK, so these may not be the most fashionable but wearing high heels can place unnecessary pressure on your joints at a time when they are already under strain as well as being unstable. Remember everyone will be cooing over your bump rather than admiring your footwear!
- Ideally choose a heel height of 3cm as this shifts your weight a little further forward on your feet which can help alleviate discomfort.
- Don’t cross your legs or ankles when sitting
- Keep active – keep the lower limbs moving even when resting. Prevent cramps from occurring by boosting circulation – try rotating your ankles ten times to the left and ten times to the right, and repeating. Before you start an exercise programme, check with your midwife or GP but generally keeping active is enormously beneficial for you.
- If you experience arch pain visit a podiatrist who, if necessary, will be able to provide special inserts for your shoes to help treat the problem. These may be temporary and can give a great deal of relief.
- If swelling becomes a problem consider wearing surgical stockings – with advice from your midwife, GP or health professional
What to look out for when buying footwear during pregnancy:
- Feet tend to swell during the day, so buy shoes later in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest.
- Try on both shoes and walk around the shop to check if they pinch or rub
- Make sure there is 1cm between the longest toe and the end of the shoe
- Keep heel heights to about 3cm
- Choose a shoe with a strap to keep it firmly on your foot, avoiding fiddly straps which are difficult to do up – especially in the final trimester of your pregnancy!
- Choose shoes with a toe box that is high enough and wide enough to comfortably fit, either rounded or square shaped, not pointed
- Don’t rush when you’re buying shoes (even when you’ve spotted the ultimate sales bargain!) – take your time and check they fit you properly
- Choose supportive footwear with extra shock absorption, a supportive arch and firm heel.