Pregnancy can be a very positive experience with a lot to look forward to. However, it can also be tiring and uncomfortable at times. Weight gain is a natural and healthy change for your body as your baby grows, but in can also be the cause of some problems, especially for your feet as they adjust. But, by taking a few steps to address these issues, any pain or discomfort can usually be managed quite easily.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the most common problems that can affect your feet during pregnancy, as well as some things you can do to relieve them. Read on to find out more.

Over pronation

This problem is often called flat feet, where the added weight of your baby will cause the arch of your foot to become flatter, which in turn causes your walking motion to change. The absence of any curve can lead to your foot rolling inward as you take each step, something that places additional stress on your plantar fascia — the tissue that connects your heel with your forefoot.

If left untreated, over pronation can cause a number of problems, including strain on the balls and heels of your feet, as well as pain in your calf muscles. Walking can become a painful activity, which can have the knock-on effect of limiting your mobility.

How to relieve the problem

The good news is that there are a couple of fairly straight forward solutions that can compensate for over pronation. One of these is to invest in some specialist insoles, such as these from Shoe Insoles, that are designed to provide extra support for the arch, heels, and balls of your feet. They can also be fitted into most of your favourite shoes and boots, so you can continue wearing them. Another solution is to wear athletics footwear, such as running shoes that is designed to provide extra cushioning for over pronation.

Swelling

Swelling in the feet during pregnancy, especially during the last three months, occurs when your body is holding more water than it usually does and it gathers in the lower extremities. Although the area around the ankle can turn purple, this condition usually isn’t painful, though some discomfort can be experienced. You’re most likely to experience this when you have been standing for a long period of time or when the weather is quite warm.

How to relieve the problem

There are a number of things that you can do to alleviate or avoid the problem of swollen feet, such as:

  • When you are out and about, ensure you take a break every now and again so that you aren’t always on your feet.
  • When you are resting, put your feet up so that they are above your heart as much as possible.
  • Wear comfortable shoes rather than tight fitting ones, as pinching can happen when your feet swell — if you are shopping for shoes, it might be worth looking towards a retailer like Charles Clinkard who stock wide-fitting footwear, as this can make things easier on your feet.
  • There are some simple exercises that you can do to reduce swelling:
  1.  Get flexing – Bend and stretch each foot up and down about 30 times.
  2.  Rotation – Rotate the foot in a circle 8 times in one direction and 8 times in the other direction, then repeat with the other foot.

Note: You should also be aware of a condition called pre-eclampsia, which happens when your feet, face, or hands swell up quickly and suddenly. Unlike regular swelling, this is a serious problem and you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. You can read more information here in our A-Z of Pregnancy Health.

Foot cramps

Foot cramps occur when you experience shooting pains in the muscles in your feet, often after you’ve tried to stretch the muscle. Experts are still debating why mothers-to-be tend to suffer from more foot cramps than usual — some say it is because of the strain from carrying extra weight, while others think it is due to the build-up of excess lactic and pyruvic acids. Whatever the cause, foot cramp can come on from almost nowhere, even at night when you are lying still or sleeping.

How to relieve the problem

You can do a few things to minimise the chance of suffering from foot or leg cramps. Take a moment before going to bed to properly stretch your leg and foot muscles — Good House Keeping recommends that you carry out three easy moves that can reduce the number of cramps you experience. It’s also thought that taking a hot bath in the evening and staying well-hydrated throughout the day can help you to sidestep any painful cramping.

Look out for these three foot problems during your pregnancy and take the necessary measures to prevent or relieve them. Not only will you feel less discomfort, but you will be able to go about your day-to-day life without any problems.