During pregnancy, the hormones relaxin and progesterone assist to prepare women for childbirth by relaxing ligaments. These hormones also act on the ligaments of the hips and feet, which can make us susceptible to pain and injury.
Excessive weight gain, hormonal changes, diet, exercise, warmer weather and changes to your centre of gravity can all contribute to foot pain and swelling (oedema, or fluid retention).
Here are few helpful tips for the first time mamas-to-be to care for your tootsies. Everyone else can benefit too!
Foot care during Pregnancy:
- Walk barefoot in the sand- it's a natural exfoliant
- Elevate your feet when you can to reduce the risk/ effects of swelling, particularly in the afternoon
- Cool your feet in the sea for ten minutes after exercising
- Moisturise and massage your feet and legs after showering. I use coconut oil and spend a couple of minutes at the end of each day to gently massage my feet (I also use the same oil on my bump)
- Some of my friends have suggested support stockings to assist to reduce swelling and the formation of varicose veins
- Roll your feet over a bottle or rolling pin as you sit if you have trouble reaching them
- Check your feet daily for any signs of cracked skin or neglect and address it immediately
- Avoid a high salt diet, which can increase the risk of swelling
- Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes that support you
- Keep toenails short (use clippers)
- Avoid excessive weight gain (yes, consider the pressure on your poor feet if you find yourself reaching for an unhealthy snack. A healthy diet is always best)
- Limit your consumption of fried foods and chocolate
- Eat fresh cucumber. I love to blend cucumber into my cool, raw vegetable and fruit smoothies (yum!)
- Take care of your feet and posture with flat-soled shoes (no heels)
- Drink plenty of fresh water. Contrary to what you might think, keeping hydrated will not increase swelling in lower extremities
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine (this one almost goes without saying...)
- Avoid standing for prolonged periods and circulate your feet and ankles if seated for extended periods of time, particularly if you sit at work. It's best to get up and move around if you can
- Consult your medical professional if you notice sudden or excessive swelling during pregnancy as this may be sign of a more serious condition, such as preeclampsia
- Enjoy gentle, regular exercise, such as walking and yoga. Avoid running and high impact sports during the third trimester, particularly if you are new to these types of activities
- Drink up to two cups of dandelion leaf tea daily. It has a gentle diuretic effect and is safe to consume during pregnancy
- Have your partner or friend gently massage your feet at the end of the day. It's a wonderful way to indulge and relax, naturally.
Sure, you may find it more difficult to buckle your sandals or slide on your socks and boots but trust me- a little extra foot care goes a long way and really helps you to maintain your comfort during these last months.
Any other foot care tips? Please share in the comments below!