What are Swollen Feet?
During pregnancy a woman’s body experiences many different changes. A common downside to pregnancy is foot pain. Expectant mothers often complain about tired, sore and swollen feet which can range from a dull ache to severe pain.. This is natural because the additional weight gained during pregnancy alters a woman’s center of gravity, changing her posture and balance, and adding undue pressure on the knees and feet.
Burning sensations may develop and feet may feel hot because of an increase in body temperature due to hormonal changes. These changes affect the way the feet would normally function and as a result a number of foot conditions may develop.
What Causes Swollen Feet?
Two of the most common foot conditions brought on by pregnancy are over-pronation or weakening of the arches (also known as flat feet) and edema. When over-pronation occurs, your arch flattens and your feet roll inward. As a result, excessive strain is placed on the calves and back making walking extremely painful.
If over-pronation or flat feet are left untreated, more serious conditions such as metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain) or plantar fasciitis (severe heel pain) can occur. Edema is a condition in which the extra fluid in your body becomes displaced and is stored in the hands and feet. Many women experience edema and it typically occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy, and especially in the summer months.
Feet and ankles swell and turn purplish in color. Edema usually disappears after delivery but if swelling appears more prominent in one foot than the other or affects the face, consult your doctor immediately. Other foot problems that may develop and cause ‘"pain" include bunions and calluses, while many pregnant women experience varicose veins and leg cramping.
Help for Swollen Feet
Very often we tend to neglect our feet but during pregnancy, it is very important to maintain foot health. Rest your feet throughout the day and try to keep them elevated to reduce the swelling Keep in mind that although you should reduce your activities and take regular breaks. It is still vital that you remain active and walking and swimming are gentle forms of exercise that will not place undue stress on the body.
Treat your feet gently by choosing proper-fitting footwear that will accommodate swelling feet. Wear shoes that are comfortable and have Velcro, laces or an arch support. Consult a podiatrist about insoles or orthotic devices to treat foot conditions such as over-pronation, edema, plantar fasciitis or bunions.
Orthotics are designed to provide extra support, shock absorption, cushioning and protection. Avoid using any topical medications on your feet during pregnancy unless it has been prescribed by your doctor. To keep feet feeling cool and refreshed, immerse feet in a tub of warm, salt water and then apply cooling foot gel. Having regular foot massages or pedicures can also relieve fatigue and rejuvenate the mind and soul – the perfect pamper treatment for any mum-to-be!
During pregnancy feet often need special attention and tender care. Carrying all that extra weight around can wreck havoc to your feet and bring about foot problems you wish you had never had. Soothing tired, sore, achy feet can easily be relieved by using carefully selected aromatherapy oils in a footbath or as massage oil.
Best of all, these oils will provide you with an instant pick-me-up leaving you feeling invigorated and refreshed. Pure essential oils such as Litsea cubeba and Grapefruit (Citrus paradise) have excellent anti-inflammatory and calming properties and also treat swelling water retention, fatigue and insomnia. In addition, Ginger essential oil acts as a pain, eases aches and cramps also improves circulation.
Tips to Help Soothe Swollen Feet
There are a number of things that you can do to ease swollen feet during pregnancy and prevent further foot problems and these include:
- Take short breaks during the day and elevate your feet to relieve the pressure
- Stretch and flex your feet when you are sitting down
- Wear shoes that fit properly and avoid wearing high-heeled or tight shoes while you are pregnancy as they will constrict circulation
- Exercise regularly to ensure optimum health – practice walking every day
- Shop for shoes towards the end of the day as feet tend to swell as the day progresses
- Measure your feet often throughout your pregnancy as they will change in size
- If you suffer from over-pronation, use custom-made inserts in your shoes
- Wear compression hosiery to keep the pressure from fluids down
- Wear seamless socks that do not constrict circulation
- Eat healthy, well balanced meals and avoid foods high in salt that can cause water retention
- Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated, reduce swelling and improve circulation
- Have a relaxing foot massage to soothe swollen feet and stimulate circulation
- Soaking your feet in tonic water can help relieve swelling