Foot Care during Pregnancy

A new bundle of joy is an exciting time in a mother’s life; it is also one of the busiest times, so planning ahead is a wise thing to do before the child’s eventual arrival. In the midst of preparing for the birth, one frequently ignored or forgotten detail is the extra stress placed on the lower limbs during pregnancy.

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This can cause a number of issues, including pain, discomfort and problems with your balance. Addressing this early enables you to be more comfortable during your pregnancy. Pregnancy can bring about various changes in a woman's body, including noticeable effects on the feet. Here are some common foot-related issues that pregnant women may experience:

What can your feet expect when you’re expecting?

Swelling (Oedema)

During pregnancy, it is common for women to experience swelling, also known as oedema, due to the accumulation and trapped fluid in the body's tissues. This swelling can occur in various areas such as the hands, face, legs, ankles and feet. While mild oedema is a normal part of pregnancy, sudden and severe swelling could be indicative of a serious condition called preeclampsia. If you notice abrupt and significant swelling, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention to rule out any complications.

Loose ligaments

Pregnancy releases hormones called relaxin, which softens and widens the cervix while also loosening ligaments in the pelvis. This ligament laxity, particularly in the feet, can lead to an enlargement of the feet, sometimes resulting in a permanent increase in shoe size. This structural weakness may contribute to or exacerbate pregnancy-related flat feet, causing the collapse of the foot arch.

However, relaxin also serves to loosen ligaments in your feet, causing the bones of the foot to spread. Due to this, a mother-to-be may find that her feet have enlarged, sometimes increasing by a whole shoe size; this effect is typically permanent, and feet size will not reduce after birth. The ligament laxity cause by relaxin could also cause or worsen pregnancy-related flat feet as the weakened foot structures and the increased weight results in the collapse of the foot arch.

Aches and pains

The additional weight carried during the pregnancy can result in aches and pains, including heel pain and the development of conditions like plantar fasciitis.

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Changes in toenails are also common due to the increased blood volume and hormonal fluctuations, leading to altered nail growth, brittleness, discoloration or even the loosening or loss of a nail during pregnancy.

as well as a change in your centre of gravity, may also bring assorted aches and pains along with it. Heel pain can be a problem, and some pregnant women develop plantar fasciitis. Due to the changes in centre of gravity, you may find your balance impaired, leading to a greater risk of trips and falls.

Changes in toenails

You may also experience changes in your toenails due to the increased blood volume and hormones circulating through your body, as well as the additional needs of the foetus. While this can present as faster nail growth, your nails may also experience other changes due to the diversion of nutrients for your baby. These changes can include nail brittleness, discolouration of the nail, or even loosening or loss of a nail. These changes typically last only for the duration of your pregnancy.

Varicose veins

The increased blood volume can also lead to varicose veins, particularly in your legs, enlarging and appearing due to the weight of your baby putting increased pressure on your blood vessels. These can cause discomfort, even pain, for some, and many find them visually embarrassing.

Other foot conditions like bunions, ingrown toenails, corns, calluses and fungal toenails may also worsen or occur during pregnancy due to increased difficulty in personal foot care as the pregnancy develops further – it can be hard to reach or see your feet over baby’s current home!

Why is foot care so important for pregnant women?

Are there home remedies?

Oedema can be reduced by drinking more water, the increased fluid intake actually encourages your body to release the existing fluid in your body, reducing water retention. To further encourage such reduction, you should also avoid foods that are high in sodium. Light exercise, particularly stretching and walking, can help with both oedema and varicose veins by improving circulation and alleviating swelling. Elevating your feet several times a day also offers similar benefits.

How can a podiatrist help?

Most clinicians will avoid performing invasive procedures on women in the first trimester of her pregnancy. This is due to the risks associated with foetal deficiencies or miscarriage. However, our podiatrists are trained and specialised to use non-invasive and conservative approaches to assist our patients, ensuring they can provide support throughout your pregnancy. Podiatrist can also address any foot concerns you may have, including the problems listed above, with non-invasive and safe interventions like PACT light therapy for fungal toenails or customising orthotics for foot pain or flat feet.

The use of orthotics is also safe for pregnant women; in fact, pregnant women have an opportunity while their feet are malleable due to the relaxin.

Due to the increased flexibility of their tendons, their feet are more adaptable to new positions, allowing them to address existing foot problems. The best type of orthotics for pregnant women would be a customised foot orthotic that has been designed according to their gait to properly support their weight and foot shape.

Orthotics also help in stabilising the feet; this is particularly important as estimates of accidental falls account for up to 25% of trauma injuries in pregnancy and that some research has found that the risk of a pregnant woman falling is as high as that of an elderly person.

With proper care and planning, the common lower limb problems associated with pregnancy can be managed or alleviated, taking away the burden of discomfort and pain from the process.

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Common Symptoms

Balance impaired
Changes in your toenails
Loosening or loss of a nail
Varicose veins

How It Looks Like

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Related Conditions


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It was my first time visiting East Coast Podiarty and my experience has been fantastic! Glad to have Shirley and Rachelle as my podiatrist during my experience as they are extremely caring and careful as I'm in my last trimester of pregnancy to treat my wart. Great job to both.

Kent Kent Pang

Our Podiatry Care Strategy

100% non-invasive methods to improve your ankle in 4-8 weeks

An ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist, will be able to perform a thorough foot assessment using diagnostic tools, such as a musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your ankle pain. If surgery is required, your podiatrist will refer you to a trusted foot and ankle doctor for surgical solutions.

A thorough assessment of your ankle

Immobilising the area with splints

Utilising technological therapies

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