The Triple Threat:
Swelling, laxity, and weight
Elevation, compression, support in your shoe, and exercise can solve a lot of the foot discomfort of pregnancy.
During pregnancy your feet take a beating. You may notice your feet hurting and swelling or that your shoes don’t fit. First let’s talk about swelling: During the later stages of pregnancy the baby begins to put pressure on your large veins carrying blood from the legs back to the heart. This causes pressure downstream in the legs. Mom also has to carry more fluid and this causes swelling in the legs. This can cause pain, varicose veins, and sore feet because the shoes don’t fit any more. Next let’s talk about LAXITY. Mom’s body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. One of the hormones that gets mom ready to bring junior into the world is OXYTOCIN. It is released late in pregnancy to allow the birth canal to open. It makes ligaments loose. This can make your feet get wider and longer. Add to that the increased weight of pregnancy and it is no wonder mom’s feet suffer.
Simple solutions: First elevate your feet when you sit. Try to avoid sitting with your feet down. If you have no choice, move your heels up and down to make your calf muscles work. This is a pump to move fluid out of your legs. Second, use tight stockings. They help balance the pressure and can decrease varicose veins. Third, get some good arch supports (we have great ones at our office for sale and you don’t have to see the doctor to get a pair) and running shoes. Maybe go up a size. Fourth, get some exercise. This helps strengthen the muscles of the feet and pump blood back up your legs. These simple steps can make a lot of foot pain go away.
Tips to get swelling out of your legs:
Compression stockings come in a lot of strengths and lengths. Sometimes all you need may be over the counter devices from a retail store. Medical strength stockings are 30-40 mmHg and can be purchased at our office, medical supply stores, or on the internet. Try extreme elevation once in a while. Lay on your back on the floor and put your feet straight up on a wall. Move your toes up and down while doing that. Do this for 20 minutes, and you will get rid of a lot of fluid in your legs.