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Foot Problems when Pregnant

Your body experiences a lot of changes when pregnant, including issues related to the legs and feet. Feet swelling during pregnancy is extremely common, along with other causes of aching feet in pregnancy, such as fallen arches. These arise as a result of factors like hormonal changes, decreased circulation, increased volume of fluids in the body, and the extra weight of the baby you’re carrying. In the majority of cases, it’s nothing serious, and the symptoms of swollen feet pregnancy can be alleviated with the help of home remedies.

This article discusses the causes of foot problems and foot swelling in pregnancy in more detail before introducing some effective strategies to ease your symptoms.

Causes of swollen feet during pregnancy

Swelling in pregnancy (also known as oedema in pregnancy) is completely normal. It often occurs because the body is producing more fluid as a way to support and protect the growing foetus.

Many different parts of your body can become swollen while pregnant, with swollen feet and ankles during pregnancy being particularly common. You might even find that you go up a shoe size! This is especially true later in pregnancy, for example, swollen ankles in pregnancy third trimester, as the baby gets bigger and heavier.

There are several possible causes of swollen feet in pregnancy, including:

  • An increased volume of blood in the body (which helps bring oxygen and nutrients to the baby)
  • An increased volume of other fluids in the body
  • Hormonal fluid retention
  • The extra weight from the growing foetus
  • Decreased circulation due to pressure put on veins by the uterus

In addition, swollen legs in pregnancy can be exacerbated by factors such as:

  • Hot weather
  • Spending a lot of time on your feet
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Drinking too much caffeine
  • Wearing high heels or shoes that don’t fit well
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Eating too much salt
  • Nutritional deficiencies

In rare cases, swollen feet in pregnancy can be an indication of a more serious condition such as preeclampsia or deep vein thrombosis. If you notice only one foot swollen during pregnancy, the swelling comes on suddenly, or you have very painful swollen feet during pregnancy, then you should seek professional medical advice.


Home remedies for swollen feet in pregnancy

Although it may not be possible to completely prevent swelling during pregnancy, there are several simple steps you can take to try and reduce swelling in feet during pregnancy and alleviate any discomfort. Some of the most effective swollen feet pregnancy remedies are listed below. As there are several different causes of swelling in feet during pregnancy, try out a few tips and see which work best for you.

Dietary changes to help prevent swollen feet and ankles in pregnancy

You will want to make the following dietary changes:

  • Drink more water – having 6-8 glasses a day ensures you stay hydrated and prevents your body from retaining water unnecessarily
  • Drink less caffeine – caffeine is a diuretic and can cause your body to hold onto more water, which in turn may lead to swelling during pregnancy
  • Increase the amount of potassium in your diet – this will help your body to balance its fluids better and avoid fluid retention in pregnancy. Bananas, spinach, and potatoes with the skin on are all good sources
  • Eat less salt – salt encourages your body to retain more water, which can lead to swollen legs during pregnancy

What to wear to avoid swollen legs and feet in pregnancy

To help minimise the risk of swollen legs, you will want to wear clothing that’s loose and comfortable – this helps ensure your blood can circulate easily, avoiding swollen ankles in pregnancy. Compression tights or waist-high socks are often great options for pregnant women. These gently squeeze your legs to keep fluid circulating in your body and prevent leg swelling during pregnancy. In addition, wear comfortable shoes – high heels and tight shoes can worsen swollen feet while pregnant.

Lifestyle changes to help reduce foot swelling in pregnancy

Along with dietary changes, you will want to make some lifestyle changes. This includes the following:

  • Keep cool – hot weather can exacerbate swollen legs and feet during pregnancy, so use fans and cool compresses to lower your body temperature in the summer months
  • Try not to stand for prolonged periods of time – this puts added pressure on your legs and ankles, so it can cause puffy feet in pregnancy
  • Try not to sit down in one place for too long – this can reduce circulation and increase the chances of leg swelling in pregnancy
  • Sleep on your left side – this takes some of the pressure off the vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart. You can also raise your feet on pillows during the night so that you don’t wake up with painful swollen legs and feet in pregnancy
  • Elevate your feet – this helps to increase blood flow towards the heart. It’s particularly effective at the end of the day, when blood may have pooled in your legs and feet, causing ankle swelling in pregnancy

You will also want to make sure you are stating active – gentle exercise, such as walking, improves circulation and reduces swollen ankles during pregnancy. Doing foot exercises to get your circulation moving is another great way of moving – try simple movements such as flexing your feet up and down and rotating them clockwise, then anticlockwise a few times to reduce swelling during pregnancy. On top of this, it is recommended to get a massage – as well as feeling nice, having your calves and feet massaged helps can get the fluid there circulating and reduce swelling in legs and feet during pregnancy.

When to see a doctor about leg swelling and pain during pregnancy

Swollen foot pregnancy is a normal experience, and in the majority of cases, it can be alleviated through the home remedies discussed above. However, in rare instances, swollen feet hurting during pregnancy might be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. For example:

  • Sudden or severe foot swelling during pregnancy may be a sign of preeclampsia
  • Uneven swelling, such as swelling in one leg during pregnancy, may be a sign of deep vein thrombosis
  • As such, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor or midwife immediately:
  • A sudden increase in feet swelling in pregnancy
  • Excessive swelling during pregnancy
  • Swelling in the face
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Uneven swelling (e.g., swelling in one foot during pregnancy)
  • Discolouration of the skin in swollen foot pregnancy
  • Chest pains, difficulty breathing, or irregular heartbeat
  • Confusion or dizziness

If you’re unsure whether or not your swollen legs and ankles pregnancy is normal, it’s always best to get medical advice.

Other causes of painful feet in pregnancy

In addition to swollen feet during pregnancy, there are a number of other factors that might result in sore feet in pregnancy. Some of the most common reasons for feet hurting in pregnancy include:

  • Flat feet, or fallen arches, and over-pronation due to the extra weight you’re carrying and the increased production of hormones that loosen your ligaments
  • Leg cramps can cause pain in the calves, possibly due to changes in calcium concentration or muscle fatigue from carrying the extra weight
  • Varicose veins can develop because hormonal changes cause your blood vessel walls to relax, and you also have more blood circulating around your body
  • Hormonal changes and carrying extra weight can result in cracked heels in pregnancy. Although not usually serious, severe heel fissures can be painful or bleed
  • The increased pressure from a swollen foot in pregnancy can also cause dry feet, which may look unsightly and, in rare cases, be painful

Home remedies for painful feet while pregnant

When it comes to dry, cracked feet pregnancy and foot ache during pregnancy, there are several home remedies you can try that will provide some pregnancy sore feet relief. For example:

  • Soak your feet in warm water, and then use a pumice stone to gently remove the hard and dead skin. This is great for a cracked heel pregnancy
  • Moisturise your feet every day to tackle dry, cracked heels in pregnancy
  • Wear comfortable, cushioned shoes and socks to help prevent the material from rubbing against your skin and causing your feet to hurt during pregnancy
  • Take it easy! Rest and elevate your feet to help prevent feet ache in pregnancy
  • Using a cold compress can help alleviate itchy, swollen feet while pregnant

Before using any home pedicure products, be sure to check whether they are suitable for use during pregnancy.

We do not recommend using Footner Exfoliating Socks when pregnant. Always talk to your GP before use if you to decide to use Footner when pregnant.

When to see a doctor about sore feet during pregnancy

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as burning feet while pregnant or your pregnant feet hurt to walk or touch, you should speak to your doctor or midwife. They may be able to recommend special insoles for your shoes, medication, or other forms of treatment for painful ankles during pregnancy.

Foot Problems when Pregnant FAQs

How does pregnancy affect your feet?

Being pregnant causes hormonal changes that relax ligaments and blood vessels, in addition to increased fluid in the body, decreased circulation, and extra weight to carry. All of this can have an impact on your feet. That means that for pregnant women’s swollen feet are very common, as well as other conditions such as sore heels during pregnancy and sore ankles during pregnancy.

When should I be concerned about swollen feet during pregnancy?

In most cases, feet swelling while pregnant is completely normal and nothing to worry about. However, in rare instances, swelling feet during pregnancy indicates an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. If you experience sudden, severe, or unsymmetrical swelling (such as pregnancy swelling in one foot) or discolouration (such as purple feet during pregnancy), then it’s best to speak to your doctor or midwife.

How can I reduce swelling in my feet during pregnancy?

There are a number of simple yet effective ways to relieve swelling in feet and ankles during pregnancy. These include drinking more water and less caffeine, eating less salt, and adding more potassium to your diet. You should also wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Lastly, you can alleviate swollen and painful feet in pregnancy by elevating feet during pregnancy, doing basic foot exercises, and getting someone to massage your sore legs and feet.

Why do the bottom of my feet hurt during pregnancy?

The bottom of your feet may hurt during pregnancy due to plantar fasciitis. The pregnancy might stress your feet and flatten your arches.

Is plantar fasciitis common in pregnancy?

Plantar fasciitis is common in pregnancy and might be the reason why the bottom of your feet hurt during pregnancy. It happens when the tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed.

Why do the top of my feet hurt during pregnancy?

Your feet may hurt due to an increased volume of blood in the body and volume of other fluids in the body. It could be because of hormonal fluid retention, the extra weight from the growing foetus, and decreased circulation.