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Pregnant in Heels? Taking Care of Your Feet in Pregnancy

Katlyn Joy |13, January 2013


While you will temporarily be unable to see them, your feet like virtually every part of your body, will undergo some changes during pregnancy. Most will revert to normal soon after birth, but some may be permanent. All these changes will affect your shoe choices.

The hormone progesterone is increased during pregnancy and that results in relaxed muscles and ligaments and this leads to spreading of the foot bones. Thus while pregnant you may need a size larger shoe, or perhaps 2, and this change may persist even after baby has arrived.

Edema or swelling in the feet is another problem of pregnancy especially when weight gain is rapid. Swollen feet and ankles can bring on more pain as your shoes ' fit right anymore. Many women suffer from over-pronation or flat-feet while carrying a baby as well.

Some may also have related problems such as varicose veins, leg cramps, and problems with hardened skin on the feet. However there are some basic lifestyle and self-care tips to battle these pregnancy symptoms.

Drink plenty of water.
While it may seem odd, drinking more water will help reduce water retention. Make sure you are getting your 8 glasses a day. Don't just drink to thirst, as you may already be dehydrated if you are thirsty.

Limit salt.
Get your doctor's advice on just how much you should limit sodium in your diet, and look for hidden contributors such as soups, or some fizzy drinks which you should avoid anyway while pregnant as they are empty calories, offering no real nutrition but high calories. Salt increases water retention and elevates blood pressure.

Take five every hour or so and put those feet up.
Elevating and resting your feet will help keep them happy.

Buy new shoes.
It's unlikely your old shoes will be good for your pregnant feet. Go shoe shopping later in the afternoon when your feet are your puffiest. Look for shoes that meet the requirements outlined below. Better yet, buy two pairs of shoes and switch off for maximum comfort.

Keep feet cool.
Your heating and cooling system in your body will be all out of whack while pregnant, and your feet are likely hotspots. To keep them cool when you get a chance to put your feet up, go ahead and peel off your socks and maybe put a cold cloth on them or a cool pack under them for a few minutes. There are also cooling gels to put on feet that may feel heavenly now.

Exercise regularly.
This keeps your blood from pooling and gets blood circulating. Try gentle exercise that isn't high impact. A good choice for pregnant women especially with foot issues is swimming.

Wear compression stockings to help with swelling.
There are different options available and regrettably none are sexy, but neither are fat puffy feet. Some products are made especially for expectant moms, and using them early in the day before swelling has begun is advisable.

If you are driving, take frequent breaks.
If you are riding in the car, same deal. You need a chance to get out and stretch at least every hour or so. You need a potty break anyway!

If you are sitting for extended periods of time, say working a desk job, use a small stool to ease the pressure on your feet. Keep the stool for breastfeeding later. You'll be glad you did.

Take care of the skin on your feet.
Using pumice stone or softening agents on foot skin will prevent the worst problems such as callouses. If you can't do this yourself, get a loved one or see a podiatrist. There are also foot creams that keep the skin soft supple and comfy.

Try cushioned inserts for your shoes.
You may need extra arch support with your extra pregnancy weight or you may need the shock absorption of comfort pads now.

What to Look for in Shoes

1. Don't buy your former shoe size. Get your foot measured properly to know what size you need.

2. Skip heels as they will throw your already wobbly balance off even more, and increase your clumsiness.

3. Likewise, forget about flats, flips flops or any shoes that have no heel at all. Ideally there should be a 1 cm rise in the heel.

4. Forget pointy-toed numbers too. These will lead to ingrown toenails and you don't want any opportunities for infection while pregnant.

5. Look for shoes with a roomy toe box and cushioning.

6. Make sure your shoes are breathable and adjustable for maximum health and comfort.

7. Most the time, you should wear athletic style shoes as they will provide the support and comfort as well as the stability needed for pregnant women.

8. Also, get a nice stretchy pair of elastic slip-on slippers to rest in. You'll be so glad you did!

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