05 Mar 2018 pregnant belly

Over the course of your pregnancy, your body will go through a lot of changes, and your knees, ankles and feet aren’t immune to these changes. While feet might seem like they have nothing to do with pregnancy, things like weight gain and hormonal changes can influence them in a number of ways.

Here, we explore the different ways your lower legs and feet can change over the course of your pregnancy.

Foot Length, Width and Arch Height

It’s not uncommon for women’s feet to get bigger when they’re pregnant. This happens because the amount of fluid and tissue building up in your lower extremities increases, which can cause feet and ankles to grow more voluminous.

Hormonal changes can also make ligaments laxer, which can result in your feet becoming slightly longer and wider, while the height of your arch will likely decrease making your foot seem flatter. As a result of these changes, your normal footwear might start to feel too small. A lot of women claim these changes are at their worst during their first pregnancy, but not as noticeable during subsequent ones.

In some instances, women will notice permanent changes to the shape of their foot post-partum. However, most women’s feet will return to normal in the weeks and months after they give birth.

Joint Mobility

Much like pregnancy can cause a level of laxity in ligaments, it can also make the joints in the foot and ankle laxer. As such, balance can be influenced, especially when weight gain is thrown into the mix. As you progress through your pregnancy, this joint laxity can cause a slight shift in your gait, as well as the curvature of your back, which can also influence your balance.

Lower Leg Swelling, Cramping and Pain

A common impact of pregnancy on your lower legs and feet is the frequency and severity of cramping, especially in your calves. The increased size of the uterus and the presence of the foetus slows the flow of blood from the legs to the heart causing a build-up of fluid in the legs. Compression stockings can help reduce swelling, as can regular walking and low-impact aerobic exercise.

Drinking plenty of fluids and massages can also provide relief from any discomfort experienced in your lower legs during your pregnancy.

Most changes women experience to their knees, lower legs and feet during pregnancy are perfectly normal and are no cause for concern. However, for peace of mind, and to ensure none of the changes your lower extremities are going through is out of the ordinary, schedule a check-up with Cannington Podiatry today!

You can call us on (08) 9351 8334 or submit an online enquiry form through our contact us page.