Pregnancy can wreak havoc with your body: nausea, varicose veins, aching back and pressure on the bladder. But there’s one thing that’s often overlooked when women think about pregnancy: the effect pregnancy can have on the feet.

Changes to the feet are a normal part of pregnancy. Many women say that they have to buy a larger shoe-size (it’s worth noting that this change is very often permanent). However, larger feet are not the only foot-related change to be aware of during pregnancy. Pregnancy may also cause painful and swollen feet.

Swollen feet are a common complaint in the second and third trimester. This may be due to pressure from your growing bump interfering with the flow of blood from the legs and feet, which is a common problem at this stage in your pregnancy.

If you suffer with swollen feet during pregnancy, you should consider the amount of time you spend standing and walking. Try to spend more time with your feet up, which may reduce the swelling of your feet, stopping that uncomfortable stretching of the skin.

However, if you notice your face or hands swelling, too, you should consult your doctor immediately, as this could be a sign of high blood-pressure, the result of a dangerous condition called preeclampsia.

Foot pain in pregnancy is often the result of over-pronation (also known as flat feet). This commonly occurs in the third trimester, and is often the result of the weight of the pregnancy pressing the arch of the foot flat, resulting in an inward roll when walking. This can make walking very painful, and also increases strain on the back, already under additional pressure with the pregnancy itself.

The good news is that foot pain can be treated with orthotics. Orthotics can be designed with appropriate arch support, correcting your posture and easing the pain. Make sure you’re wearing shoes that fit, as shoes that fit at the start of your pregnancy may not be the right size anymore, and wearing shoes too-small may exacerbate the problem. Your podiatrist can also advise on the best kind of footwear to support your feet in the latter months of pregnancy.

Other than that, just relax and put your feet up as much as you can. After all, you deserve it.

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