The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Keeping Your Feet Happy During Pregnancy

Posted by on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012


If you’ve ever been pregnant or known anyone who was, then you’re familiar with a statement something like this: “And on top of everything, my feet are killing me!”

Yes, we’ve all heard stories about aching feet during pregnancy, so let’s find out what actually happens and what you can do to make that part of your pregnancy a little easier.

Foot issues usually crop up during the second and third trimesters, with about 75 percent of all pregnant women experiencing some kind of foot swelling. Part of this comes from weight gain that puts extra pressure on your feet and makes them swell, as does water retention. Another culprit is the production of relaxin, a hormone that helps your body during labor by causing ligaments to relax–including the ligaments in your feet. As these become more lax, your feet may seem like they’re growing, when they’re really just saying, “Hey, we’re ready for labor! We can help!”

Some women will find that they’re feet snap back to their regular sizes after pregnancy, while others may realize that their feet are now permanently about a half a size bigger. So yeah, note to selves: if you’re trying to get pregnant, you may not want to invest in really expensive shoes.

Now here are some things you can do to try to make your feet feel a little better if you do have foot pain and swelling during pregnancy:

  • Choose the Right Shoes – Yes, I know you may have some important events where you want to dress up and wear your sexy stilettos, or maybe you work in fashion where super high heels are part of the dress code. You’re just going to make yourself miserable, though. If you’ve got an occasion where you need to wear heels, choose wedge or platform style heels that at least help distribute the weight of your body more evenly.

    Also look out for shoes that offer arch support for your feet, such as lace up shoes or athletic shoes. I know, not the answer you want if you’re looking for sexy, but we’re here to talk about healthy and happy, and what’s sexier than someone who is NOT limping around or complaining about her feet? And while flip flops may seem like the answer because they’re easy to slip on and off, they’re actually a terrible choice because they offer no support and make you curl your toes to keep them on. Instead look for sandals that have molded soles that support your arches and have straps to keep them on.

  • Add pads. If you notice you have blisters or calluses forming, pick up some padding or moleskin to put in your shoes to protect those areas.
  • Moisturize. When your feet swell, your skin undergoes a lot of stress. Use moisturizer on them to keep the skin supple and soft.
  • Drink up. Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out excess liquid and avoid salty foods that make you retain water.
  • Ask for a raise. Elevate your feet when you sit down to let the fluids course down from your feet.
  • Ice, baby. Soak your feet in cool water or spend some time in the pool to bring down swelling.

Swollen feet during pregnancy can be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia. It’s not common, but if you’re feeling a lot of pain and swelling in your feet during pregnancy, there’s no harm in bringing it up to your OB-GYN. Also, the extra pressure on your feet can sometimes cause plantar fasciitis, a foot condition where the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that stretches from your heel to the beginning of your toes becomes stressed, causing pain in your heel. If you notice unusual heel pain, contact a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to get an accurate diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan.

Good luck, eat well, take your vitamins, stay as active as you can, and remember that your feet only have to endure nine months of this, give or take a few weeks! If you’re having any foot issue, pregnant or not, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.




If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.