The Effects of Pregnancy on the Feet

Pregnancy can be a time filled with excitement and anticipation as an expecting parent awaits the arrival of their newborn. However, pregnancy also comes with crazy hormones, drastic body changes, and can be very uncomfortable at times. Pregnancy also causes a lot of changes to the feet. Pregnancy comes with a wide range of potential side effects, some of which are more serious than others.

The increased amount of hormones during pregnancy is the main culprit for changes in the foot during pregnancy. The increased hormones act by relaxing the ligaments in the foot, which in turn make the foot flatter, and sometimes up to an entire size larger. Weight gained during pregnancy also plays a role by adding more pressure on the feet and the knees, which in turn puts more stress on the arches of the feet. The gait cycle also changes in pregnancy due to altered center of gravity. The alteration in the center of gravity causes women to be less balanced and more prone to falling during pregnancy. Edema in the lower extremity is also a common complaint in pregnancy, and occurs due to the increased blood accumulated during pregnancy. There is increased pressure on blood vessels leading to a slower circulation, and this causes blood to pool in the lower extremity.

Edema, loss of balance, and flat, painful feet can play a large role in a person’s quality of life. There are a few things that can be done to prevent or treat these common side affects. Orthotics can provide extra support for the foot, prevent over pronation, and even add cushioning to prevent the development of conditions such as plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Orthotics during pregnancy may also help prevent the exacerbation of existing conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, or tendonitis. Exercising increases circulation and can help decrease the amount of edema. Avoid standing for long periods of time if at all possible. Elevating the legs is also important for edema reduction. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, eat a well balanced diet with low sodium intake, and watch for any changes in edema or asymmetry. Resting on the left side can decrease the amount of pressure placed on the blood vessels and decrease edema. Wearing shoes that fit properly and provide support is important during pregnancy to prevent falls and injuries. Wearing proper shoes is definitely an added challenge especially when one cannot even see their own feet, but supportive and stable shoes are a must! This means that shoes with a significant heel are probably not the best choice, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. There is enough to worry about during pregnancy without dealing with foot pain or discomfort. Contact your Podiatrist if you are suffering from any of these common foot ailments.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery in Gahanna. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia