Pregnancy and your feet: By Sarah Dangle

Part 2

 

Another issue associated with pregnancy and the lower extremities is over-pronation, more commonly known as, flat feet.  Many hormones are being released and are moving through a pregnant woman's body causing ligaments to loosen in preparation for childbirth.  However, the ligaments in the feet are also loosened which gives the foot less support and leads to flat feet.[1]  The natural weight gain experienced during pregnancy also affects flat feet by altering a woman's center of gravity.  This changes her weight-bearing stance and adds pressure to the knees and feet.[2] 

 

Flat feet can also be dealt with.  Again, resting as much as possible is helpful, but also wearing supportive shoes.  In many cases, custom orthotics can be helpful.[3]  See your podiatrist for properly fitting orthotics.

 

Another issue that results from weight gain is varicose veins.  Extra weight puts pressure on the blood vessels which causes them to enlarge and stick out under the surface of the skin.  Sitting and standing for an extended period of time adds pressure to the blood vessels.  Walking may help reduce varicose veins because it keeps the blood flowing.[4]

 

Finally, some changes may occur to a woman's toenails while pregnant.  Toenail growth may be faster due to the increased blood volume and hormones flowing within a woman's body.  However, as the baby grows it requires more nutrients, which may deprive toenails of the certain nutrients.  Brittleness can occur in the toe nails, ridges or grooves may develop across your nail, and/or dark, discolored lines/streaks, called melanonychia, can develop in the nail bed.  These nail changes will usually go away after your pregnancy.[5]

[1] http://foothealth.about.com/od/womensfoothealth/a/Pregnantfoot.htm

[1] http://www.childbirthsolutions.com/articles/pregnancy/feet/index.php

[1] Ibid

[1] http://foothealth.about.com/od/womensfoothealth/a/Pregnantfoot.htm

[1] Ibid