We have all heard the stories about women’s foot size increasing after pregnancy, I always thought it was an old wives tail and would never happen to me. Well it took me about 3 years to realise, mainly due to the fact that I had not had the opportunity to wear my going out shoes (after having 2 children close together) but low and behold I do not fit into my going out shoes anymore!
After researching this topic further I wish someone had explained to me the importance of looking after my feet during pregnancy. I know we have so many other body parts to concentrate on during pregnancy and generally we might get a foot rub from our partner if we are lucky. The main concern in most pregnancy are that our feet will swell and we will not fit into our shoes. This is a really common occurrence and we instantly revert to wearing the easiest thing to slip on our feet, Flip flops or thongs, dependant on where you grew up.
So I am here to tell you especially as its summer, don’t wear thongs unless they have some arch support!
There is limited research into this topic but the research that is available is well worth looking into.
It has been found that foot length and width can increase due to pregnancy and also that your foot arch can drop by up to 1cm!
This has been attributed to an altered gait pattern (the way you walk).
This can all be traced back to the fact we have an increase of weight when we are pregnant and also the change in our hormones. Our feet take a beating! The majority of change in feet seems to occur during our first pregnancy. There is a fantastic article: Pregnancy leads to lasting changes in foot structure ( 2013) where the researchers have suggested that the incidence of hip and knee issues are more common in older women who have had children, and they are suggesting this all relates to the fact our arches have dropped.
So when you are pregnant look after your feet!
Give them support, if you have to wear thongs there are whole heap of new thongs around with arch support. Do foot exercises to wake up those little muscles in your feet so your arches get a little extra support.
We use these hard yellow massage balls to wake up the feet. Try 10 to 20 presses on the ball of your foot, repeat on the arch and then the heel. Remember you arch is generally more sensitive so be gentle. We have our pregnant ladies sit down to do this work, just so we can ensure their pelvis does not shear with the movement. You can also substitute a franklin ball if you need something a bit softer.
Another exercise to try is scrunching your toes on a towel. Try to get the towel to move, focus on lifting your arches when preforming this exercise.