Swollen feet during pregnancy, especially in the summer months and towards the end of your pregnancy, is usually very normal* but it is nevertheless unwelcome!
Founder of Sargasso & Grey, Katie Owen, was spurred on to create her stylish wide fitting shoe brand partly as a result of suffering from swollen feet during her first pregnancy. Here she gives some advice as to how best to cope if you too are suffering.
"My first pregnancy, in 2011, was luckily rather uneventful. I did, however, suffer from serious foot swelling (or elephant feet as my husband kindly referred to them!). My ankles merged with my feet to create a terrific pair of cankles and it was both uncomfortable and unsightly, especially as I was still working in the city and was travelling to work every day on the train. If you are pregnant and are also suffering from swollen feet then I empathise! Luckily I found that as soon as my baby arrived, the swelling completely disappeared. What I was more shocked to find, however, was that my feet had spread and are now much wider than before. Sadly, permanently so. But that is another story!
Why swelling occurs
Swelling is caused by your body storing more water than usual when you are pregnant. Throughout the day the extra water tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body, especially if the weather is hot or if you have been standing a lot. The pressure of a growing baby can also affect the blood flow in your legs. This can cause fluid to build up in your legs, ankles and feet.
How can you help relieve the swelling and reduce discomfort?
I have pulled together a few pieces of advice which I found helpful at the time, and which should help relieve some of the swelling and discomfort you might be experiencing:
- Take the weight off your feet - sit down and keep your feet raised. Get someone to make you a nice cup of tea!
- Wear comfortable shoes - If you find you are struggling to get into your normal shoes then look for alternatives that don't hurt your feet. You will make the pain and discomfort a lot worse if your feet are squeezed into ill-fitting shoes. Wider fitting shoes will give your feet extra space to breathe. They will become your great friends as the day wears on and your feet get more swollen. If you are planning to attend a special event where you know you will be on your feet a lot, all the more reason to choose wide fitting shoes. My personal advice, if your feet swell as the day wears on, is to choose shoes with an adjustable fastening so you can loosen it as your feet swell (just like a belt when you have eaten too much!).
- Drink lots of water - Although you might feel you are bloated enough, by drinking water you actually help flush out excess fluid.
- Keep walking - a bit of exercise will help reduce swelling and keep your blood circulating but walking in ill-fitting shoes will only make matters worse! Find a pretty wide fitting pump with a low heel to offer proper support for your feet (completely flat shoes offer no support for your arches and can be just as bad for feet as high heels).
Shoes with an adjustable fastening, which you can loosen, are useful if your feet start to swell throughout the day.
*Please note that I am referring to swelling that gradually occurs. If, however, you find that your feet suddenly swell, there could be a more serious underlying condition and you should see a doctor or speak to your midwife."