Pregnancy brings about many changes in your body, and of course, much of your focus is going to be on the changes that it brings to your abdomen as your baby grows. But as your pregnancy progresses, you’ll probably notice some aches and pains beginning in your extremities as well—primarily, your feet. Most people have heard of pregnant women complaining about aching and swollen feet. But can pregnancy really have that big of an impact on that part of your body? Keep reading to learn the truth from the best foot and ankle surgeons in North Houston, TX.
Extra Weight Means Extra Strain
Pregnant woman elevating feet
The more weight you put on something, the more stress you’re applying to it. This is a fairly simple concept that we all understand intuitively. Lifting heavier weights is harder on your muscles. Walking with a heavy pack is more tiring than walking without one. The list of comparisons can go on forever.
When it comes to your pregnancy, you can expect to gain anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds, depending on your weight before becoming pregnant. Imagine going about your normal daily activities with 40 pounds of extra weight strapped around your middle, and you can see why pregnant women’s feet get tired quickly. That extra weight puts a lot of strain on those load-bearing muscles and joints.
Some swelling in the feet is normal if you spend a lot of time in a standing or seated position; gravity naturally causes blood and fluids to pool slightly in these lower regions. This is why it’s important to change your position regularly and move throughout the day, even if you’re not pregnant. But when you’re pregnant, swollen feet can become a constant problem, regardless of how much you’re sitting or standing.
This is due to edema, which is an increase of fluid content in your body’s tissues. When you’re pregnant, the amount of blood in your body increases significantly to help ensure both you and your baby receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients. That extra fluid is much more likely to pool in the lower extremities, so make sure you elevate your legs regularly.
You probably know that pregnancy drastically alters your hormone levels. One of the hormones that will start flowing through your body in huge amounts is a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is responsible for helping your muscles and ligaments to relax and stretch, helping your body adapt to all of the many changes it’s undergoing; it’s also essential in relaxing the cervix and pelvic muscles during delivery.
However, relaxin isn’t great at targeting only those muscles. It will impact the other muscles and ligaments in your body too, including your feet. Between the extra weight, swelling, and high amount of relaxin in your body, it’s fairly common for women to get flat feet during pregnancy. For most women, it’s not a persistent problem, and their feet will return to normal size and shape after their baby is born. But for others, flat feet will stick around and cause persistent problems.
If you’re having painful foot problems—whether you’re pregnant or not—contact orthopedic specialists for the foot and ankle in North Houston, TX. The experts here at Ankle & Foot Specialists of Conroe, The Woodlands, can help. Call now!