Swelling in your feet or the dreaded puffy ankles during pregnancy is mainly down to changes in your weight and water retention, caused by so much extra blood circulating around your body.
“Try and move your ankles and feet around as much as possible to help keep your circulation going,” suggests Matthew Fitzpatrick from The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (www.feetforlife.org). “An easy way to do it when you’re sitting is to draw out each letter of the alphabet with your big toe. This should take three to four minutes on each foot, and moving them while you’re counting through the alphabet will stop you from getting bored.”
Ditch the heels
“During your nine months, your balance and weight distribution completely changes,” says Matthew. “This happens particularly in your third trimester as you get bigger and the extra weight pushes you forward.” You also have an increase of the hormone relaxin in your body during pregnancy, which softens body tissue in preparation for the birth, so your ankles aren’t strong enough to withstand skyscraper heels. Go for well-fitting, flat shoes with a supportive arch and firm heel when you’re expecting, and make sure there’s a 1cm gap between the top of your big toe and the start of the shoe.
Once you’ve had your baby, your feet may still feel sensitive and need some TLC as you’ll be on them a lot with a newborn to look after. Try and maintain your mobility by getting some gentle exercise to keep your blood circulating, and keep your feet well moisturised, which can be a real treat if you get your partner involved in massaging them each night. “Whenever you’re on the move, choose well-fitting trainers for comfort and safety if you’re still feeling a little off-balance after the birth,” says Matthew.
Ease cramps and aches with this sweet-smelling treat. Revitalising Leg and Foot Spray, £14, Bloom and Blossom.
“Heels are a no-go”
“I’m lucky not to have much swelling, but my feet have puffed up during my pregnancy. I’ve found lots of stretches help, and flexing my feet when I can when I’m sitting down. I’ve ditched the heels as they would be instruments of torture at the moment, so I’m living in ballet flats and boots to keep comfy.”
Julliet Wheater, 34, from Surrey, 30 weeks pregnant