Body aches and pains are common during pregnancy
Many pregnant woman will experience some musculoskeletal discomfort - particularly during the third trimester. As you gain weight and your posture changes, there is an increase in force on joints and soft tissues, often resulting in pain.
The most common areas that are affected are the lower back, sacro-iliac joint, pelvis, legs and feet.
What can you do?
Remain active throughout each trimester.
Mild to moderate intensity exercise such as walking, yoga and stretching help maintain joint mobility, muscle flexibility and strength.
Always seek medical attention for any musculoskeletal pain.
Many Registered Massage Therapists are trained and certified in prenatal massage techniques. Massage therapy during pregnancy can help with sleep and improve mood, reduce edema (joint swelling) by increasing circulation and relieve nerve pain, including sciatic nerve pain.
Make sure that your prenatal massage therapist places your body in a safe, comfortable position. A side-lying position, supported with pillows if necessary, is usually the best way to lie down on a massage table. After 22 weeks, lying on your back should be avoided because it can put pressure on your inferior vena cava - a blood vessel that is important for carrying blood and nutrients to your baby.
Foot problems are very common during pregnancy
Your body goes through a lot of changes when you’re pregnant. The last thing you want to worry about is your feet. Did you know that women’s feet often go up a half to full shoe size during pregnancy? This can be caused by weight gain, which puts greater stress on the feet and hormone-related overall ligament relaxation, which makes the foot structure more malleable. Sometimes, the change in foot size is permanent.
Unfortunately, foot pain is VERY common during pregnancy and can persist for many months after giving birth. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to help.
Here’s a list of tips for some of the most common foot problems experienced during pregnancy:
1. Foot pain, over-pronation and plantar fasciitis
Due to the natural weight gain during pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity is completely altered. This causes a new weight-bearing stance and added pressure to the knees and feet. Many women will complain of pain in the heel, arch or ball of the foot.
Pregnancy weight gain also causes added pressure on the body, which in turn causes the arches to flatten and roll inward when walking. This is called overpronation (flat feet). This can cause inflammation of the plantar fascia on the bottom of the feet (plantar fasciitis) and lead to pain in the feet, calves and back and can make walking very painful.
What can you do?
Orthotics should be designed with appropriate arch support to correct the over-pronation. If you have mild, occasional foot pain, off-the-shelf insoles can be helpful as a short-term solution. These off-the-shelf insoles will offer some temporary relief and won’t cause any harm, however, most only provide extra cushioning and don’t address the underlying causes of your foot-related pain or discomfort.
If you have chronic or serious foot conditions insoles made of gel or other soft materials can potentially do more harm than good because the soft, flexible material creates an unstable surface underneath your feet.
In these cases, custom orthotics are a better option, especially considering that they would be made specifically for your feet according to the specifications of a Chiropodist or Podiatrist.
Proper fitting footwear:
Choose comfortable shoes that provide extra support and shock absorption. Your Chiropodist or Podiatrist can help advise you on the best footwear to suit your specific foot condition, lifestyle and activities. It is important to treat over-pronation for pain relief but also to prevent other foot conditions from developing such as Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Post-Tib Tendonitis and/or Bunions.
To learn more about how to protect your feet using the correct footwear, visit:
Edema (swelling of the feet) is a very common foot problem experienced during pregnancy. It is usually noticed around the fifth month and tends to increase during the 3rd trimester. During pregnancy, the body produces approximately 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy that is caused by this additional blood and fluid. The extra fluid has to go somewhere, so it tends to be pulled down by gravity to your feet and ankles, leading to swelling.
What can you do?
Elevate your feet as often as possible. If you have to sit for long periods of time, place a small stool by your feet to elevate them.
Proper fitting footwear. Footwear that is too narrow or short will constrict circulation. You may notice that your shoes become too tight.Wear seamless socks that do not constrict circulation.If you are driving for a long period of time, take regular breaks to stretch your legs and promote circulation.
Wear compression stockings to help decrease the swelling. Our Chiropodists and Podiatrists can assess and take measurements for compression stockings for you.
Exercise regularly to promote overall health; walking is the best exercise.
Rest on your left side. This decreases the pressure on blood vessels and allows more fluid to move from your legs to your upper body.
Stay hydrated. The more water you drink, the less fluid the body will retain.
Avoid salty foods. Eat a well-balanced diet and avoid foods high in salt that can cause water retention.
Swelling is normally similar in both feet. If swelling is not symmetrical in both feet, this may be a sign of a vascular problem and a doctor should be contacted immediately.
3. Leg Cramps
These painful cramps usually affect the calf muscles and may be caused by changes in calcium and magnesium concentration, dehydration, muscle fatigue or increased pressure from the uterus on the blood vessels and nerves. Leg cramps are most common during the 2nd trimester and occur more often at night. If the cramps persist, please speak to your doctor.
What can you do?
Massage your calf and flex your foot to try and alleviate the pain during a cramp.
Exercise regularly and don’t forget to stretch.
Take a warm bath to relax your muscles.
Talk to your doctor about taking calcium, magnesium or vitamin B supplements.Stay hydrated.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water regularly throughout the day.
4. Varicose veins
These are veins that have become enlarged and look like twisted purple chords under the skin. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body (the inferior vena cava), which increases pressure in your leg veins. You may have no symptoms at all, or the varicose veins might be sore, itchy or make your legs feel tired and achy.
What can you do?
Avoid standing for long periods of time, walking is a great form of exercise to help improve your circulation.
Take frequent stops to exercise and stretch your legs if driving or flying long distances.
Compression stockings can help alleviate the pain or discomfort you may experience.
Avoid crossing your legs, to prevent excess pressure on the blood vessels in the legs.
Lie on your left side to help relieve pressure and improve circulation.
How do custom orthotics work?
Whether you’re a new mom, you’re expecting or are trying to keep up with a busy toddler, custom orthotics can help alleviate discomfort, reduce fatigue and keep you staying healthy and active.
Orthotics help to relieve pain in the foot, heel, ankle and lower leg by placing these joints back into their natural alignment so that they ‘track’ properly, move more efficiently, and with significantly less discomfort. By properly aligning the foot and ankle, there is often also a reduction in knee, hip and back pain, since the foundation of the ‘kinetic chain’ is being properly aligned. The feet represent the base of the kinetic chain, and each subsequent joint above the feet can be considere