Should You Massage Your Feet While Pregnant?

So — you’re expecting a baby! Congratulations! Over the next few months, your body is going to undergo a lot of changes. You’re going to have to learn how to deal with mood swings, start eating a new diet, and figure out what triggers your morning sickness.

As your baby continues to grow bigger, you’re also going to start to experience aches and pains. Sharp pains in your abdomen, a stiff back, and aching feet are all a normal part of pregnancy.

Once you start experiencing these pains, you’re going to find yourself searching for ways to get relief. Trying to get through a day of work while your feet feel like they’re about to fall off is one of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world.

Why do your feet ache while pregnant?

Whenever you start to gain weight during your pregnancy, ligaments in your body begin to stretch and the way you carry your weight changes. This puts extra pressure on your knees and your feet. You’ll start feeling this pressure in the heels, arches, and balls of your feet.

Many women experience overpronation (more commonly known as flat feet) during their pregnancy. The extra weight causes your arches to flatten out, which adds extra stress to your feet and makes walking painful.

Edema, or swelling of the feet, is also very common and can result in sore feet. Your enlarging uterus will cause blood circulation to slow down in your pelvis and legs, which results in extra blood pooling in your feet. This causes your feet to swell and turn purplish.

What can you do about swelling?

Get in the habit of elevating your feet throughout the day. This helps blood flow back up towards your heart instead of pooling in your feet. Ideally, you’ll be able to recline with your feet 6 to 12 inches several times throughout the day. If you work at a desk job, you can also use a small stool to help elevate your feet.

Proper diet, hydration, and exercising also help reduce swelling. Don’t spend all your time sitting down. Walking around helps improve circulation. Eating a proper diet and drinking enough water will help keep your body hydrated so that you retain less fluid.

Is it safe to massage your feet?

Getting your feet massaged is a great way to relieve some of the pain! You can visit a practitioner that is trained in pregnancy massage. Certain areas around your ankles are thought to encourage uterine contractions but a practitioner will know to avoid these areas.

Alternatively, there are also products you can use at home that are meant to improve circulation and get that blood moving back up to your heart. For example, the Human Touch Reflex-4 is an interesting product that relaxes your feet and relieves pain while also improving your circulation. A foot bath filled with warm water is also something you can do safely at home.

How can you prevent foot cramps?

Occasionally, you might find that your feet are cramping up while you’re trying to sleep. This is a normal part of pregnancy but it can make getting a good night’s sleep extremely hard.

If you find that your feet are cramping at night, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can make these cramps less intense. You should also stretch out your calves before bed. If a cramp strikes while you’re sleeping, straighten out your leg and gently massage your calves. If the pain is so severe that you can’t walk, get in contact with your doctor right away.

Do the shoes you wear matter?

Absolutely! Comfortable footwear provides support and encourages circulation. You’re going to want to look for a pair that has a cushioned inner sole and arch support. Avoid flats, heels, and sandals without arch support.

Swollen feet might also mean you need to move up a size. Generally, you’ll want to get one or two pairs of really good supportive shoes to wear throughout your pregnancy. You may also want to consider buying shoes that can easily slip on and off because your growing belly will eventually make tying shoelaces very challenging.

Final thoughts

Treat your feet throughout your pregnancy! Swelling and pain are to be expected. Proper hydration, supportive footwear, regular massages, and taking the time to put your feet up are all good ways to help make the pain more bearable. Just remember that the pain is worth it — in only a few short months, you’ll get to hold your precious new baby.

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