Doctor listening to pregnant women's bellyPregnant women need to observe good foot health to prevent pain and discomfort. Many of the changes the body undergoes during this time such as weight gain and hormonal changes can lead to problems with the feet and ankles.

Fortunately, many of the changes to a woman's body subside once the baby is delivered. However, here are some things that women can do to reduce the problems that can arise.


Seventy-five percent of all pregnant women will experience swelling or edema during their pregnancy. The amount of fluid in the body greatly increases to accommodate the needs of the baby. Unfortunately, this causes swelling in many parts of the body, particularly the feet and ankles.

Here are some tips to accommodate and reduce the swelling:

  • Avoid snug-fitting shoes and wear a more supportive shoe with plenty of room that can also help you feel more balanced as your center of gravity shifts
  • Elevate your feet several times a day
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Get moving - walking increases your heart rate and helps pump the blood from your feet back to your heart.
  • Wear compression stockings

Heel Pain

As the pregnancy advances, weight gain will put additional pressure on the feet which can cause the plantar fascia to stretch causing inflammation and pain. Mild heel pain or plantar fasciitis can often be treated at home by wearing supportive shoes (which is important for other reasons in pregnant women), icing and massage, and by wearing an over-the-counter insert such as Powerstep.  If pain doesn't subside, prescriptive orthotics may need to be ordered by your podiatrist.

Foot Strain and Increased Foot Size

Pregnancy also triggers the release of hormones that enhance loose ligaments, which can contribute to foot strain and increased foot size. But although your joints and ligaments will tighten up post-pregnancy and foot strain will disappear, your feet may remain permanently larger — up to a full shoe size.

For more information about pregnancy and your feet:

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.