During pregnancy, it’s common for women to experience foot problems they never encountered before. Over-pronation (flat feet) and edema (swelling of feet) often develop during pregnancy. Natural weight gain puts added pressure on the knees and ankles, which can lead to heel pain, arch pain, and ball-of-foot pain. But foot pain and discomfort can be treated and prevented with some simple footwear adjustments and regular care during pregnancy. Keep reading to learn how to keep your feet healthy and happy while they walk for two. Now before you kiss your shoe collection goodbye and dread the onset of swollen ankles, review the foot care tips below. You’ll see the treatments for expecting moms are things you already enjoy. So take a relaxing bath, then put up your feet while you shop for new shoes and nail polish. 

What to Do

It’s not uncommon for a woman to change shoe size several times throughout the course of pregnancy, so it’s important to adjust footwear accordingly. Don’t squeeze your swollen feet into shoes that are too small or lack cushioning and support. Going up an extra size and adding orthotic insoles to shoes will keep feet comfortable and supported as they carry two. If you stick to your pre-pregnancy shoes, you run the risk of developing bunions and ball-of-foot pain. Over-pronation and decreased balance during pregnancy can be treated with orthotic insoles, which can greatly decrease any pain and discomfort by correcting alignment. Wearing socks that promote circulation will also help decrease swelling and provide relief from foot problems.

Edema usually occurs during the later months of pregnancy when the body retains water and causes swelling. You can reduce the effects of edema by lowering your salt intake, putting your feet up whenever possible, and taking a bath to decrease swelling. Wearing compression socks also helps improve circulation which will decrease swelling and relieve foot pain.

It’s vital to switch out your nail polishes too (that is, if you can still reach your toes!). Harmful chemicals found in nail polishes, such as formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutylphthalate (DBP) have been linked to infertility and birth defects.

Foot Problems Associated With Pregnancy

  • Over-pronation
  • Edema (swelling of feet)
  • Arch pain
  • Heel pain
  • Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot pain)


  • Orthotics
  • Proper fitting footwear is a must!
  • Socks that promote circulation
  • Reflexology
  • Stretches and massages to legs and feet when sore
  • Warm baths to relax muscles and decrease swelling

Daily Tips

  • Put your feet up whenever possible
  • Stay hydrated—drink plenty of water to reduce cramping
  • Cut salt from your diet to reduce swelling
  • Walk to promote circulation in legs
  • Avoid walking barefoot; your feet need support
  • Do NOT use drug store nail polish with toxins
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