Feet bear the brunt of your increasing weight when you’re expecting. So, it’ll be wise to take preventive measures to keep them in the best of health.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
Foot problems are common when your growing belly starts to put pressure on your feet. There are, however, ways in which you can attempt to prevent them and use home remedies to ease your discomfort before you resort to having your doctor prescribe you something.
What to Do
If the shoe fits
Timothy Maiden, podiatrist at Raffles Rehabilitation Centre gives general foot-care advice, “Wearing supportive and fitting footwear will help reduce many aches and pains in the foot significantly. If changing footwear does not provide relief, a customised shoe insert will help prevent the collapse of the foot arch and reduce aches. I would also recommend daily moisturising with a good foot balm to help retain moisture.”
Wearing compression stockings, stretching the calves daily and moving about regularly instead of sitting or standing in one place to ensure good circulation is also helpful according to Ng Shin Huey, senior physiotherapist at the Rehabilitation Department of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Raise it up
If swelling is your biggest problem, Lee Qimin, podiatrist at NUH Rehabilitation Centre says to elevate your feet to the point that your legs are positioned above the level of the heart, so that blood flows more easily back to the heart and lungs.
“While in this position, you may consider icing the ankles for 15 to 20 minutes every half an hour and doing some ankle rotation exercises. Sleeping on the side instead of the back relieves pressure on the largest vein to the heart, promoting blood return from the lower body. Consume a lot of fluids daily to prevent dehydration, and monitor your weight to avoid excessive weight gain,” she adds.
Watch what you eat
If leg cramps are what’s plaguing you, increase your intake of dairy products or talk to your doctor about calcium supplements. “Expectant mothers can try snacking on bananas or dried apricots which are both rich in potassium. Also, avoid diet sodas and processed meats such as ham or sausages to help reduce the risk of cramping,” says Lee.
Other than that, hot water bottles can help, especially in the evenings. “The best remedy for a foot cramp, however, is to walk it out,” says Lee. Alternatively, grasp your foot with both hands and massage the arch of the foot by moving your thumb from midfoot towards the toes, she adds.
Where varicose veins are concerned, Lee believes that the best remedy and prevention tactic is to promoting blood circulation with daily walking or low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling.
Although looking good may be a priority, especially with all that pregnancy weight gain, a maximum of two-inch heels is recommended.