Common Questions About Plantar Fasciitis What is the main cause of plantar fasciitis? It is generally classed as an overuse injury that gradually worsens. Something as […]
Your feet are a very important part of your body that are often overlooked and neglected until problems arise. Women that have given birth are more likely to develop lower limb musculoskeletal problems than those who have never given birth. There is also good evidence documenting an increase in foot width, length and lowered arch during pregnancy, and a permanent reduction on arch height after childbirth. During pregnancy a number of changes affect your body including hormonal and weight gain. These two factors play a combining role on your feet.
On average, an extra 12.5kg (2 stone) in weight is gained in pregnancy which can be broken down to the following areas:
Baby, Placenta, Amniotic fluid = 4.8kg
Uterus muscle increase, blood volume, extra bodily fluid, breast increase, fat increase = 7.7kg
Not only is the extra weight a potential mechanical problem for your feet, but also the rate at which it is gained. On average, a woman will gain 1-5 pounds of weight during the first trimester then 1 pound per week in the second and third. Weight is therefore gained rapidly from the second trimester and your feet will have to carry it with each step you take.
The ovary and placenta both produce a hormone called relaxin. During pregnancy, your body produces 7-10 times more of this hormone which is believed to increase the laxity of the ligaments at the pelvis to aid delivery. As the hormone is systemic, it will also have an effect on other ligaments in the body under stress, particularly your feet that carry all of the increased weight.
It is believed the combination of the increase in weight, and relaxin hormone are the two main contributing factors in permanently effecting the laxity of your feet during pregnancy.
Seeing a podiatrist can get you the best foot health advice and make your pregnancy a comfortable one.
Steven Thomas, Specialist Podiatrist. September 2017
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Thoughts and advice on foot health care from the Podogo team.