As a new mother or mother to be your foot health can dramatically change before and after child birth.
This is predominately due to the changes in your body’s hormone make up, most notably the hormone relaxin which as the name suggests allows the connective tissues in your body i.e. ligaments, muscles and tendons to relax to aid in the birth.
So having the hormone which relaxes structures and the obvious changes in body shape, size, weight and centre of gravity, there are potential issues faced by mothers.
When you consider that the general day to day loading and stress our body puts up with e.g. with every step our feet absorb 3-4 times our body weight, particularly muscle, tendons and ligaments are under the greatest amount of stress and strain. It is these structures that become more elastic and mobile causing increased risk of hip, knee, ankle, arch and SIJ (sacro-illiac joint) inflammation as they struggle to deal with the changes to your body’s make up.
So what can and should be done ?
Generally speaking supportive footwear with cushioning that is easy to get off and on especially in the later parts of the third trimester is ideal. This does not mean you need to wear joggers, although they are excellent in support and cushioning, they can be a problem in getting off and on and are quite hot to wear. Other brands to consider include – Merrell, NAOT, Birkenstock. Absolute Podiatry can assist in guiding you in the best footwear options for you to have during this time.
Regular and controlled exercise. Mixing the type of exercise also helps e.g. rather than walking every day, try walking one day a swim the other and a yoga/pilates class on the other.
Using allied health providers i.e. podiatrists, physiotherapists, massage therapists and osteopaths early on when discomfort starts.
Regular stretches and use of ice therapy to ease foot pain/discomfort.
For most mothers once the hormone levels even out, issues can ease off and life returns to normal, foot wise that is. There are some though that once the body goes through these changes their foot health never returns to pre-baby status.