Tired, aching legs and swollen ankles might seem an inevitable part of pregnancy – but they aren’t always caused by the extra weight you're carrying. Pregnancy triggers an increase in the production of progesterone. This hormone relaxes the muscles in the leg veins, causing them to become more elastic - this can lead to swollen ankles and tired, aching legs.
The increase in body weight - and 'waddling' walking action to accommodate the bump - can sometimes cause foot problems, such as the build up of hard skin, corns and calluses. If the extra weight means your feet can't support your body properly, it can also lead to related pain in the knees, hips and lower back.
There's a chance that problems such as varicose veins or other circulatory problems can occur. Once they have, they may not go away once you've given birth.
Wearing compression hosiery can help prevent varicose veins developing, and also alleviate tired aching legs. We have a range of clinically proven graduated compression hosiery designed to aid circulation. For more information, see Circulatory problems.
Wearing low-heeled shoes and using cushioning products in footwear will help reduce comfort. It's also a good idea to check your size when buying new shoes during pregnancy; a normal size 6 might have gone up to a 7 or 8. Scholl Spring Action Inserts help relieve tired aching legs and feet, whilst Scholl Party Feet Gel Cushions help prevent the burning pain in the balls of the feet.
Hard skin is best dealt with through a regular foot-care regime. Pumice stones, foot files and exfoliating creams reduce hard skin build up and prompt healthy cell growth below. Regular application of moisturisers improves the skin's elasticity, helping to prevent the inflexibility and dryness that can cause rough, hard skin and calluses to form. Scholl foot skin care expertise brings you a specialist range of exfoliators, moisturisers and nourishing creams, which are specially formulated to care for the unique characteristics of the skin on the feet.
Putting your feet up as often as possible (particularly in the last trimester) will relieve feelings of leg tiredness and help reduce any swelling of your ankles.
Gentle exercise - such as swimming and walking - is also an ideal way to assist blood circulation and muscle tone, whilst a low-salt diet may also help relieve aches, pains and excess swelling.
There is also a slighly increased chance of developing a DVT, before or after your baby is born. Wearing compression hosiery can help reduce this risk. If you’re going on an aeroplane, it’s worth being aware that flights lasting four or more hours carry an increased risk of DVTs developing. Always consult your midwife or GP before flying if you are pregnant or have recently had a baby. For more information on the condition can be found in the section, circulatory problems.