pregnant woman sitting on the side of a bedpregnant woman sitting on the side of a bed

Foot Massage During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

By Babe

When we’re pregnant, everything seems to change — from our bellies to our hair to our wardrobe. Our feet are not excluded from that far-from-comprehensive-list.

Let’s talk about swelling, specifically in our feet. Swelling in the lower extremities is super common while pregnant, and having a job or lifestyle that has you on your feet all day only makes it more pronounced.

When your feet start aching and you notice your shoes start fitting a little differently, it’s time to let your partner know you require a good ol’ fashioned foot massage. Whether you’ve already had a foot massage this pregnancy or are investigating to see if it’s technically safe, we are here to help.
So put your feet up and relax:  Here is some information about foot massages and some tidbits on what you can do to put your best foot forward.

What Causes Your Feet To Hurt & Swell?

During pregnancy, your body can tend to hold onto more water which can cause swelling, especially in the lower parts of your body, if you’ve been standing for long periods of time or happen to be outside in hot temperatures.

Oftentimes you’ll notice extra swelling when you take walks outside in the summer heat. If you’ve been walking for a while, you might wonder if your fingers are swelling or your rings are shrinking. (We can’t totally confirm, but it’s probably the former.)

Other times, you’ll notice your ankles looking larger and feeling more swollen after you’ve been on your feet cleaning your house or going on a grocery store run. Whatever you do throughout the day, keep an eye on your ankles and see what activities make them more swollen.

Try These Tricks To Reduce Swelling

Finding ways to combat some not-so-glamorous symptoms that accompany pregnancy can make your days and nights seem more enjoyable and less exhausting. Plus, it leaves more room for the fun stuff, like beach days and brunch mornings.

Here are some tricks you can try at home to reduce the swelling and keep your feet and ankles feeling foot-loose and fancy-free:

Take Breaks & Sit Down

Doing what you can to not be on your feet all day will help tremendously when it comes to reducing the swelling in your feet. As mentioned above, a major contributing factor to swelling comes from standing on your feet for long periods of time.

If you can, be more proactive about taking breaks to sit or do tasks that you would usually do standing but try to do them while sitting. This will give your feet the rest they need.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Let’s face it. We all have that one sky-high pair of heels that we feel so sexy in (until we need to walk upstairs or over metal grating).

However, if you normally wear uncomfortable shoes that are too tight around your feet or ankles, it can make the swelling worse. Try swapping out those six-inch-stilettos for some comfortable shoes that give your feet plenty of room. 

You can still totally be cute, though! Try the boho-chic Chilote Mama Slipper. These slippers are handmade with love (and also Patagonian wool and up-cycled salmon leather). 
The more comfortable the feet, the happier the mama. Not only that, but when your mini-me arrives, take some precious comparison pics between your adult slippers and their Chilote Child-Sized Slipper.

Elevate Your Feet

If you happen to be on your feet all day and notice some swelling, one way to reduce it is by elevating your feet. Simply fluff a pillow or two under your feet to raise them above your waist.

This elevation will allow your blood to circulate better and distribute the extra water pooled in your feet throughout your body. Lean back, turn on Netflix, and relax, knowing that Cinderella probably had to do the same thing — there’s no way that glass heels are comfy, no matter how magical they are.

Drink Extra Water

We know what you’re thinking, “I already have to drink so much water being pregnant,” as you go to the bathroom for the third time in an hour. Staying properly hydrated when you’re pregnant is a full-time job in itself.

If you aren’t getting enough water, your body will try to hold onto extra fluids. You can try to prevent this from happening by raising an extra glass (or four) so that your body doesn’t feel the need to hold onto its supply.

Slip on Compression Socks

Let’s talk about compression socks. (*”Under Pressure” by David Bowie starts playing.)

Compression socks will become your best friend during pregnancy. They not only feel amazing on your feet and ankles but are great in helping reduce swelling in your lower extremities.
Hatch’s Compression Sock Bundle comes with two compression socks designed to hug your feet and give them the support they need to keep the blood circulating and reduce swelling. They are extra long and go up to about halfway up your calves, making them extra supportive and very 1970s chic.

Foot Massages

Besides compression socks, the best thing you could do for your tired, sore feet is a quality foot massage. Easing the tension in your feet and circulating the blood may help reduce swelling and feel incredible.

Are Foot Massages Safe During Pregnancy?

Not only are foot massages safe during pregnancy, but they are recommended. That’s right, massages are great for your sore feet and known for helping reduce swelling.

They also reduce built-up tension, release stress and reduce anxiety and depression. One study showed that pregnant women who received 20 minutes or more of massages a week saw reduced pain, anxiety, and depression.

There are four pressure points you want to be mindful of and try to avoid since they could potentially encourage contractions:

  1. The SP6 pressure point is on the inside of the lower leg, just above the ankle.
  2. The other pressure point, BL60, is located on the backside of your foot where your Achilles tendon is, right behind the ankle.
  3. The BL32 is on the lower back.
  4. The L14 is nestled between the thumb and index finger.

It’s best to avoid these areas or apply too much pressure when you’re pregnant but not in labor.

Other Benefits To Foot Massages

As mentioned, foot massages during pregnancy have terrific health benefits such as swelling and pain relief, stress relief, and a decrease in anxiety and depression.

Even more benefits will make you want to prioritize this me-time (if you haven’t already):

Foot massages are also known for helping you transition more quickly during labor. When that time comes, and you need to speed up the process, your provider or partner can help get things moving by giving you a foot massage and focusing on certain pressure points.

What If You Have Ticklish Feet?

Maybe other people touching your feet isn’t your forte, or you have very sensitive feet and break out into laughter when they are touched. If this is the case, then foot massages might not be relaxing for you, which would basically defeat the purpose.

That doesn’t mean a regular massage is off the table; try a prenatal massage that focuses on upper back pain or a leg massage.

There are other ways to relax that don’t involve any massages. Engaging in your pre-pregnancy hobbies is a great way to relax. So if you want to grab a cup of coffee, go on a hike, watch reality TV, or do a fourth equally relaxing thing — you do you! 

Find Time for Self Care

If you already have a self-care routine that you do each day or week, try adding a foot massage! Your body will thank you after.

Self-care routines are essential, especially when pregnant. Your body is working so hard that it deserves a little (actually, a lot) of rest and relaxation. 

What are some things that you find relaxing? If you enjoy reading and getting cozy on the couch, do that. Pedicure? Sounds like a plan to us. Using your Belly Oil as a gentle massage oil on your growing bump? Count us in.

Your self-care routine can be as unique as you are. Doing a 5k or taking a bubble bath (or both) — whatever floats your boat. 

At-Home Spa: Wellness We Love

A nightly routine can help us fall asleep faster and sleep better. Think about your nightly routine and see if there is anything you can add to it. 

Perhaps set aside time each night to shower or take a relaxing bath, moisturize, apply a belly mask, get into comfortable pajamas, throw your hair up, and lay down with your feet elevated while you sip your favorite tea from your lucky mug.

Or maybe following the theme of this article, ask your partner to give you a five to ten-minute foot massage each night or week to help you relax and release all the tension built up from the day.

You are a rockstar, mama, and should be treated like one!