In general, I am a big fan of a foot rub, but when pregnant it is my catnip. If you want to get on side, offer me a foot massage. Well, maybe only if you’re a licensed professional, otherwise it might be a bit weird. If you’re not a licensed professional, vouchers for establishments employing licensed professionals would be gratefully received. Just saying. Christmas is coming and all that. Alright, so it’s July but you’ve got to love spontaneous gift giving. When I am pregnant my feet just ache like a bitch. Another one of those weird and wonderful (OK, just weird) pregnancy symptoms that nobody seems to tell you about. Such aches and pains are partly due to the extra weight from carrying a growing baby, placenta and additional fluid, plus the inevitable increase in cake intake, all putting pressure on your feet. By the end of the day my feet are often in agony, and when getting up in the night I will stagger around as if negotiating a living room carpeted with Lego. Not much fun during the seemingly endless night time toilet trips. When pregnant with my first child, this lasted for about six months after my son was born. My recovery time was probably lengthened by the extra pounds I gained during the first few months after birth (contrary to what everyone said: “Oh, the weight just melts away when breastfeeding”, but for me it melted away from my enormous pregnant belly and on to my enormous post pregnant hips, bum and thighs, as I was so very hungry). My bad. Sore feet during and after pregnancy can also be a result of hormonal changes, which makes me feel slightly less guilty about eating so many biscuits. Pregnancy hormones can cause changes in the blood vessels leading to swelling (known as oedema) and strains on the ligaments. Fact. Hormones are a bitch and so pregnant feet need lots of looking after. When my feet ache I often get my husband to rub them, which doesn’t seem like too big an ask considering I’m growing his child (information that is usually delivered along with the request). If my husband is not around, in a mood (often about having to fondle my smellies), or busy with... something I can’t think of right now, I’ll role a tennis ball or golf ball about using the soles of my feet. A great way to stretch out the ligaments and ease aches and pains. Towards the end of my first pregnancy I suffered badly from swollen feet and ankles and experienced swelling for a few weeks after giving birth, which is also quite common apparently. Once things had calmed down, I was left with perfectly non-swollen yet weirdly ginormous feet, a good two shoe sizes larger than I was pre pregnancy. Yet another thing I had no idea about before getting knocked up. Family planning services are missing a trick. My feet have never exactly been small and so this radical and unexpected increase in volume caused me all manner of issues. Cue frenzied shoe shopping to house my oddly proportioned trotters, which I firstly and perhaps foolishly attempted at an actual shop. I did this in the five minutes I had spare between nappy changes, endless new born feeding and bouts of grumpiness (mostly my baby’s but also my own — you try being Little Miss Sunshine when you’re wearing shoes two sizes too small). I was mostly met with bad news when asking to try shoes on: “I’m afraid we don’t have these in your size”, said the shop assistant whilst suppressing a giggle and balancing elegantly on size four high heels, the cow. After this unsuccessful and rather depressing first attempt I ended up buying shoes online as it appeared that most regular retailers were unable to cater for my freakish and outsized ugg muggs. Great. I would have happily considered specialist shops for transvestites (of which there surely must be several in the Brighton area), had my shoe of choice been more exotic or more glamorous. I suspect that most transvestites don’t tend to wear flat, comfortable boots, as that kind of defeats the point? I don’t know — answers on a postcard. And although appropriate, shopping at a store dedicated to dowdy transvestites probably isn’t ideal for rebuilding self-esteem post birth. Nor is buying men’s shoes, which oddly felt like a more radical option. I tried to convince myself that large feet were actually a bonus and that wearing shoes the size of surf boards was rather practical, the large surface area helping to prevent falls and reduce the likelihood of dropping the baby, in some kind of bizarre evolutionary advance. Every cloud. I’m not sure when it happened, but my feet did return to normal, slowly and gradually enough for me not to notice. And so far during this second pregnancy, my feet have been marginally less sore and much less swollen, despite equitable if not increased consumption of baked goods. This doesn’t mean that my husband is let off foot massage duty but it does mean that I haven’t yet had to purchase a pair of Paolo Nutinis in size 11. Thank God.