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Do Your Feet Really Grow During Pregnancy?

4 min read

You are prepared for most kinds of physical changes during your pregnancy

  • Weight gain? Sure, you knew that was coming
  • Protruding belly? That is definitely the most common side effect of pregnancy
  • Bigger breasts? You knew that was part of the package too
  • But bigger feet? You did not see that coming, did you?

Feet in pregnancy
Here is everything you need to know about your feet and its seemingly increasing size

Do Feet Really Grow During Pregnancy?

Yes, they do. So if your shoes are feeling a bit tighter, then do not think you are going crazy (at least not yet. That happens after the baby is born). Your feet might indeed have grown or you might be experiencing pregnancy feet.

How Much Do Feet Grow During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, usually your feet may grow about half an inch that is nothing but half a shoe size. However, the growth and change in shape of your feet during pregnancy will be permanent. You may experience the maximum change in your feet size and shape during your first pregnancy than the subsequent pregnancies.

Why Do Feet Grow During Pregnancy?

There are mainly three reasons for the growing feet:

  1. Swelling: When you are pregnant, your body retains a lot of extra fluid. This is called edema. These extra fluids appear as swelling, especially in your legs and feet. A swollen foot is, well, definitely bigger than the normal sized foot, thus making the feet bigger for your shoe size
  2. Weight gain: Weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy. Most women gain 10 kgs to 14 kgs of weight during pregnancy, although the actual weight gain depends on the woman’s body type, food habits and starting BMI. To understand more about weight gain during pregnancy, read The Inevitable Weight Gain During Pregnancy. So how is weight gain and feet growth related? As you grow heavier, you are putting more stress on your feet, resulting in widening of feet joints, making the feet appear bigger
  3. Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called Relaxin. The duty of Relaxin is, as the name suggests, to relax your joints. This is your body’s way of preparing for the child’s birth by loosening your pelvic joint so that the baby can pass through the birth canal with ease. A non-intended consequence of Relaxin is that it will also loosen the feet ligaments, and this will result in feet bones “spreading”, making your feet bigger.
    • To understand how this works, you need to understand your feet better. Your feet have around 26 bones and over 30 joints, all of which are connected by a number of ligaments. During pregnancy, the Relaxin hormone relaxes these ligaments, so the joints get a bit looser.This in turn leads to the feet bones to spread out a bit. So technically, your feet are not really growing, they are just “spreading out” assssssssssssssssssA
Is The Change In Feet Size Permanent?

Whether your feet will remain the bigger size or if it will revert to the pre-pregnancy size, depends on the reason your feet grew in the first place. If the reason was swelling or weight gain, then your feet will grow back to its previous size a month or two after the delivery, when the pregnancy-related swelling comes down and the weight reduces a bit. However, if the change in feet size is caused by ligament relaxing, then the growth in the feet size is likely to be permanent.
Feet during pregnancy

What Else Can Happen To The Feet During Pregnancy?

Apart from growing longer and wider, many women experience “flat feet” during pregnancy. This happens because the increased weight in the body flattens the arch of the feet. Relaxin also contributes to this situation.

Does Foot Growth During Pregnancy Cause Any Health Issues?

The growth in your feet may not cause any serious health issues. However, it is quite likely that the pain in your feet may continue even after your delivery. In addition, the swelling in your feet may also cause some discomfort in your hips, knees or spine. The growth on your feet could also lead to arthritis. Hence, it is important to consult your doctor if you experience any pain in your feet while you are still pregnant.

What Can You Do When Your Feet Grow During Pregnancy?

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do.Some of them are:

  • For starters, you can go shoe shopping! Buy some flat, comfortable shoes. Make sure you do not spend too much on bigger sized shoes because there is a good chance your feet will come down to its original size after delivery
  • To minimize swelling:
    • Try to wear compression socks
    • Try to prop up your legs as often as possible
    • Dip your feet in slightly warm salted water for 10 minutes in the night
    • Try supportive insoles
    • Do foot- muscle exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your feet
  • While some weight gain is inevitable, you can still keep the weight gain on track. To do this:
    • Have smaller more frequent meals than larger 3 meals
    • Include healthy vegetables and fruits in your meal
    • Limit the consumption of sugar and fatty foods
    • Try to include low impact exercises in your day

Embrace the changes that your body (including your feet) undergoes during pregnancy. Just think of the bliss of motherhood that awaits you!

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