During pregnancy, did you know that your feet can actually grow bigger? No…you are not going mad!! Those shoes really are getting tighter as not just your bump will begin to grow!
We will all see our extending tummies and smile at the thought of our little ones growing inside….But hang on, why would our feet jump on the a bandwagon too? Now that’s just plain bizarre! BUT…it happens to approximately 60% – 70% of pregnant women!
Why would our feet actually get bigger?
A particular hormone is responsible for growing bigger feet and it’s called RELAXIN! The effect on the body is just like the name suggests..to relax. Primarily its purpose is to relax the pelvic joints and ligaments in order to accommodate your growing baby and secondly to facilitate childbirth! Just a bit of internal stretching is needed for birth! However, Relaxin will also help ‘relax’ joints around the ENTIRE body…including those found in your feet!
Amazingly your foot is made up from 26 bones, 30 joints and a supportive network of ligaments! Quite a complex little thing! So, when these joints relax the bones in your feet can spread out. Plus add in the stress and strain of normal weight gain during pregnancy and the result is commonly a new wider and longer foot!
Will they return to normal after giving birth?
Bigger feet will not happen to everyone but if you are one of the 60-70% of women that do report a change, then unfortunately research has shown it’s a permanent one! Sorry! Some see an increase of up to whole shoe size! The arch of the foot seems to decrease while the foot increases in length. New shoes that are comfortable and supportive (especially around the arch) are essential to prevent further foot problems.
Is there ANY way to prevent it happening?
A few things can help!
- Throughout your pregnancy wear supportive shoes! So ditch those flat pumps and pick up your sensible shoes your mum would approve of!! As mentioned, your arches need all the support they can. Adding insoles will help a great deal too. Just ask your pharmacist, GP or physiotherapist for advice on which ones.
- Swelling can make things worse! However, nearly every pregnant woman will suffer from swollen ankles and feet at some stage! Try to elevate your legs as much as you can, wear compression socks/tights and even bribe a partner for a foot massage! Any excuse hey girls?
- Foot muscle exercises can help to strengthen the muscles that support the foot. Examples of these include standing on one leg (careful), picking up marbles with your feet (you will be a pro at this by 9 months anyways as bending becomes out of the question!) and raising up onto your toes and back onto your heels (either sitting or standing).
It might be just swelling?
So sometimes we can just get swollen feet that cause out shoes to feel too small. But the difference between normal swelling and relaxin induced bigger feet is swelling will go up and down! With swollen feet…any changes will be temporary!
The UPSIDE to bigger feet!
So if you are struggling to get those feet into your favourite pair of shoes then you might just have to buy a whole new shoe collection after your give birth! Slightly annoying….BUT who doesn’t love new shoes!
Happy shoe shopping new Mums!