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larger feet in pregnancyYour belly isn’t the only part of your body that gets bigger in pregnancy. A strange pregnancy symptom that you may notice in the second and third trimester is larger feet. Women with more petite feet may rejoice at this change; others aren’t so happy with a larger foot size. Some pregnant women are dismayed when they have to buy new shoes, but this change is temporary and it will go away after your baby is born.

Your feet may seem like they’re growing in pregnancy, and you may even need a larger shoe size. In reality, your feet are not growing any larger, but your arches collapse and your feet get wider and longer due to edema (or normal swelling that occurs in pregnancy).

During pregnancy, you may need to buy a larger shoe size – possibly half a size up, or even two sizes larger than normal.

What Causes Feet to Grow Larger in Pregnancy?

Like with other pregnancy symptoms, you can blame your hormonal changes for larger feet in pregnancy. The hormone relaxin, which is responsible for loosening the joints around the pelvis so that your baby can easily fit through the birth canal and into the real world, also loosens the ligaments in your feet. As a result, your foot bones spread out, and your feet appear larger and longer. So, the bones in your feet don’t actually lengthen, but the ligaments that hold the 26 bones in your feet together are looser – not as tight as they used to be, prior to your pregnancy.

Another reason that you have larger feet in pregnancy is due to edema, or swelling that normally occurs in pregnancy. Your ankles and feet can swell in the second and third trimesters, and this contributes to the emergence of larger feet in pregnancy.

Swollen Feet in Pregnancy – When Does It Start?

Some women start to notice that their shoes are getting a little tight and uncomfortable early in the second trimester. It’s not uncommon for your feet to grow and increase in size until your baby is born. Fortunately, your swollen feet will go away within a month or two after delivery. On the downside, those looser ligaments in your feet are often permanent. Roughly half of mothers wear a larger shoe size after they have their babies. Their feet never return to their original side.

How to Cope with Larger, Swollen Feet

Having bigger feet in pregnancy is normal, and it shouldn’t really worry you.
But look on the bright side – having larger feet is not an uncomfortable pregnancy symptom. It gives you the ability to go shoe shopping and buy an entire new shoe wardrobe!

During pregnancy, make sure that you wear comfortable shoes with plenty of room to grow. It’s a good idea that you give up your old shoes for now. Wearing your normal shoes, which are now feeling too tight and snug, can lead to painful foot problems, such as calluses, corns, or ingrown toenails. No fun at all!

Whenever you can, rest and elevate your feet. This may help with your swollen feet and ankles. Make sure that you limit your salt intake, since this can make swelling worse. Ask your husband or partner to give you a foot massage; this will make you feel more relaxed and better about yourself.

Good luck!

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Katrina Foe June 21, 2011, 5:11 pm

    When the arches collapse during pregnancy they can be restored using Pilates equipment and exercises. Once the musculature is strong enough they will lift up as they used to and the foot will be the original length. It is just a matter of working the feet. If the arches are not strengthened the feet will tend to cramp (sign of weakness) and eventually develop problems like plantar fascitis.

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