Why Do Your Feet Get Bigger When You're Pregnant?
Ah, pregnancy. It’s a wonderful, beautiful and exciting time for many women. It can also be a cause of many surprises for women as they discover that they’ve gained almost an entire shoe size, and their feet seem much wider than they remembered!
So, why and how does this happen - and what can you do to help your feet? Today, our team here at The Podiatrist are talking about why your feet get bigger during pregnancy!
It starts with hormones
During pregnancy, your body amps up the production of a hormone called Relaxin. Appropriately named, it affects your ligaments and tissues, helping to soften and loosen them. This is crucial during pregnancy, as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby - and the hormones try to make this as easy and comfortable for you as possible. Otherwise - your ligaments and tissues stretching could be very painful and uncomfortable!
The effects of Relaxin aren’t isolated to your abdominal area - it affects the rest of your body, including your feet, too. With looser ligaments in the feet and the increased weight of a growing baby, your feet can start to flatten. It is this flattening that causes the increased shoe size - and a wider foot. Your feet may also swell - another *awesome* side effect of pregnancy - adding to their size.
What can I do to help my feet?
Start with keeping your feet well supported throughout your pregnancy. This can be done with orthotics and good shoes outside, and orthotic sandals or slippers inside the home. By keeping your arch supported, you can help improve your comfort on your feet and help reduce the tiredness, aches and pains in your feet.
Wearing good shoes outside that surround your ankle can also help you reduce the risk of ankle sprains as you walk over uneven ground. This is because the ligaments responsible for keeping your ankles stable may also be affected by the Relaxin. Stay mindful of your increased shoe size and don’t wear shoes that are going to rub against the sides of your feet.
Will my feet ever return back to normal size?
Often, yes, once the pregnancy hormones leave your body, your feet return to their normal size. Admittedly, this is difficult to predict - and it’s not uncommon that feet stay between a half size to a full size bigger after pregnancy.
Need help staying comfortable on your feet during pregnancy?
Whether you feel tired and uncomfortable on your feet and legs, or you’ve sustained an injury, we can help. Our podiatry team has been proudly helping families in Toowoomba & Darling Downs with their foot health for over 20 years - and would love to help you too.