You’re Not Crazy, Your Feet Did Grow After Pregnancy

shutterstock_74743552We’ve all heard women talk about swelling feet during pregnancy. Mine didn’t really swell to bad with my first pregnancy, but they did seem to grow. When I mentioned it to my doctor she said, yeah, they’ll probably stay that size. I found it a little hard to believe that the larger size of my pregnancy feet would be permanent. But it was. And now, a new study puts some research behind what I always thought was a wives tale.

The University of Iowa conducted a study on 49 pregnant women. Foot measurements were taken during the first trimester and again at 19 weeks post-partum. The results: “Arch height and rigidity indices significantly decreased, with concomitant increases in foot length and arch drop. The first pregnancy accounted for the reduction in arch rigidity and the increases in foot length and arch drop.”

So, all that extra weight you are carrying around may result in a permanent “loss of arch height.” The study also explains that “parous” women, or women that have given birth to one or more children “seem to be at a particularly elevated risk for structural and functional changes in the lower limbs.” Great. Really glad I got a whole new shoe game after my first pregnancy.

When I moved to New York 10 years ago, I wore a size six-and-a-half shoe. After my first pregnancy two-and-half years ago, I was wearing a seven-and-a-half. I held onto those shoes that didn’t fit me until last month. The only reason I got rid of them is because I was moving and it was time to get realistic about what to take with me. Not believing that the structure of my foot actually changed, I was convinced that if I lost some weight my feet would shrink back to their formal, adorable state and I would get back into all of those shoes I loved. Yes, I am delusional.

Now that I am seven months pregnant with my second child, I am already noticing an increase in foot size. I’m currently an eight. This time, I won’t be so delusional. I won’t be holding on to any more shoes that don’t fit. Well, they did only study 49 women. Maybe I’ll hold onto them for a few months.

Told you I was delusional.

(photo: Alex James Bramwell/

Be Sociable, Share!
You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
Be Sociable, Share!
  • LiteBrite

    Prior to pregnancy, I wore a pretty solid size 7 shoe. During pregnancy, my feet were so swollen I wore 9-9 1/2 shoes. Now, five years later, I’m wearing a 7 1/2 shoe (8 if they run small).

    But you know, I don’t care. No one is paying attention to my foot size anyways except me. Plus, having a slightly bigger foot gave me an justifiable reason to go shoe shopping :)

  • DeliciousIrony

    Yup. After two kids I went from an 8 1/2 starting point to a 10. I’m pregnant now and I hate the idea of anything bigger because I am not nearly tall enough to get away with feet this big.

  • Alchemy

    My feet were so swollen during pregnancy that I couldn’t wear any type of shoes other than flip flops and even those left huge indentations in my feet. However, after I had the baby and the swelling went away I am still a size 7.5 just as I was pre-pregnancy.

    • chickadee

      I went up to a size 8 from a 6.5 and went down again as well.

  • Ashley

    Ugh, my size 11 feet and I did not need to read this. It’s hard enough to find shoes my size, anything larger and it’ll be online shopping only for this large-footed lady.

  • Ellie

    I KNOW! My boys ruined my feet. None of my cute shoes fit after those pregnancies. Lucky the guys are so cute. :)

  • Meghan Keane

    My mother’s feet went up half a size with every pregnancy. I’m really not looking forward to this. I can deal with changing clothing sizes, but I love my shoes and am not emotionally equipped to get rid of all of them.