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

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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/