Will Pregnancy Change Your Feet… Permanently?

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

You’ve probably heard a horror story or two about a friend of a friend whose feet got bigger during pregnancy — and never went back to “normal.” She had to toss a closet full of precious Louboutins and Choos. Could this happen to you?

Yeah, it could. (Sorry!) A new study conducted at the University of Iowa followed 49 women throughout their pregnancies. Researchers measured the women’s feet in the first trimester and then again about five months after their babies’ births. They found that, for about 60 to 70 percent of the women in the study, their feet became longer and wider. Women’s arch height and arch rigidity tended to decrease significantly, too. Women’s feet were likely to change if this was their first pregnancy, but not if it wasn’t. (Whew. At least it doesn’t keep happening!)

“We found that pregnancy does indeed lead to permanent changes in the feet,” says Neil Segal, UI associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation, who conducted the study.

“We know that women, and especially women who have had children, are disproportionately affected by musculoskeletal disorders,” says Segal. “It is possible that these foot changes that occur during pregnancy may help explain why, in comparison with men, women are at higher risk for pain or arthritis in their feet, knees, hips, and spines.” Segal said his next steps are to study whether or not there’s connection between foot changes in pregnancy and later-life health problems, such as arthritis. He’s also studying how to protect muscoskelatal health during pregnancy.

A little freaked out by this study and hoping to prevent foot growth during pregnancy? It’s possible! Check out our tips.

Did you notice any changes in your feet during pregnancy? Were they permanent?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Swollen Feet and Ankles During Pregnancy

What Your Body Will (Really!) Look Like After Having a Baby

How to Love Your Postbaby Body