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The Mystery of the Great Foot Expansion during Pregnancy

By HERWriter
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the Great Foot Expansion mystery in pregnancy Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

The closets in my home are loaded with a plethora of footwear, and as my husband teasingly says, "You are the little old lady who is surrounded by shoes." My friends always joke that my shoe addiction will curb if we decide to have children because of "the great foot expansion" during pregnancy.

Nearly all of my formerly pregnant girlfriends, or their husbands, have told stories about their great foot expansion. During the pregnancy with her second child, one of my girlfriends put her Louboutins and Jimmy Choos in storage for a year.

The tales of the Great Foot Expansions have piqued my curiosity and here is some research I uncovered.

According to Dr. Bret Ribotsky, past president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine, "The same hormones that are released to relax the pelvic area also loosen the ligaments in the foot. In addition, the increased body weight of pregnancy lowers the arches, further adding to the foot's length and width."

Other factors that play a role in swollen pregnancy feet include:

• The body makes and retains extra fluids, and gravity delivers them to your feet.

• Weight gain may shift some extra fat to your feet.

• The hormone relaxin allows the bones and ligaments to spread out and cause foot expansion.

For many women, the swelling goes away a few months after giving birth. According to Parenting.com, on average a pregnant woman's foot may increase half a size. But, for some women their shoe size may permanently increase by more than one size.

The good news here is that you get some great exercise by doing some new shoe shopping. But, remember you may want to purchase low comfortable shoes for your new lifestyle as you may be on your feet soon chasing a toddler.

During your pregnancy here are some things you can do to reduce the swelling of your feet:

• If you are feeling self-conscious about your feet, treat yourself to a pedicure.

• Take period breaks to stay off your feet.

• Elevate your feet to reduce achiness and swelling.

• Purchase new shoes at the end of the day to ensure a good fit. Purchase shoes that
have low heels.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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