Time for New Shoes: How Pregnancy Permanently Changes the Size of Your Feet

Time for New Shoes: How Pregnancy Permanently Changes the Size of Your Feet

If you feel like your dress shoes no longer fit you, there’s a scientific reason for it.

You’re pregnant, your arms, hands and legs are swelling and you feel like a walking water balloon. You don’t need a scientific study to tell you your feet, among other things, are gaining in size.

But while your limbs will likely go back down to ‘normal’, your feet could remain indefinitely bigger.

A study done by researchers at the University of Iowa found that during and after pregnancy the arch in a woman’s foot decreases significantly. So does the rigidity, lasting up to 5 months after pregnancy and longer.

The UI study followed 49 pregnant women and collected arch measurements during the first trimester of pregnancy. Feet were measures about five months after childbirth.

Related: Strange but True: How Using Wet Wipes on Your Baby Could Cause Food Allergies

The researchers found about 60 to 70 percent of the women had feet that became longer as well as wider.

“We know that women, and especially women who have had children, are disproportionately affected by musculoskeletal disorders,” says Neil Segal, M.D., UI associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation, and the study’s lead author.

“It is possible that these foot changes…occur during pregnancy (and they) may help explain why, in comparison with men, women are at higher risk for pain or arthritis in their feet, knees, hips and spines,” he added.

Scientists are currently conducting additional studies, to see if these feet changes actually do lead to more arthritis, later in life. For the moment, the work provides a great excuse for many women to indulge in new flip-flops. And clogs, running shoes and more. Shop on.

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