Pregnancy Leaves Lasting Impression on Mom's Foot Size

New study finds some women's feet stay larger after giving birth.


An unexpected physical side effect of pregnancy is throwing a lot of moms for a loop: bigger feet. And now, according to a recent study, it looks like it can be permanent, the Today show reports.

Forty-nine women were measured for arch height and foot length during pregnancy and then again five months after giving birth. According to the researchers, "about 60 percent to 70 percent of the women had longer feet and shorter arches after childbirth. Eleven of the women reported changes in their shoe size," the Today show reports.

Specifically, the study found that, on average, their foot length grew about .1 to .4 inches in that specific period of time, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

The researchers attribute this growth spurt mainly to pregnancy weight, "which puts greater stress on a mom-to-be's feet, and thus, flatten the arch," the Today show reports. In addition, pregnant women's feet are possibly more flexible because of an increase in the hormones that loosen joints and ligaments.

Puffy feet and swollen hands are especially common for pregnant women in hot weather, says our Ask the Labor Nurse blogger. During pregnancy, there is 50 percent more blood and fluids circulating in a mom-to-be's body — so edema is a normal part of a healthy pregnancy in most cases, Ask the Labor Nurse says.

When is this puffiness not normal? When it comes on suddenly or you have other symptoms, like high blood pressure, a decrease in your urine production, headaches, vision changes and more. Alert your doctor or midwife immediately if this happens.

As for the bigger feet post-baby? Now you have a reason to go shoe shopping!