Women expect their bodies to change shape and grow when they are pregnant, but many expectant mothers are surprised to discover their feet change, too. They are often more amazed to learn that such changes to their feet can be permanent.
“It is not uncommon for women to no longer fit into their shoes long after they have shed their pregnancy weight,” says Anne Putnam, a Canadian certified pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada.
“We recommend that all women have their feet measured by a professional after pregnancy, as their feet may have lengthened or widened and it may be necessary for them to replace their footwear.”
Fluid retention during pregnancy often leads to swollen feet; however, this swelling disappears after birth. Experts say permanent changes to the size and shape of women’s feet comes from relaxin, a hormone produced during pregnancy.
Relaxin helps prepare a woman to deliver by causing the ligaments throughout her pelvis to loosen and stretch. But relaxin also stretches the ligaments in the feet, which can cause the arch of the foot to fall and spread. The effect on the feet is very gradual, so women often don’t immediately notice the change.
Putnam advises that if your shoes don’t feel comfortable after you have delivered, don’t continue to wear them or put them aside, expecting to fit into them one day. Forcing your feet into shoes that are too narrow or too wide can cause corns, ingrown nails and bunions.
Make sure to have your feet professionally measured. You may discover you need to wear a completely different size or style of shoe. More information on shoe fitting can be found at www.pedorthic.ca.
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