It’s true! Pregnancy permanently changes the size and shape of your feet, especially if it’s your first.
The pregnancy hormone “relaxin” which loosens the joints around your pelvis so your baby can make its way down the birth canal also loosens the ligaments in your feet. Did you know that there are over 100 ligaments in each foot. That coupled with the weight gain and the swelling from the extra fluid your body retains (edema) causes the ligaments to stretch and the foot bones to spread, at least a little, and sometimes a lot.
While the foot swelling generally subsides within a month after delivery, any foot spreading caused by the loosened ligaments may be permanent.
This is why flat feet is a common problem for pregnant women. On average arch height and measures of arch rigidity can decrease significantly from early pregnancy to 5 months after childbirth. That in turn causes increases in foot length and arch drop. This is why most women notice their shoe size has gotten bigger even after they go back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
First pregnancies account for the most drastic changes, while subsequent pregnancies may not alter foot structure further. So it’s a good idea to be proactive!
This is why we recommend that a podiatric evaluation and prescription orthotics be considered as part of your prenatal care. A prescription orthotic device is customized to the specific shape of your foot, made from a mold of your feet in a specific corrected position. They provide much more tailored support to the specific shape of your foot, when compared to the over-the-counter shoe inserts.
Orthotics can provide comfort and support, and help avoid some of the symptoms and negative effects your pregnancy can have on your body, and on your feet.
- Prescription orthotics help evenly distribute the weight from your heel to toe, supporting your bony structure in the arch region that fatigues over time. You will be able to stay on your feet and walk around much more comfortably. You know how important walking and exercise are during pregnancy!
- Prescription orthotics give you balance that you lose because of the changes in your body weight and center of gravity; Not only is the weight distribution thrown off because of the weight gain, your joints are looser because of the relaxin – so the balance support is great!
- Prescription orthotics improve body alignment. Pregnant women progressively deviate from a normal gait because you usually don’t walk normally as you go through your pregnancy (the wobbly pregnancy walk gets more dramatic as your belly grows and throws off your center of gravity) — orthotics can help keep everything in line.
- Prescription orthotics provide better shock absorption for your feet, making your feet feel less tired and more comfortable in your shoes. Because the prescription orthotics are made specifically to the shape of your individual feet, they will give support to where your foot needs it most.
- And prescription orthotics will provide continued support for your feet after you deliver! You will be able to walk more comfortably and longer when you are trying to shed those pregnancy pounds!
You can ask your OBGYN for a referral to a recommended local podiatrist, or make an appointment with us today!