Women can experience a change in the size of their feet during pregnancy and this change can be permanent for some, a new study has found.


Doctors believe the arch of the foot flattens out, possibly due to the extra weight and increased looseness of the joints associated with pregnancy, and the new study suggests this loss of arch height can be permanent, reports Science Daily.

Researchers from the University of Iowa looked at 49 pregnant women and collected arch measurements, both at rest and walking, during the first trimester of pregnancy and again five months after childbirth.

The study found that 60 to 70 per cent of the women in the study saw arch height and measures of arch rigidity decrease significantly from early pregnancy to five months after childbirth, causing corresponding increase in foot length – between 2mm and 10mm – and arch drop.

"I had heard women reporting changes in their shoe size with pregnancy, but found nothing about that in medical journals or textbooks,"said Professor Neil Segal, from the University of Iowa. “We found that pregnancy does indeed lead to permanent changes in the feet."

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

The findings also suggested that first pregnancies may account for most of the observed changes, while subsequent pregnancies may not further alter the foot structure.

A celebrity mum Denise Van Outen found that this was the case for her and revealed that, during her pregnancy with her daughter Betsy, her feet grew form a size 5 to 6, and remained that way.

“My feet have grown a size – I had to give away all my shoes,” she said.

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