Even if you can’t see your feet way down there, you’ve probably noticed your shoes fitting a little more snugly than usual. It’s not uncommon for women, particularly first-time mamas, to go up an entire shoe size during pregnancy. One recent study found that the average expectant woman’s arch height decreases, causing her foot length to increase.
Christopher Bassil, MD, OB/GYN in Atlanta, says to expect swelling to start in the second trimester—though it’s not the only factor affecting foot size. Some blame the extra pounds weighing moms-to-be down. Others point to relaxin; the hormone loosens joints and ligaments to help your pelvis prep for delivery but can also alter the structure of your feet in the process.
To minimize changes, Bassil suggests raising your feet at the end of the day and sporting compression wear and a maternity support belt. If you do need to up your shoe size, pick a pair you’ll love long term. Even though swelling goes down by about three weeks postpartum, some change in size is often permanent.