Why do my feet get bigger during pregnancy?

Dr. Stephen E. Clark, DO
Family Practitioner

Swelling in the feet and legs is very common during pregnancy, and it occurs for a number of reasons. The first reason that women have increased swelling is that during pregnancy, the volume of serum in your body increases by 30 percent. That's essentially just extra water in your blood. That results in a change in the pressure gradients, resulting in more fluid in the tissue. As a woman progresses in her pregnancy and the uterus grows, it starts to compress the vessels as they leave the pelvis, and that creates even more pressure in the lower legs, resulting in more swelling.

The other thing that happens during pregnancy is sometimes women feel like doing less, and so they sit around more, and that results in more swelling. The best way to treat swelling during pregnancy is to be active and to try to elevate the legs as much as possible during the day. The other method that can be used if the swelling is significant is the use of compression stockings, or T.E.D. hose, that are placed each morning to help decrease the swelling.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

It's sad to say, but you may have to retire your shoe collection after pregnancy. The combination of the relaxing of your soft tissues and the extra weight you're carrying can cause your feet to grow half to 1 shoe size.

During pregnancy, you're also more prone to developing plantar fasciitis—an inflammation of the tissues at the bottom of your feet that is particularly painful when you step out of bed in the morning or stand up after being seated for a long time. Wear low-heeled, cushioned shoes instead of walking with bare feet (to keep from aggravating the inflammation even further), and try massage and gentle stretches (with foot over your knee, pull your toes toward you while keeping g your heel firm—do it first thing and three or four times during the day). Shoe or heel inserts can help relieve some of the pressure.

YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

More About this Book

YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

Can I get a cavity filled while pregnant? Will avoiding spicy foods make my kid a picky eater? Can I really increase my baby's IQ while she's in utero? Whether you're pregnant for the first time, are trying to start your family, or already have enough children to start your own basketball team, you're bound to have questions about what it means to be pregnant -- and how you can increase your odds of having a healthy and happy pregnancy. But no matter how much you've read, watched, studied, or talked about this amazing biological journey, you have never read anything like this. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz act as mythbusters for the hundreds of questions surrounding pregnancy in the same scientific, informative, and entertaining ways that have made them America's Doctors. In these pages, you'll learn everything you need to know about the miracles of fetal development, your health throughout the pregnancy, and providing the best possible environment for your growing child. Pregnancy is a complicated balancing act, but it doesn't have to be frightening. The doctors will help you de-stress as they describe accurately and rationally what happens during a thrilling nine months of life. While every pregnant body is different, odds are you'll experience some of the cravings, crying, and discomfort that almost all women go through. Your best tactic? Learn why these things are happening -- and what you should do about them. YOU: Having a Baby will teach you everything you need to know about what to eat (should I be eating for two?), how much to exercise, and what guilty pleasures will actually make pregnancy easier on you (and the loved ones who get to be around you for the whole thing). Each phase of pregnancy has different challenges, but the right information will prepare you for what's ahead. The interactive week-by-week calendar inside provides an even more detailed guideline for how and what you should feel through every step of the process. Exciting, cutting-edge scientific research in the fi eld of epigenetics has changed the way the medical profession looks at pregnancy, and now it can change your perspective, too. Epigenetics explores what makes us develop in certain ways -- why some people thrive at math while others are prone to chronic diseases. It turns out that there are easy things you can do that will not just help your baby's development in utero but will actually improve his or her chances of living a healthy, fulfi lling adult life. Filled with recipes for nutritious, satisfying snacks and meals even Pop can cook (yes, he can!), safe exercises for staying fit, and tons of YOU tips that will help you stay comfortable, YOU: Having a Baby is the ultimate guidebook for what to do from the moment of conception to the weeks after your child has arrived home. From morning sickness and food cravings to choosing a doctor and changing a diaper, YOU: Having a Baby will give you the real scoop about what's in store for you during this amazing time in your life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.