Hello New Shoes!
See, when you start out in your first pregnancy, let's say you wear a size 8-1/2 shoe. By the time of your first shoe-shopping trip with your little baby in tow, you're wearing a size 9. Even if you lose every pound of your pregnancy weight and swelling is but a memory, your feet may end up being about 1/2 to 1 full size bigger than they ever were before.
In truth, your feet haven't really gotten bigger -- they've just flattened out a bit. Call it fallen arches or flat feet, it is caused by the effects of the hormone relaxin. Relaxin's job is to help loosen your ligaments (bone-to-bone connectors) so your rib cage can expand as your baby grows, and your pelvis can stretch as needed to birth your baby. But the hormone doesn't stick to the hips the way chocolate eclairs and banana splits do -- it flows all over your body, including to your feet. There, it also loosens ligaments, and, with your normal weight and all the excess poundage pregnancy brings, gradually compresses the bones in the foot -- which normally make sort of an inverted V shape -- thereby flattening and enlongating (maybe even widening) your foot. Unfortunately, there's no way to really avoid this. Sure, you can be sure to wear shoes with good arch support, and try to keep from gaining too much weight... but for the most part, it's just one of those hallmarks of pregnancy that will affect an estimated half to three quarters of all pregnant women. (Find out more details on why your feet get bigger during pregnancy here.) We speak from experience when we say that some of you gals who wear a size 10 pre-pregnancy will soon be in the land of the size 11 shoes... which is a very quiet place, since most shoe stores don't stock past size 10. Fortunately, there are a lot of great places you get shoes now online (four we like: endless.com, zappos.com, shoes.com and shoebuy.com). So don't worry if you can't get what you want at the mall -- on the web, finding boots and pumps and slides and wedges in size 11 and up is not a problem. Which brings us to the upside every mama can enjoy: You will have a totally legit excuse to buy all new shoes after pregnancy!