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HHS HealthBeat (April 3, 2013)

The pregnant foot

Woman getting foot massage.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Pregnancy may permanently change a woman’s feet. At the University of Iowa, Researcher Neil Segal looked at data on the feet of 49 women before pregnancy and again five months after childbirth. He found that, for up to 70 percent of the women, their feet got bigger.

“There was a drop in the arch of the foot. And there was a reduction in how rigid the tissue was holding up the arch. The foot spread out, and there was an increase in the length as well as the width of the feet.”

Because the feet didn’t return to a smaller size, Segal thinks the changes are permanent. He thinks they may partially account for some women’s joint problems. 

The study in the American Journal of Physical Rehabilitation and Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: April 3, 2013