Shoes a little tight these days? Find out why your feet are a little bigger than usual.
woman with a lot of shoes
Credit: KamilMacniak/ 

Are you struggling like Cinderella's stepsister to get your shoes on? Are they pinching your toes so much that you kick them off under your desk at work? Toward the end of your pregnancy, you may find that your shoes simply don't fit. Like the rest of you, your feet are growing. This isn't necessarily due to your weight gain. It's more likely the result of that 40 percent increase in blood and body fluids moving through you and causing tissues to swell. In addition, your uterus is now large enough to press on the veins through your pelvic area, slowing down blood flow in your lower body. Your feet might expand to fill an extra shoe size by the end of your pregnancy.

Your foot size will diminish again after you give birth, though it may never be as petite as your prepregnancy measure. Stay comfortable in the meantime by investing in a couple of pairs of shoes in a larger size. It's best to buy canvas, cotton, or leather shoes to keep your feet cooler; stay away from flats because they can strain your back. Of course, with your new proportions you should skip the stilettos, too, and settle for that happy medium--a heel between 1/2 inch and 2 inches is probably the most comfortable. It's also wise to buy shoes with either elastic sides or buckles that can expand with you throughout the day. You'll soon find out that bending over to tie shoes will take massive effort, so slip-ons are a great idea. Carry a pair of elasticized slippers with nonskid soles to work and have another pair by your door to put on the minute you're home.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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