Pregnancy is often accompanied by changes in the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine and lower extremities. This is often due to multiple factors including weight gain and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Changes that occur within feet can include the following:
Changes in foot length, width and arch height
During pregnancy, women may note that the size of the feet will increase. This is due to an accumulation of fluid and tissue within the lower extremities. The overall effect of this is an increase in volume. Hormonal changes also occur that lead to laxity or looseness of the ligaments within the foot. This loosening results in increase in foot length and width with a decrease in arch height, meaning the arch becomes flatter. Many feel these changes are most pronounced with the first pregnancy and less evident with subsequent pregnancies. While these changes tend to reverse themselves in the post-partum period, some women may notice a permanent change.
Changes in joint mobility
Women can expect laxity within the joints of the foot and ankle. This can cause instability. Weight gain can worsen the instability. This can also lead to alterations in gait as a woman progresses through pregnancy.
Calf swelling, cramping and pain
Calf swelling and cramping are frequent during pregnancy. Blood flow returning from your legs back to your heart is slowed due to the increased size of the uterus and fetus. This leads to a buildup of fluid within the legs.
The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on the following site as an educational service. Go to https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/post-pregnancy-body-changes – 1