In the later stages of pregnancy, the pattern of walking can change. As body mass increases, shape, posture and hormonal changes take place, all influence the way the mother to be walks. Common enough knowledge among women, perhaps, but it took a group of male podiatrists from the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia to prove it. Using foot print analysis and comparing early to late pregnancy he found as the pregnancy progressed extra load was put on mum's feet forcing them to change the way they walked. The resultant increased tension on ligaments with more strain on the muscles made feet unstable and liable to painful symptoms.
As babies, grow, greater pressure was placed on mum's spine, leading in many cases to lower back pain. These changes forced the expectant mother to spread their feet apart when walking. The gap between heels increased significantly especially in the later stages of pregnancy but other determinisms of normal walking remained unchanged. As the centre of mass of the body altered changes in posture required the feet to be placed further apart. Expectant mothers are advised to consult their physician or podiatrist should they experience foot pains. To help support the changes to their frame and keep the feet as comfortable as possible during pregnancy, mums are advised to choose a style of shoe that supports the foot.
A good shoe under these circumstances is a well-fitting trainer. These shoes are built to support the foot as well as provide cushioning and prevent jarring or shock passing to the body. For all mothers to be, be reassured there is nothing to worry about and provided you are sensible and take simple precautions to keep your feet healthy whilst waiting for the patter of those other tiny feet, then there should be no long term damage.
During birth, mum's feet will increase in length by as much as 1.5 times the length of the normal foot. The reason for this is thought to be due to the chain of events caused by the opening of the pelvis to allow baby's head to become engaged. During delivery there are chemical messengers released into the blood stream which relax the tension of ligaments. These messengers often pass through to the placenta and are thought to be the reason why some children are born with greater mobility or laxity. These children are usually tall and lanky, often present at times as ungainly individuals with long narrow feet. The good news is these children usually maintain greater mobility in their joints throughout life. The downside is people with long narrow feet have greater difficulty in finding shoes to fit them.
Bird AR, Menz HB, Hyde CC. (1999). A prospective evaluation of the effect of pregnancy on footprint parameters. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. 89(8): 405-409.
After pregnancy, women Have larger Feet