Pregnancy and Shoe Size
September 21, 2012 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Currently pregnant, and wondering when I can buy shoes again.

I recognize that this is a dumb question in the grand scheme of the changes my life is about to go through, but most other stuff has been covered on Ask already.

I'm 37 weeks pregnant with my first. I own two pairs of shoes that comfortably fit (plus, flip flops, but those are getting increasingly less acceptable to wear). My feet have gone up about a half size (from 7 to 7.5), but the main difference appears to be some widening, especially around the toes. I've had some swelling, especially the last few weeks, but not a lot compared to other pregnant women I know. I haven't had any foot pain, either.

I'm wondering when I can start buying new shoes. Is there going to be any continued growth in the next few weeks, or after delivery?
posted by Ideal Impulse to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I delivered at 39 weeks. At about 34 or 35 weeks I had to break down and buy new shoes due to the swelling. I believe they were about half a size bigger than nornal. Those fit well up till delivery.

After delivery I did not experience any increased swelling. In fact, my foot swelling was about the first to go down. I stayed in the hospital for 2 days after delivery and by then swelling had gone down considerably. I went down to my normal size once the swelling was gone. So based on my experience, I'd wait until after delivery and after your swelling goes away.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 5:17 PM on September 21, 2012

As with so many pregnancy-related things, it depends. I've had two kids and still wear the same size I wore pre-pregnancy (wish I could say the same about my jeans!) despite having super puffy feet at the end of each pregnancy. My mom, on the other hand, went up a half a size with each pregnancy, and never went back.

If you have two pairs of shoes that are comfortable, I'd try to make it through until you deliver, and then you will know what will work or not.
posted by ambrosia at 5:23 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd wait until a couple weeks after you deliver. I had some residual swelling for several days after I delivered. (In the hospital for 5 days, had a c-section, which I'm sure contributed.)
posted by Specklet at 5:42 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had similar experiences as the previous posters and would say the same - wait a couple of weeks, but your size should be the same.

My only addition to the above is that sometimes it takes awhile for ligaments to snap back, and the style of shoe you wear may be different for awhile. Look for supportive styles, be cautious wearing heels at first, etc.
posted by hms71 at 6:15 PM on September 21, 2012

My feet went wide during pregnancy - think Fred Flintstone - and stayed that way. I'd suggest waiting two to three weeks after delivery before investing in a new pair.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:43 PM on September 21, 2012

Feel free to buy yourself something comfy and cheap to get yourself through the rest of your pregnancy. Beyond that, wait for a few weeks post delivery to buy anything more. I went up half a size and also from narrow to average, and stayed that way. There's no way to predict what will happen!
posted by Joh at 6:59 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I went up from an 8.5/sometimes 9 to a solid 9 after two pregnancies. My feet are wider, so my pinky toe is uncomfortable in shoes that fit fine before. Boo.
posted by kpht at 7:00 PM on September 21, 2012

My feet grew half a size larger, and slightly wider, and stayed that way permanently. (I delivered 25 years ago.) My doctor said that often the bones of the feet spread due to the weight of the pregnancy pressing downwards, and this is different from the common swelling during pregnancy (which is just fluid retention and is temporary). I am a small-boned woman and I gained about 40 pounds during pregnancy, so the extra weight pressing down was significant.
posted by RRgal at 8:08 PM on September 21, 2012

My feet didn't get any bigger while I was pregnant, but they got HUGE right after delivery. My legs were thigh sized from my crotch to my feet and my toes looked like cherry tomatoes. It took about a week for the swelling to go down enough to wear shoes at all, and several more weeks to disappear completely.

Since then I have noticed I'm often a half size smaller than I was pre-pregnancy. I've worn a 7 since I was a teenager, but now I often fit a 6.5. I doubt that has anything to do with pregnancy (and, frankly, I've been wondering whether it's a vanity sizing thing) but I'm offeirng it as a data point.
posted by looli at 9:38 PM on September 21, 2012

I got a pair of comfy black flat sandals that were a little dressy for late in my pregnancy when my feet were swelling. After the pregnancy, I found that it took my hips and knees quite a while to tighten up enough that high-heels weren't a disaster waiting to happen, so I kept wearing those pregnancy flats for another six months or so. They were pretty adjustable, but also pretty forgiving of foot shape so they didn't need much adjustment. I think I paid $24 at Shoe Carnival, so nothing fancy, just something to do the job.

All my shoes FIT a week or two after pregnancy, but they weren't very comfortable yet ... I still some had fluid in my feet, and my knees were just not ready for heels. I got in the habit of wearing my "real" shoes to an event where I'd be sitting a lot, but my comfy black flat sandals to everything else -- worrk, meeting, standing events.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:05 PM on September 21, 2012

Your blood volume has increased by something like 35% and you're retaining a ton of water to move all of that around. You don't really have a way of predicting if late pregnancy is going to put more pressure on your vena cava, at which point you will deal with significant swelling (and it will suck.)

So basically: your feet may yet swell; after birth, swelling could go down immediately or persist for weeks; you can have post-partum swelling on top of that; your shoe size may return to normal immediately after birth, take weeks, or never revert. In terms of "these expensive shoes, I love them and will wear them FOREVER" purchases, maybe wait and see :(
posted by DarlingBri at 2:23 AM on September 22, 2012

As said, it depends. I am back to my pre-pregnancy size. I think that happened within a few weeks. But it's something of a blur. :)
posted by miss tea at 3:57 AM on September 22, 2012

Yep, I too never returned to my pre-pregnancy size (and never really experienced swelling -- that just got bigger!)
posted by thinkpiece at 5:59 AM on September 22, 2012

My feet grew about 1/4 to 1/2 a size and never went back. It wasn't swelling, in my case; my understanding is that the ligaments relaxed, my feet expanded, and that's that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:05 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

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