In an adult that has finished growing, is it possible to grow more during pregnancy?

I've been assured this is possible by some relatives, and also a friend who swears she grew an extra inch when pregnant with her first child at 25 years old, well after puberty was over. Their theory is that the various hormones growing the baby also help the mother grow a bit.

1 Answer 1


It's possible, but don't count on it.

Amazingly, there isn't really much in the literature about this that I could find - most studies focus on maternal weight, not height. While the absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, you'd think some of these dozens (or rather hundreds) of studies would have noticed women not only putting on weight, but also growing in height...

Even sites featuring speculation on this put the occurrence of it happening as very low, less than a 0.1 percent. Please note that as far as I can see, that site doesn't offer a citation even for this low number, just some women reporting it. On other websites, other recent mothers that they grew shorter during pregnancy.

As an example from the established literature, the study Prepregnancy Weight and the Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes studied weight gain and loss in a large number of women (over 100,000)

Maternal height and prepregnancy weight are recorded by recall in centimeters and kilograms, respectively, and used to calculate the prepregnancy body-mass index

No formal post-pregnancy measurement of height seems to have been done, though.

Weight gain and the outcome of pregnancy looked at all registered births in the United States in 1980, about three million, again, only weight was considered, height was considered fixed.

If there is an effect, it seems to be either so rare or so small that it hasn't been studied yet.

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