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Foot formation during pregnancy and possible malformations in the baby's feet

In what week do the feet begin to form? And the fingers? Do nails grow during pregnancy or at birth? When are bones formed?

These are some of the frequently asked questions between fathers and mothers when we talk about the formation and growth of the baby's foot during pregnancy


Pregnancy belly foot



In this article we tell you, by weeks, how feet are formed during pregnancy and the possible malformations that the baby can suffer in this part of the body.




WEEK 1 – 5

In these first few weeks the extremities as such are not appreciated. It will be from week 6 when we begin to see a more striking evolution.

Week 0 gestation

WEEK 6 – 7

The buds (outlines) of legs and arms begin to become visible, that is, they can be distinguish what will be the lower and upper extremities. In addition, they begin form the bones.

Pregnancy foot evolution

WEEK 8 – 9

Both legs and arms have lengthened and are beginning to differentiate toes and hands, although these will be adhered by membranes. In addition, in the ninth week the nail embryogenesis, a first outline of this during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the baby's arms develop several days before legs. This has an explanation, and that is that at birth babies already pick up objects, while it takes months to take their first steps.


At 50 days, the soles of the feet and hands face inwards, but little by little they will settle.


WEEKS 10 – 12

The toes and the hands have separate. In addition, the baby already has all the Joints y flex your legs and arms.

At 3 months, what would be the bones of the foot, the metatarsals and the distal phalanges begin to appear. In addition, what is known as the big toe. Then the bases of the rest of the fingers.

Baby evolution 3 months

WEEKS 13-18

They start to grow nails on the fingers and the limbs are already long and thin.

Progressively, in week 13, the nail matrix, ie the nail base; in the 14 the primary fold; and in the 17, the sheet that almost completely covers the nail bed, the part under the nail on which it grows.

SWEEKS 19-27


In the foot, nails grow to the end of the fingers and he appears heel bone. Furthermore, the legs and arms have reached a proportional size to the rest of your body.

We will also see that they are already forming the footprints.

From 5 to 7 months, developmental alterations in the feet can already be observed, such as clubfoot.

Baby evolution 6 months



The baby moves feet and hands, you can even see them finger flexion and extension which can be interpreted as the existence of the palmo-plantar reflex.

The Toenails have already finished develop and have grown to the fingertips.

Some children are born with them so long that they need to be cut at birth to prevent scratching.

baby evolution 9 months


The babies feet, after birth and during the first months of life, are round at fat that surrounds the plants. For this reason, the plantar arch is not perceived.

Until the ages of 16 and 20, the bones of the feet do not completely ossify.

newborn baby feet


MALFORMATIONS AND/OR CONGENITAL DEFORMITIES. Types and causes of alterations in the feet of babies

On some occasions, during pregnancy there may be malformations or morphological alterations in the feet of babies that we can classify in two types:


In rural areas of India, families in charge of a blind minor frequently isolate and deprive him/her of the care and attention they provide to their other children; such situation becomes even more severe among lower-caste families, orphans and if the blind child is a girl. Congenital malformations is affected the genetic code of the fetus due to various factors.

The main causes are radiation (X-rays), chemical agents (Thalidomide), infectious agents (syphilis, toxoplasmosis produced by raw meat, rubella, etc.) and genetic and chromosomal factors.


baby embryo


Regarding the Congenital malformations there many classifications, but let's frame them in four groups:

1. NUMERICAL ALTERATIONS. Por excess or defect of the fingers, extremities, etc. It is worth noting the oligodactyly, when the baby has fewer toes, and polydactyly, when you have more fingers.

2. DEVELOPMENTAL ALTERATIONS. The problem isn't the number, it's the size or length of fingers, limbs or elements that make up the feet.

3. SYNDACTYLY OR FINGERS TOGETHER. This is one of the most frequent malformations in which we can see fusion of two or more toes (as in the following photo).


Congenital malformations occur in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy.






The congenital deformities occur when the fetus has already grown and there is a "lack of space" for it to finish developing. The causes most frequent of the congenital deformities are:

  • Be new mother.
  • A malformation in the uterus of the mother.
  • narrow pelvis in the mother, since this supposes a difficulty in the position of the child before delivery.
  • A disproportion between the fetus and the mother, that is, the mother can be "small" and the baby very large.

All this process of foot growth can be seen in the different ultrasounds and tests that the mother performs during pregnancy.

It is important to make the reviews indicated by specialists and follow their advice to avoid any type of problem, both for the baby and for the mother.


pregnancy baby


If you want to know more, in our baby feet guide you can find all the information about its development from birth, as well as tips to take care of your feet or keys to choose the footwear.

Request an appointment with our specialists in child podiatry in the Podoactiva clinics and centers and discover the specific protocols for the diagnosis and pathologies of the foot and gait in children. The prevention is the key.



Marta Carmena and Esther Gonzalez from Podoactiva Pozuelo Clinic


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