High heels and pregnancy don’t mix

Expert warns mums-to-be they risk long-term damage


The type of footwear pregnant women wear leaves a lot to be desired, an expert has warned today.


The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists polled 1,000 mums-to-be and discovered 66% regularly wear flip flops, 32% wear high heels, 53% ballet pumps and 30% Ugg boots, reports the Telegraph. And none of these offer good support, said Lorraine Jones, from the Society.

”Weight gain and hormonal changes in pregnancy have a huge impact on the body. Muscles and ligaments soften and stretch because of an increase in the ovarian hormone, relaxin, which makes your feet more prone to ankle and ligament strains on a daily basis.

”High heels alter your posture, shorten your calf muscles and place increased pressure on your back and knees.

”In pregnancy this places extra pressure on your joints when they are already under strain, which can result in a host of foot, leg and back problems and could increase the likelihood of falls.

”Shoes like ballet pumps, flip flops and Ugg boots are also unsuitable for daily wear in pregnancy because they don’t provide your feet with the necessary support,” said Lorraine.

Seven out of 10 pregnant women have also suffered foot problems, the poll found. These include:

  • swollen ankles (37%)
  • swollen feet (45%)
  • foot arch and heel pain (16%)

Around half of the mums-to-be also said they felt under pressure to keep up with celeb trends.

And what if you really want to wear those heels? “Many of the pregnant celebrities you see wearing high heels in magazines are attending events so, like them, try to keep your high heeled, high fashion shoes for a special occasion and stick to a more supportive shoe on a daily basis,” Lorraine has stated.

“If you’re pregnant, choose well-fitted, round toed and low heeled, comfortable shoes with straps to support the foot and ankle and help minimise discomfort and prevent the prospect of long-term damage,” Lorraine also advised.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists has the following tips for keeping your feet healthy during your pregnancy:

  • Opt for comfy, supportive footwear, ideally with a strap, laces or Velcro. It’s essential to have supportive footwear with extra shock absorption, a supportive arch and firm heel.
  • Go for a heel height of 3cm – this shifts weight a little further forward on to the feet and can help ease discomfort.
  • Make sure there’s 1cm between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.
  • Avoid high heels – they can put unnecessary pressure on joints that are already under strain.
  • When sitting, don’t cross your legs or ankles.
  • Move your lower limbs even when resting – lie on your back and move your legs like you’re riding a bike to help leg muscles and reduce swelling, or rotate your ankles to prevent cramps.


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