High heels while pregnant could harm your baby

By Mariam Digges

Pregnant women who choose to wear high heel shoes could be causing serious injury to themselves or their unborn child.

Brenden Brown from the Australian Podiatry Association (NSW & ACT) has a bone to pick with high profile pregnant celebrities, who insist on wearing sky-high stilettos. According to Brown, they’re setting a bad example to other expecting mums.

“We’ve recently heard news of a bag laden Jessica Simpson shopping in ‘sky high heels’ during her second pregnancy and other high profile women donning their heels during various stages of pregnancy,” said Brown. “These are risky endeavours by public figures which tell other pregnant women it’s OK.”

“Wearing high heels at any time is an injury risk but this is significantly increased when pregnant, particularly in the later stages as you gain weight and body mass, which affects balance and puts stress on the feet and ankles,” he said.

But Brown is also quick to state that going from heels to flip-flops (or thongs) is also a bad move. 

“A flip flop – or thongs as we say in Australia – gives no support to the foot and when you are carrying a heavy load, you need all the support you can get.  So I advise when pregnant to also stay away from flat shoes that don’t support the foot – especially thongs.   You need a shoe with a slight heel that encloses the foot and gives it support.  Ballet flats should also be avoided,” he said.

“The overall action of high heels on the foot and lower limb is to restrict movement.  There is no foot flex and this means lower limbs have reduced fluid and blood flow.  In addition hormones are also in play, filling the blood stream and ligaments to allow the lower back, hips and abdomen to move and grow with the pregnancy.  These hormones also affect the feet and ankles diminishing ankle strength and causing swelling.

“Such hormonal, physical changes also put strain on the lower back making this combination hard on the feet.  Adding a pair of high heels to this mix is therefore an absolute no-no and should be avoided,” Brown concluded.


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