Pregnancy Lifestyle

High Heels During Pregnancy (Can I Wear Them?)

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During pregnancy, everyone tells you that you are 'glowing', but you have a rapidly expanding middle and a hundred different things make you feel queasy. All of your favourite clothes are either stretched to breaking point or have been reluctantly abandoned, so it's little wonder you feel less than glamorous.

The one consolation is that your sexiest high heels still fit and when you wear them, you suddenly feel more womanly and less like a bump on legs. But despite seeing celebrities tottering around in killer stilettos just days before giving birth, you wonder whether you should be sticking to flats. The answer is both yes and no.

What not to wear

During pregnancy, ligaments soften in preparation for the birth, which makes you feel flexible despite your bulging tummy. This also puts you at risk of injuring your joints by overstretching them. One of the key areas that can suffer is your lower back. Wearing heels alters your posture and can put stress on this area, which has already been weakened by raging hormones.

Knees are another area that can suffer from ligament damage during pregnancy. They are also put under increased pressure because of the weight gain during pregnancy. The potential weakening of key areas such as the back and knees as well as the ankles means that you are unstable when you walk, leading to an increased risk of trips and falls. Of course, the chances of hurting yourself or suffering a heavier fall are higher if you are wearing high heels. Does that mean you should resign yourself to nine months of wearing flip-flops and Ugg boots?

The answer is surprisingly, no. Despite the general consensus amongst experts that stilettos aren't the best footwear, podiatrists don't recommend entirely flat shoes either. Most flat shoes do not support the foot and fail to absorb the shock sufficiently leading to an increased risk of joint damage. So, if flat shoes are out of the window and high heels are frowned upon, what should you wear when you are pregnant?

What gets the thumbs up?

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists suggest that pregnant women stick to shoes, which are supportive and have a strap, Velcro or laces and shoes which are are shock absorbing, as well as having a well-fitting arch. They also recommend round toes and a heel of no more than 1.2 inches. This shifts the balance of weight slightly forward over the foot helping to more evenly distribute the pressure and relieving discomfort on aching joints. All of which means that heels are OK - but don't go too high!

On special occasions

Of course, pregnancy lasts a long time and there may well be occasions when you want to feel a bit more glam. Experts aren't daft and know that many women will want to strut their stuff in heels a bit higher than an inch. They therefore suggest that you don't wear high heels all of the time and when you do, you make sure the shoe is sturdy enough to comfortably bear the pressure and has a broad base; wedges are perfect.

There is still one factor not yet mentioned and that's the blight of swollen ankles. Later on in pregnancy feet tend to widen and ankles swell, so even if you can still squeeze into your best Jimmy Choos, do you really want to risk stretching them beyond repair? The choice is yours!

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