Health

Stiletto warning for pregnant women

  • 15 June 2010
  • From the section Health
women's shoes
Image caption Fashionable shoes can be worn occasionally

Pregnant women are risking their feet in the name of fashion by wearing the wrong types of shoes, experts warn.

A poll of 1,000 pregnant women for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists found many regularly wore ballet pumps, flip flops, high heels and Ugg boots.

But Lorraine Jones from the society says none of these shoes are suitable because they offer little support.

The survey also suggests half feel under pressure to keep up with the latest celebrity trends.

Yet seven out of 10 women admitted to suffering from foot problems including swollen ankles (37%), swollen feet (45%) and arch and heel pain (16%) while pregnant.

The society is urging women to wear supportive, wide fitting shoes to minimise discomfort and avoid long-term damage.

Podiatrist Lorraine Jones said: "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."

Suffering for fashion

Among those surveyed, 66% regularly wore flip flops, 32% wore high heels, 53% wore ballet pumps and 30% wore Ugg boots.

But all of these are unsuitable for daily wear in pregnancy because they do not provide the feet with the necessary support, according to Ms Jones.

As a rule, she says women should opt for 1.2in (3cm) heels as they shift weight a little further forward on to the feet, which can help alleviate discomfort.

If women must wear high heels, they should only do so very occasionally and at events where they will not be on their feet for too long, she adds.

"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."

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