One common caution that pregnant women receive is to give up on wearing heels during pregnancy. But is it really necessary to avoid heels completely? Read on to find out.
Women love their heels. Many women find it difficult to keep their favourite heels sitting in the corner throughout their pregnancy as they are generally advised to avoid them during pregnancy. Most doctors also opine that heels and pregnancy don’t go hand in hand and advise women to shun them during pregnancy due to the risks associated with wearing heels.
Risks of Wearing Heels during Pregnancy
Here are some of the risks that come with wearing high heels during pregnancy:
- Cramps in your calf: Wearing heels will contract the muscles on your calf and put a strain on these muscles. This can give rise to cramps in your calves which may get worse during pregnancy.
- Back pain: Heels are meant to alter your posture and give you a rounder and more defined back. This happens because high heels cause the pelvic muscles to bend forward. As you will have gained a lot of weight especially due to your growing belly, this change in posture will put a lot of stress on your back and cause pain. Pregnancy also loosens the ligaments of the legs and the lower back. Since heels put a lot of pressure on the back and the pelvis region, these ligaments will not be able to support them, which will lead to a lot of pain in the back.
- Loss of balance: Pregnancy weight, in addition to the hormonal changes in the body, will weaken your ankles, which will lower your ability to balance your body. Wearing high heels can further affect your balance and make you more susceptible to tripping and falling over. This can cause unnecessary injuries to you and even to your developing baby.
- Stretched muscles: Just like the ligaments and the muscles on your back and the abdomen, you will also find that ligaments in your calf and ankles have loosened due to the hormones. This can further stretch the muscles and the feet. This means that the same shoes that have been fitting you perfectly will become very tight and uncomfortable to wear during pregnancy. Wearing these heels during pregnancy can cause intense pain.
- Swollen feet: Due to excess water retention in the body you will find that your feet, ankles and even your legs swell up quite a bit. This can make walking or standing for a long time difficult. Wearing high heels during this time can only aggravate your pain as it will cause more fluids to accumulate in your feet.
Safety Tips for Pregnant Women
Despite the risks, if you still want to wear high heels during pregnancy, you might want to keep the following tips in mind:
- Wearing heels in the first trimester is acceptable. Avoid wearing them beyond your first trimester as it could affect your health and your baby’s health. This is because your body goes through hormonal changes and the muscles in the feet begin to stretch. Even in the first trimester, wear only shorter heels that allow you to walk comfortably.
- Skip wearing stilettos or any shoes with thin and pointy heels. These heels will not be able to give you any support and with affect your balance, more so during pregnancy. Instead, you can opt for block heels that provide better support and balance to your body. Since you will put on some weight during pregnancy, your centre of gravity shifts and walking in wedges during this time will affect your walking. It can even make your joints unstable and put a strain on your muscles.
- Invest in good shoes. Cheaper shoes are not sturdy and the heels may snap at any moment, especially if there is too much weight on them. Hence, you can invest in a good pair of durable heels if you want to wear heels during pregnancy.
- Don’t wear the heels for too long. Take breaks and try to sit as much as possible. Standing for long hours on heels may also cause you discomfort. You can consider carrying a pair of comfortable flats to change into if you feel any pain.
- Buy shoes that fit comfortably and don’t grip your feet too tightly to avoid pain.
- Don’t wear heels every day. Flats are a much better choice for everyday use.
- In case you feel any discomfort while wearing heels, try out some stretching exercises for your calf muscles. You can also gently massage your feet to relieve pain.
- Do not wear heels for longer than two hours at a stretch.
While there is no medical condition that prevents pregnant women from wearing heels, it is still not recommended due to the discomfort and the pain it is sure to cause. You will undoubtedly go through a lot of changes during pregnancy and your body will be carrying extra weight which is already putting a strain on your feet and the muscles in your ankles and knees. Wearing heels will only worsen all of this, and is exactly why doctors recommend pregnant women to wear comfortable shoes throughout their pregnancy. Also, a pair of fashionable heels might not be worth risking your health as well as your baby’s well-being.