Well being Canada

they said There is a series called Pregnant in Heels due to start imminently in the UK. It is a reality show following the adventures of ‘maternity concierge’ as she assists pregnant women and their husbands/partners to plan for the birth or their new baby. The show aside, as I haven’t seen it yet, I got thinking about wearing heels whilst being pregnant. Myself, it was not an issue as I wore heels once and briefly in my life – I do believe I was about 13 and it was the 80’s when those tiny stiletto shoes were fashionable. Anyway, I tried them on, pranced about in the shop, bought them, and then after about a day stopped wearing them. We didn’t hit it off, me and the heels. I have always worn flats. I have nothing against heels of course, they are an inanimate object after all. I also understand why a woman would want to wear them – they are slimming, add height and a lot of women feel sexy and elegant wearing them.
But there are a number of reasons why a woman might want to avoid wearing heals during her pregnancy. Firstly, there is that risk of toppling over. Pregnancy is not a static thing, the woman will get bigger, every day. So every day her body is subconsciously adapting to changes in her centre of gravity. She will often feel awkward and off kilter. When heavily pregnant she will not be able to see her feet in order to judge changes in ground levels, making the chances of tripping up more probable.
Secondly, wearing high heels whilst pregnant can exacerbate or be a catalyst for back and pelvic pain. Many, if not most women will get back pain at some time during their pregnancy. They are naturally over-arching their lower back to compensate for the growing baby in the front. The baby also draws their shoulders down and front and they get upper back and neck pain. At the same time the ligaments, tendons and muscles are relaxing from the hormone relaxing. This hormone helps the pelvis soften to allow the baby to be delivered. However, it also causes the joints in the pelvic girdle to move more which can cause inflammation and pain. Wearing heals further increases the strain on the pelvic girdle by encouraging it to tilt anteriorally and thus creating greater instability and greater lower back pain.
Now, die hard devotees of heels may say that they do not want to give up their most beloved Jimmy Choo’s even for a second. It is also one of the only choices they have left – they can’t have alcohol, unpasturised cheese, caffeine and many other pleasures and their heels are the last symbol of free will that they can exert without fear of retribution. I do have the ability to empathise, and I hope I am not judgmental but if a woman comes to me as a pregnancy massage therapist, with all over back pain and pelvic pain and she wears heals I might gently advise on giving up her heels for a while.
There are other women who would like to wear a more sensible shoe but find it uncomfortable wearing flats. There is a good reason for this. Wearing heels for a long time makes the muscle fibers in the legs shrink, the tendons are thicker and stiffer, making walking in bare feet a lot more painful.
If you are one of these women, there is something you can do about it. One way to counter act tightened calf muscles would be to do some gentle stretching exercises. One such exercise for high heel wearers is to stand tip toes on a step, using the hand rail to stabilise and then lower the heels as far as they can go before raising them up again.
If you are one of those die hard fans who will never give up heels even temporarily you can always alternate your stilettos with more supportive shoes to take the strain off when you are at work or out shopping. If not be prepared to be in a little to a lot of discomfort at different stages of your pregnancy. If you are experiencing discomfort or back pain in pregnancy due to wearing heals or due to other reasons one way of alleviating the pain is by having regular massages. Pregnancy or maternity massage can have many benefits including helping with relaxation and insomnia, helping with swelling and oedema and of course combating aches and pains of pregnancy. It is also a fantastic way to connect with your baby and get accustomed to your changing body.