HIGH heels may be a desirable fashion accessory, but podiatrists are warning pregnant women to put comfort ahead of style during their pregnancy.
Experts say glamorous celebrities like Jessica Simpson, pictured walking the red carpet in steep stilettos, are setting a bad example for pregnant mums.
Australian Podiatry Association delegate Brenden Brown said pregnant women need to be aware of the dangers of wearing stilettos, despite what celebrities do.
"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.
"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."
Podiatrist Fiona Beynon, of Gail Thomson Podiatry in Ipswich, agreed with the warning, saying high heels are something pregnant women should put on hold.
A change in balance and swelling feet make high heels an unsafe choice.
"It's not wise to wear heels during pregnancy. There is a high trip factor and if you fall the baby is at risk," she said.
"All the weight is at the front of the body. The centre of gravity will change as the baby grows."
Dr Beynon said most women ditch high heels for the comfort reasons.
"Most women already do that, particularly when they pass the first trimester."
She recommends shoes with a flat sole to be safe and comfortable.
"I would say a soft wide shoe with a soft arch support. It doesn't have to be completely flat. As long as it's generally flat you can have a small wedge."
Ipswich exercise group Hot Mums coordinator Kristy Lacey said balance is a concern for mums taking on vigorous exercise during their pregnancy.
Ms Lacey said mums in her groups often have problems with swollen feet.
"Balance is a worry for pregnant women, there are different risks early in the pregnancy compared to later in the pregnancy," she said.
"They worry about doing some kinds of exercise that may put their balance at risk."
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