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High heels threat for pregnant women

Pregnant women who want to emulate celebrities by wearing high heels are putting their feet at risk, an expert warned.

Lorraine Jones, from The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, said women feel under pressure to wear stilettos but are risking long-term damage, as well as strains to their ankles and ligaments.

Furthermore, pregnant women routinely wear other unsuitable footwear, such as flip flops, ballet pumps and Ugg boots, she said.

A poll of 1,000 pregnant women for the Society found 66% regularly wear flip flops, 32% wear high heels, 53% ballet pumps and 30% Ugg boots.

But Ms Jones said none of these shoes are suitable because they offer little support.

"Weight gain and hormonal changes in pregnancy have a huge impact on the body," she said.

"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. Shoes like ballet pumps, flip flops and Ugg boots are also unsuitable for daily wear in pregnancy because they don't provide your feet with the necessary support."

The survey of pregnant women found around half feel under pressure to keep up with celebrity trends. Yet seven out of 10 have suffered foot problems in pregnancy including swollen ankles (37%), swollen feet (45%) and foot arch and heel pain (16%).

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