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Bumps in Pumps: Is Wearing Heels Pregnant A Fashion Faux Pas?

red pumps shoes

Not my idea of supportive maternity footwear. Credit: geishaboy500

I was maybe the clumsiest person on the face of the earth when I was pregnant. I fell down several times while pregnant with my daughter, including a totally awesome sidewalk spill that remains one of my most embarrassing fitness moments to date. I’m a total klutz when I’m not pregnant, running into walls and door jambs on the regular. Just two days ago, my hip met a corner in the kitchen that has been there since we moved into the house. So it should come as no surprise that I’m worse when pregnant, when I’m heavier and my center of gravity has shifted.

For all of these reasons, I make rules when I get pregnant: I must hold rails when I go down stairs. I must pay close attention when I’m walking outdoors. And flats are a necessity. I simply do not understand how pregnant women continue to wear sky-high heels during pregnancy without serious injury, like the women on Pregnant in Heels. Heck, I don’t understand how they can do it period. Today, we have an expert opinion on this very topic.

“The comfort of high heels is questionable under any circumstances, but when you’re pregnant, the question of health and safety become important factors,” says Dr. Ezriel Kornel, a principal surgeon at of Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York and assistant clinical professor at the Cornell University School of Medicine. “Some studies show that high heels can flatten the back by making the center of gravity higher in the body. As a result, it puts more stress on the lower back, which can lead to earlier deterioration of the discs.”

The arguments against heels during pregnancy usually amount to: 1) You’re more likely to fall and harm two people instead of one; 2) Heels put undue pressure on your lower back, leading to lower-back pain; and 3) Feet can change up to two sizes during pregnancy, which means having to buy all new shoes unless you plan to really suffer by stuffing your swollen toes into pointy pumps.

“If high-heels do result in backaches related to changes in the center of gravity, this would be amplified in the third trimester of pregnancy because of the postural adjustments that need to be made to compensate for the excess forward weight,” Dr. Kornel adds. “Of course, additional weight always adds stress to the joints and discs of the lower back as well as all the joints in the legs and feet.”

A big thanks to Dr. Kornel for the insight! Did you wear heels when you were pregnant? Or do you go for comfort over fashion? —Erin

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