As I was standing and singing in church yesterday, my body called my attention to three areas of my body: my feet, my calves, and my low back. My feet were saying “all this standing is increasing the feeling of pressure.” My calves were saying “we’re starting to cramp up here…a nice deep stretch would be really great right about now!” My back was saying “there is something off about your alignment and I’m starting to get sore, lady!”
While one part of my brain was saying “what do you expect, wearing 3 inch heels at 6.5 months pregnant?! You’re a physio, you should know better!” the other part was saying, “hush up all of you. So, it might hurt for awhile but dang you look good!”
Well, I am a physio and I should know better than to mess with my alignment! But I have all these beautiful shoes….
My pregnancy has been great so far, thank God, but one of the things I miss is rocking my heels as frequently as I used to. I have more high heels than I do regular shoes! If you’re a fan of high heels and can’t bear the thought of wearing only flats for an entire 40 weeks, then here are some tips for you:
- Get your alignment checked by a The Mama’s Physio. The position and mechanics of your pelvis, thorax, hips, knees, and ankles during stance and during movement can significantly impact you ability to tolerate wearing heels. If you’re starting off with non-optimal alignment, chances are that wearing heels will make things worse.
- Stretch and mobilize your calves before and after wearing heels. Put a small ball under your feet and roll back and forth to release the tension and stretch the fascia.
- Alternate between cute flats and heels – ie. don’t wear heels every day so you can give your body a break.
- Choose kitten heels over stilettos, and chunky platform heels, or wedges. They have greater support for the entire foot.
- Stop by your local drug store and get some comfortable gel inserts – they aren’t perfect, but might help to take the edge off the feeling of pressure.
- Avoid prolonged standing or walking. It’s better to wear heels to a nice dinner or to the theatre vs. a networking event where you’re on your feet the whole time.
- Be very aware of your alignment and muscle over-activity especially in the low back, gluts, quads. You may end up swaying backwards or forwards (especially with a big belly that already pulls you forward), and consequently activating certain muscle groups to prevent you from losing your balance and falling over. Wearing heels throws your balance and alignment off even when not pregnant. If something hurts, observe the sensation, observe your current positioning, and mention it to your physio during your next visit.
- Stick a pair of small flats in your purse so you always have alternative footwear. If your heels are causing you pain, listen to your body and take them off. Pain is your body’s way of signalling you that something is amiss.
- Avoid wearing heels at all if you have a problem with swelling in your lower extremities.
- If you can’t bear the thought of walking another step in your heels, get your man to pick you up, (like the princess that you are!) and carry you to the car! Or have the car pulled up to the entrance so you don’t have to walk. Remember that as you walk, all your body weight (including baby) is placed alternately on one foot, then the other. That is a lot of pressure on the toes, feet, ankles, knees and hips. If walking around in heels is torture, just don’t do it. Get a pair of nice low and wide-heeled boots or invest in some really cute flats which you know you’ll wear after your baby is born.
- And work those flats with confidence – having confidence is the key to unlocking your inner beauty . It will shine through and you’ll feel great about your appearance regardless of what’s on your feet!
The take away message: you don’t have to completely avoid wearing heels during your pregnancy. But if you do, following the tips above will make standing and walking in heels (especially high heels) much more bearable. Now that I’ve reflected on this a bit, I think I will take my own advice and go shoe shopping (for flats)!
In another post, I’ll write more about the importance of alignment during pregnancy. Until then, stay fine mamas!