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Buyer's Guide to Pregnancy Footwear

Though a great pair of red high heels might be your treasured possession, pregnancy is probably the time to give them a rest!

Posted: 31 October 2007
by Laura Lee Davies

During pregnancy, at least a half of all women experience red, sore-looking skin on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet. Often, these itch too, albeit it usually only mildly. They are unfortunately part and parcel of the pregnancy discomforts that affect us all to differing degrees when we are expecting a baby.

Red feet in pregnancy
Hormonal changes happening to your body can make your hands seem red or blotchy. Along with other skin changes this is usually a feature of pregnancy that will disappear again once your baby is born.
The increase in body temperature in pregnancy may also make you feel hotter and your skin appear more red and irritable. The rise in temperature is caused by an increase in your basal metabolic rate.
Hormonal changes and body temperature rises are perfectly natural when you are expecting. However, if you get irritable rashes then do see your doctor to make sure you find a treatment that is safe to apply to your skin when you are expecting.

Pressure on your feet
The weight gain of pregnancy and the change in your body's centre of gravity can affect the pressure on your feet (as well as your back and knees). It can cause your feet to become flatter which makes your feet ache and can put strain on your calf muscles.
Swollen feet and ankles can also become a problem through pregnancy. Check out more about oedema if you think this might be affecting you.

What shoes should you wear?
If you love your shoes, this might be a time to put aside your glam high heels for a few months and seek something stylish in pumps. Your changing body shape can sometimes mean you will be less steady on your feet, and whilst a trip or a fall won't harm your baby, it's no fun for you!
Where possible, avoid wearing shoes and boots which are narrow or overly constricting. At the end of the day, your feet (even if you do not suffer badly with oedema) will feel pressured, rather like when you step off a plane after a long flight.
Choose styles where fastenings are easy to handle. Other problems like pins and needles in your hands and pregnancy clumsiness can make fiddly fastenings a pain. Remember you will be taking shoes on and off over a huge bump soon! Also, if you have to hold your leg at an awkward angle to get your shoes off, it is more likely to bring on the leg cramps which can also plague you during late pregnancy.

Shoes size changes
Some women find they actually need to go up a shoe size when they are pregnant.
Getting your feet measured a couple of times over the nine months you are expecting can be a good idea, though you may well already have some pairs of shoes you find more loose than others, which will last you.

Where to buy pregnancy footwear
Have a good look at your shoe collection before you invest in a whole new range of options. However, if you do get some new shoes which suit your new needs, choose ones that suit your style so you can continue to use them afterwards.
Even if they do seem more functional than your usual array of heels, take comfort in the fact that you'll get lots of use out of them when you're chasing a toddler round the park!
There is no need to shop anywhere special for pregnancy footwear, just look for styles that give the arches of your feet lots of support, and maybe something light and comfortable to wear around the house - as bear feet will not provide your back and the legs with the 'shock absorption' they need.

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