- Wearing heels late in pregnancy can be difficult and painful due to swelling, lax joints, and swayback, but it’s unlikely to be dangerous.
- The only real risk of wearing heels while pregnant is of sustaining injuries in a fall.
- As long as people who are pregnant are exercising caution, wearing heels during pregnancy is not likely to be dangerous.
Pregnant people are often made into objects of public scrutiny as soon as they start showing, and this is doubly true for celebrities who are always in the public eye. So it’s not particularly surprising that tabloids are raising eyebrows at the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle’s footwear choices as of late.
Markle is in her third trimester and still wearing heels during public appearances. But some people are raising concerns as to the safety of wearing heels during pregnancy, suggesting that she is putting her “baby at risk for the sake of fashion.”
INSIDER spoke to Alyssa Dweck, M.S., M.D., FACOG, an OB/GYN based in New York to parse out how risky it really is to wear heels late in pregnancy.
Pregnant people are at a greater risk of falling in heels – but that’s about it
The greatest risk of wearing heels during pregnancy is that the wearer could trip and fall.
“Women tend to get lax joints when they’re pregnant, so they’re a little more apt to be clumsy and fall if you’re in really high heels,” Dweck said, also explaining that pregnant people tend to lose their center of gravity later in pregnancy.
That said, someone like Meghan Markle is accompanied by a security detail at all times, who would presumably be able to keep the Duchess from falling if she were to lose her balance.
High heels can exacerbate some of the discomforts that come with pregnancy
Part of the reason you rarely see pregnant people in heels is that it’s simply uncomfortable. “As pregnancy goes along, so many women really complain about swollen feet and ankles,” Dweck said. “I admire her if she can still get her stilettos on.”
Back pain is common during pregnancy as well, and high heels certainly won’t ease the situation. “There’s an increased lordosis [natural curve] in the back, where you kind of get like a swayback as you get further along, and having your feet on such a sharp angle make your back more prone to be uncomfortable,” Dweck said.
“But is there anything more dangerous apart from the fact that you’re more likely to trip, fall, twist an ankle? Not really.”
Although it’s always important to exercise caution while pregnant, if you feel stable and comfortable walking in heels, there’s little reason not to
“There’s certainly no risk to the baby unless you fall and hit your stomach. I think common sense rules here,” Dweck told INSIDER.
The verdict on heels during pregnancy? Painful, sure, but dangerous – no. If you’re a pro at walking in heels and have someone to help you regain your balance if you hit a cobblestone, more power to you. Or as Dweck said, “If she can tolerate it, good for her.”