Women are putting their feet at risk while pregnant by wearing unsuitable footwear such as high-heeled shoes, a group of leading chiropodists and podiatrists warned Tuesday.
A poll of 1,000 pregnant women found 66 percent regularly wore flip flops, 32 percent wore high heels, 53 percent ballet pumps and 30 percent Ugg boots.
Of those questioned, seven out of 10 British pregnant women admitted to suffering from foot problems including swollen ankles (37 percent), swollen feet (45 percent) and arch and heel pain (16 percent).
Lorraine Jones, from the U.K.-based Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, said women were feeling under pressure to wear fashionable footwear but were risking long-term damage, as well as strains to their ankles and ligaments.
"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."
Jones' coworker Nita Parmar said, "Pregnancy can be an uncomfortable time for many expectant mothers, but the good news is that there are a variety of ways in which foot pain or discomfort whilst you are expecting can be prevented or alleviated."
The society recommended footwear with a strap, laces or Velcro and a heel height of 1.2 inches.