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Sinead Ryan: Why mums-to-be must flatly refuse to give up high heels

There are over six billion of us living on this rocky little planet orbiting the sun, but if we don't cop ourselves on, we'll kill off the entire population. It won't be nuclear annihilation or greenhouse gases that does us in though -- it'll be the incessant efforts to stop women having babies.

This week -- adding to the already deafening cacophony of alarm bells about not consuming shellfish, cheese, pate, alcohol, tea or coffee; dyeing your hair, popping a paracetamol and all the other "advice" meted out by scientists, out come the podiatrists (that's feet, not children) who have warned pregnant mums off wearing high heels.

Oh, and Ugg boots, and flats and well, all other kinds of footwear bar those fetching black lace-up brogues you only find in small country towns favoured by shoppers who never left the 1950s.

Honest to goodness, it's enough to make you wonder whether the human race has more than a decade left.

Are these guys paid by some population control department set up in the UN to ward off impending global over-population of Sex And The City fans?

Listen, most women go from feeling elated to bloody awful during those short nine months and believe me, they will and should be allowed to do absolutely anything they like to make the creation of new life that bit easier to bear. If wearing a gorgeous pair of four-inch Louboutins is going to do the trick -- and your credit card can absorb it -- well, why the hell not? Will you end up with lifelong bunions? Don't think so. Will the baby be injured? No. Are we trying to prolong the illusion that extra height makes up for three extra stone around the tummy? Of course we are! And so what? Honestly -- why not just chain them barefoot to the kitchen sink?


Doesn't a pregnant woman have enough to worry about without taking all this crap to heart. They should read nothing, listen to nobody and enjoy the special time without worrying about what they're putting in their mouth or on their feet.

According to the feet police, ballet pumps, flip flops and Ugg boots are just as unsuitable for pregnancy because they're too flat to provide support. I can't imagine how the Masai barefoot warriors ever bore a race.

Apparently the ideal height to keep them happy is 1.2 inches -- exactly the height that's normally accompanied by an 'Ugh' in any fashionable shoe shop.

The podiatrists go on to warn women off trying to emulate celebrity pregnancies. Think how great Victoria Beckham looked during her three pregnancies -- it would have signalled the end of the fashion world if she had turned out in a comfy pair of trainers or ... holy God, Scholl wedges. Of course, she's paying the price now, but aren't we all?

Christina Aguilera wasn't caught dead in flatties during her pregnancy -- neither was Coleen Rooney, our own Claudine Keane or any other WAG worth her salt. If you have to dress in a tent, at least make sure everyone's looking at your perfectly pedicured feet instead and having paroxysms of jealousy over your Jimmy Choos.

Research shows that "half of pregnant women feel under pressure to keep up with celebrity footwear trends" yet "seven out of 10 have suffered foot problems". So, what does that little nugget of information tell you? The missing words linking the two sentences are "Even so ... " It's called choice.

The official yawn-yawn advice is to "choose well fitted round-toed, low-heeled comfortable shoes with straps". They're joking right? Five years old we're not.

Yes, sometimes the pins will be swollen and bloated and won't fit into anything except their partner's size 11 bedroom slippers but for those precious days when they're feeling gorgeous despite the constipation, swelling, nausea and back pain, there's nothing like a strappy high heel to make it all worthwhile.

Ladies -- indulge yourselves. You're worth it.