EXPECTING mums donning stilettos may be hailed as "magical pregnancy unicorns" by other mums-to-be, but podiatrists warn they may be doing harm to themselves and unborn baby.
Australian Podiatry Association spokesman Brenden Brown said celebrities who wore high heels while pregnant were setting a bad example.
"We've recently heard news of a bag-laden Jessica Simpson shopping in sky-high heels during her second pregnancy," he said.
"Wearing high heels at any time is an injury risk, but this is significantly increased when pregnant, particularly in the later stages as you gain weight and body mass, which affects balance and puts stress on the feet and ankles."
Mr Brown said wearing high heels restricted foot and lower limb movement which reduced fluid and blood flow.
"Hormones are also in play, filling the blood stream and ligaments to allow the lower back, hips and abdomen to move and grow with the pregnancy," he said.
"These hormones also affect the feet and ankles diminishing ankle strength and causing swelling.
"Such hormonal, physical changes also put strain on the lower back making this combination hard on the feet.
"Adding a pair of high heels to this mix is therefore an absolute no-no."
Carmel Lisec gave birth to a healthy baby girl on December 23 last year in spite of wearing 3-5cm high heels until her 30th week.
"I wore them because I felt good in them and they are part of my everyday work wardrobe," she said.
"I can understand that if someone who didn't normally wear heels started wearing them while pregnant, that it is fair to say it's dangerous, but everyone experiences pregnancy differently.
"I'd worn heels for years prior to falling pregnant and felt very comfortable continuing to wear them. I wouldn't put myself or unborn child in danger."
Mr Brown said wearing thongs and other unsupportive flat shoes also should be avoided.
"When you are carrying a heavy load, you need all the support you can get," he said.
"So I advise when pregnant to also stay away from flat shoes that don't support the foot - especially thongs. "Ballet flats should also be avoided."