Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | August 4, 2010

Things You’d Think You Wouldn’t Have to Say

I saw a woman today for a cold. I called her name and watched as she teetered back to the exam room on four-inch spiked heels. She climbed up on the exam table and answered all my questions about her runny nose, sore throat, and cough. When I was through with the exam and had explained to her that there was nothing to do but let the illness run its course, I found myself compelled to ask her one more thing.

“About your shoes,” I began.


“Um, has anyone said anything to you about them?

“Like what?”

“Oh, just that high spike heels don’t offer a very broad base of support.”


“It would be very easy for you to twist your ankle and take a nasty fall. I can see how wobbly you are on them.”

“I just like the way they look.”

“And no other doctor has said anything to you?”


“Hm,” I said. “You do realize that you’re SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT, right?”

She smiled shyly.

“Look,” I continued, “I don’t know why your obstetrician hasn’t said anything to you, but I really think it’s time to go to either flats, or at least a broader heel like a wedge or something. I mean, you really don’t want to fall right now, do you.”

“I guess not.” She sighed. “Okay, I’ll start wearing other shoes.”

“Thanks!” I said, feeling more like a parent than a doctor.

So tell me this, all my esteemed obstetrical colleagues: How far along in pregnancy do you tell your patients to stop wearing high heels? Or is it just considered Darwinian?


  1. So THAT’s why your feet swell in the third trimester… So you can’t fit into your spiked heels!

    Don’t worry – sounds like she’s bordering on miserably uncomfortable in those heels already – I give her another week.

  2. Interesting! Back in 1965 my obstetrician lectured me on footgear for pregnancy. “Not too high…but not flat either.” Here in Rural America, stilettos take a back seat to bedroom slippers and flipflops. I have never advised a patient on what kind of shoes to wear, lleave that kind of advice to their mothers. If the swelling is bad, we discuss that she might need to go to Pic ‘n’ Pay for a pair 3 sizes larger than usual.

  3. Lucky lady actually had no swelling at all. I was more concerned about a nasty ankle sprain and a fall. Crutches are tough enough when not pregnant.

  4. Love the post and the above comments. 🙂

  5. 7 months pregnant and she could keep her balance in heels? I gave up wearing heels very early in my first pregnancy and have never gone back. 😀

  6. Pregnancy, schmegnancy. I wish you’d advise ALL your patients not to wear those damn things. (Especially the men – there are other ways to get in touch with one’s feminine side.)

  7. Gee, do you suppose her OB is just focused on he lady parts and hasn’t noticed the shoes?

  8. Is that accepted medical practice, to comment on patients clothing and shoe choices? At what stage of pregancy does the AMA recommend pregnant patients replace their footware (or is the barefoot and pregnant stereotype preferred?)

    I’m not really on board, it sounds meddelsome and irrelevant to me, and not medically related… You can also twist your ankle just walking down the street. Shall we all live at home in bubble wrap to avoid it?

    I am surprised to hear this coming from you, when you have railed against other stupid medical directives; ear cleaning, was it?

  9. They sound painful….and I am not even pregnant (not that I wear heels anyway).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: