7 great reasons to go barefoot during pregnancy

Pregnancy is both wonderful and challenging: Excitement, picking out names, a beautiful new stroller – but also swollen feet, a sore back, and getting out of breath when you go upstairs.

Pregnancy is both wonderful and challenging: Excitement, picking out names, a beautiful new stroller – but also swollen feet, a sore back, and getting out of breath when you go upstairs. 

But we’ve got a tip so you can really enjoy every moment: Take off your shoes and set your feet free. 

Why? Let us explain. 

Today’s post is based on the experience of physiotherapists Clara Lewitová, Marika Bajerová, and Lukáš Klimpera and midwife Sabina Trojková.

1) Your feet need space – more than ever before 

Try taking your insole out of your shoe some time and stand on it. You can’t fit your whole foot on it, right? The evidence is clear: Your feet are cramped inside of your shoes. And when you’re pregnant, they need even more space than before. 

Your feet should never have to adapt to your shoes. On the contrary, your shoes should adapt to you. That’s why your feet are happiest when you wear shoes that: 

  • Have a wide toe box to give your toes enough space to move naturally. 
  • Respect the natural shape of your foot. 
  • Bend with your natural movement.
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    A woman walks along a river holding a pair of barefoot Ahinsa ballet flat.

     Spacious shoes can still be stylish. There’s no reason for cramped feet.

    2) Are you carrying yourself? 

    What do you need to carry yourself and your baby during pregnancy? A strong foundation – or happy and active feet.  

    When you wear classic footwear, you’re actually depriving yourself of a lot of support. Your toes are restricted, and your feet are deformed. How can you properly carry your body when your foundation is limited? 

    Going barefoot activates your toes, redistributes your weight, and allows your feet to carry you actively.

    Bare feet.

    Free feet can use their toes and actively carry the body.

    3) Plenty of room for the baby

    The entire posture of your body is determined by your feet. The human body is like a perfectly-tuned clock as we mentioned in our previous post, Barefoot and immunity: Taking your shoes off for health?. When one gear (your feet) is out of alignment, you throw off the entire machine. The tension can spread through the whole body, causing your pelvis to sag, your shoulders to droop, and your chest to collapse towards your stomach. 

    This also impacts the position of the uterus, pulling your abdomen forward and down. Now, where is the baby supposed to grow? 

    Once you free your feet and learn to walk healthily, your body will naturally straighten. As physiotherapist Marika Bajerová says, “When you activate the support function in the feet, you also activate your pelvic muscles and center your uterus in your abdomen.” 

    4) Take a deep breath

    Walking upstairs a few weeks before giving birth is an athletic feat. So, how do you breathe your way through it? You need the right posture. Try standing barefoot on a flat surface. Spread your feet to the width of your pelvis and make sure you feel that your feet have contact with the ground. You should not stand passively, but feel that your feet are actively reacting to your weight and are engaged to hold up your body – actively. Feel your feet, including your toes, and press them into the ground. 

    What happens? Your body naturally straightens up, and you immediately breathe better. But you can only do this barefoot – or in the right barefoot shoes. 

    Leading Czech physiotherapist Clara Lewitová says: “Breathing is an important sustaining element of the body. If a mother doesn’t breathe enough, the chest drops towards the abdomen and can push it downwards.”

    A pregnant woman in a park.

    Healthy posture = natural breath. Try it, and you won’t want to go back to narrow shoes.

    5) Get the perfect balance

    During pregnancy, your body changes every day. That’s why it’s hard to keep your balance, especially once you stop being able to see what’s under your feet. But you know what? Your bare feet can see for you. When you walk barefoot, your brain gets up to 80% of the information for balance from your feet. Your feet can sense what’s under you, and your brain determines which muscles to relax and which to activate. 

    The good news is that your feet can “see” even when you wear shoes. You just have to choose barefoot shoes with thin and flexible outsoles.

    A woman wearing Ahinsa shoes barefoot ballet flats is balancing on a beam.
    Your feet need to "see" the terrain they're walking on. And in barefoot shoes they can look around freely.

    6) Activate your pelvic floor

    The pelvic floor carries a huge responsibility. Think of it as a big bowl that carries your internal organs and now, your baby. It needs to have optimal tension to function correctly, and your brain must be able to coordinate it well in the context of the whole body. 

    But how do you achieve this? Wisdom says: Healthy barefoot walking or in barefoot shoes.

    Either way, it will come in handy for the future. Learn how to strengthen your pelvic floor with healthy walking and some simple exercises to help.

    7) Wake up your senses

    The modern way of life sometimes leads us to ignore the needs of our bodies. We wear shoes that restrict our feet and act like blisters are completely normal. We sit in the office all day long and tell ourselves that everyone has neck pain. 

    But it’s not normal. Pain and discomfort are clear signs to let you know that something is wrong. Ordinary, classic shoes silence and deaden your feet. As soon as you learn how to walk healthily and freely, you’ll notice the difference. You’ll become aware of your feet, the world beneath them, and the alignment of your whole body. You’ll be able to feel when you’re comfortable and when you’re not. And that’s exactly what you need to have a good pregnancy. 

    “When a woman's feet are more in touch with the ground and can feel how she walks, she’ll recognize on her own that it’s not good to wear shoes with a narrow toebox. The fact that she makes this observation for me is a sign that she’ll have a successful pregnancy and labor,” says gynecological physiotherapist Marika Bajerová.

    A woman sits on the ground wearing a pair of barefoot Ahinsa casual shoes.

    When you can feel your feet, every step will make you happy.

    Learn to walk the healthy way. It’s easy. 

    Now, it’s up to you, but you don’t have to do it alone. Check out our free ebook Step by Step to Healthy Walking and learn how to walk naturally.  

    Healthy barefoot shoes can also help so you can enjoy every little moment of your pregnancy journey.