Fashion & Style

What to wear when you are pregnant

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Movie star Kate Hudson wore a two-piece bathing suit
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What to wear when you are pregnant? The options are nearly endless nowadays

If currently pregnant or planning to be in the near future, thank your lucky stars you are in the family way now and not 30 years ago.

Maternity styles have improved tremendously from the days when loose-fitting (not to mention ugly) clothing was the only option. Ironically, the looser the clothing, the bigger the woman looked, which was counter-intuitive. What to wear when you are pregnant? The options are nearly endless nowadays.

Expectant mothers expose their big bellies, which used to be forbidden. No longer are mothers-to-be required to wear frumpy one-piece bathing suits. Pregnant gals wear two-piece suits, even bikinis, and look beautiful.

A tankini swimsuit is an awesome choice for the less daring. It covers the belly but is form fitting and looks good.

Full-length, calf-length or knee-length tights and leggings are stretchy and comfortable and perfect for the expectant woman. They can be worn alone or under a skirt or dress. Tights provide support, especially if you wear special maternity compression tights. Your legs won't get as fatigued.

Non-maternity clothing featuring an empire waistline is a style providing enough room for an expanding belly.

Maxi dresses are wonderful for women in the family way. Select one in jersey fabric or a flowing, stretchy material and you may be able to wear it up until you deliver. You can also wear it post-baby.

In the past ...

Maternity pants were put on early in pregnancy because a woman had no choice. There was no getting into her regular pants, as hard as she might try. That's changed.

Purchase a pant extender. It is an elastic band with a button on one end and a button hole on the other end. The extender prevents the unzipped or unbuttoned non-maternity pants from falling down. You can wear your regular jeans and pants months into the pregnancy courtesy of the extender. Of course, the skin exposed by the gap can be seen. The gap is created because the pants no longer close. Wear a long, loose top to conceal the gap.

Purchase panel extenders. The panels fill in the gap. Belly bands or band extenders are stretchy bands of fabric, covering the pregnant belly as well as the unbuttoned or unzipped pants. It's comparable to a tube top worn around the midsection. The band holds the pants in place. 

These bands come in a variety of designs and colors because they are meant to be seen, peeking out from underneath your shirt, which has gotten increasingly shorter as your belly gets bigger.

Wear a maternity support band that straps around your expanding belly, supporting the back and preventing strain on the back.


Some pregnant women wear maternity underwear, some don't. The choice is yours. The main advantage of wearing underwear designed for the mother-to-be is comfort. Wearing underpants that encase the expanding stomach literally takes some of the load off. The underpants provide much needed support. Additionally, pregnancy underpants hide the protruding belly button and produce a smooth silhouette in front.


Breasts get big and cumbersome during pregnancy. Wearing a maternity bra that provides ample support and comfort is wise. Cotton bras are preferred by many because of the the provide comfort and because many expectant mothers choose to wear a bra while sleeping.

Support hose

Varicose veins may develop when expecting, the result of extra weight putting pressure on the woman's legs. Wear support hose to counteract this. The graduated compression stockings designed to be tight at the ankle although not as tight higher up on the leg, allows blood to flow freely back to the heart, preventing swelling in the ankles and, hopefully, varicose veins from appearing or getting worse.

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