Just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you want to stop looking good. Whether you are in need of smart suits for the office, practical outfits for running around after other children, or comfy clothes for resting in, the choice of maternity clothes has never been wider.
If this is your first pregnancy, you may find that you don’t need maternity clothes for a few months, or can get away with a size up in your normal jeans for quite some time. Second or later pregnancies tend to result in bumps appearing earlier, so you may find that you move into maternity wear within a few weeks of seeing that blue line if you have been pregnant before.
Either way, gone are the days when mothers-to-be had to go to specialist maternity or baby stores to sift through a small range of unflattering smocks and dungarees! Pretty much every mainstream high street clothing store and even most of the supermarkets stock specialist maternity wear, and there are also a number of online only maternity wear outlets.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that maternity wear is just normal clothing made bigger though. Good maternity wear will be designed to take into account your changing shape; your belly will be bigger, and your breasts too, but your shoulders won’t grow, for example! Maternity wear will also allow for support for a growing bump, something an oversized T-shirt just won’t do.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to go mad and replace your entire wardrobe. Focus to start with on a few classic basics and then supplement them to suit your lifestyle.
For example, most people will find a couple of good pairs of maternity jeans invaluable, and these will probably see you from around twelve weeks pregnant right through to delivery (they are often expandable using elastic side-pieces). Soft jogger type trousers or skirts are comfortable, especially for the latter stages of pregnancy, and come in handy for after the birth as they will stretch to accommodate a range of sizes. They are especially good if you end up having a caesarian, as you won’t want anything too harsh or restrictive over the scar.
If you need smart office wear, a good bet is a couple of pairs of dark trousers in linen or cotton, with a few cotton tops. Wrap dresses often work well as these will last throughout the pregnancy (and probably for a while after) and look smart enough for the office but can be dressed down for other days. Start by trying on clothes in your normal pre-pregnancy size, but remember, as with normal clothes ranges, each store will have a different definition of sizes and so you are likely to need to try things on which are a size bigger or smaller in different stores.
Finally, don’t forget that your feet are pregnant too; well, sort of. Victoria Beckham may enjoy wearing five inch heels at six months pregnant, but most people will find that a form of torture. You may find your feet swell, especially in the later stages of pregnancy or if it’s the height of summer, and your legs ache, so think about investing in some comfortable, soft leather slip-ons, with good arch support. Your sexy stilettos can return to your slender feet once the baby is born!