This post is not meant to scream from the rooftops ‘I have done really well at dressing myself during pregnancy’ because that is 100% not true. But at the same time I do feel like I found some combinations that work for me, which I thought it might be nice to share.
I struggled with naming this post. I could have called it so many things. Titles such as ‘my maternity wardrobe struggles’ or ‘dressing myself and my ever-growing bump’ came to mind, but I felt like they had a kind of negative tone.
I also think it’s important to acknowledge that the idealistic view I had of maternity fashion prior to being pregnant was horribly incorrect. I just kind of assumed I would grow a bump but not much else, whereas in fact before I had any semblance of a bump I had much bigger boobs, and now I am further on my arse is also growing at quite an alarming rate.
The other confusing thing to mention is that although there is a recommended about of weight to put on throughout pregnancy, it’s really hard to know how you’re doing against that benchmark. My midwife doesn’t weigh me. I don’t know how much my baby weighs. I have no idea how much more weight I will put on in the rest of pregnancy, or even how long that ‘rest of pregnancy’ will last. It could be until my due date, it could be before that or up to two weeks more. Everything is a very unknown quantity and so it’s hard to judge how you’re doing.
But enough about that, here’s some of the things I have found which make me feel slightly more like a normal human than some of the god awful things maternity ranges suggest you might want to wear.
The gym wear
I’ve already spoken about the Align Pant from Lululemon. Yes, I know they’re expensive but seriously, they are an investment and I love them. They make my gym sessions so comfy, and I can’t recommend anything more. I just sized up one size in these from my normal Lululemon size.
The Elastika tank top by Nike is a great top for working out in, because the back is so open it really helps to keep me cool in the gym, and the front is baggy enough to not be restrictive and to allow me to grow further. I bought a size large and am hoping to wear it once I’ve had the baby as well, I’ve heard from other mamas that it’s great for breastfeeding when teamed with a nursing sports bra. Now watch me read this back post-birth and laugh at how I was so idealistic about having time to exercise once baby arrives. But a girl can dream!
Back in my second trimester I was sent a little package of workout gear from FittaMamma by AptaClub as part of their fitfor2 campaign (if you haven’t already, do read about it hear as it is both shocking but really encouraging as well) which included a couple of pieces from this maternity fitness range. The leggings are awesome but a little long, but the top is all round fab, I would definitely recommend it as a brand for fellow pregnant ladies.
I am eternally jealous of the awesome mama fitness brands they seem to have in Australia, some of them do ship over to the UK but my worries about ordering the wrong size have kind of stopped me thus far, but I do think there is a MAJOR gap in the market for an awesome UK maternity and nursing sports bra company.
I haven’t really nailed the underwear part of pregnancy. I live in my Victoria’s Secret low rise thongs which I wore before pregnancy. They are awesome, mainly because they don’t remind me every day that my arse is growing in the same way normal pants would, the waistband sits so comfortably under my bump.
I am dreading the day I have had the baby and have to wear big pants to accommodate my maternity pads. Ladies who haven’t had babies/are blissfully unaware of why new mums need maternity pads, google it, because not enough people talk about it.
I also bought an Emma Jane maternity bra from ASOS which has been a massive help and will also work after baby is here, plus I have lived in unstructured yoga bras from Primark.
Primark midi tube skirts are my saviour. For those summer days when you need to look smart-ish, you can pop a flowy blouse over the top. For those casual occasions you can wear a vest top (who am I kidding, I also wear this combo to work), or if it’s chillier a vest top and baggy jumper. The best part is that because they’re tight to your legs they keep some semblance of shape even if you wear a baggier top half, plus they are cheap as chips.
I’m also hopeful that once baby is here, if I’m breastfeeding I will be able to wear these with nursing vests and jumpers or cardigans to make my boobs easy access and not have to worry too much about what’s on my bottom half.
I just sized up in Primark, the size 14 has seen me through from around 20 weeks to the end of my pregnancy.
I can’t recommend some long cardigans enough. I got a waterfall type one and a long pale pink one, both from Primark, and they have worked amazingly well over dresses and skirt/top combos. Again I just sized up, I haven’t bought any maternity cardigans and I imagine I will wear them afterwards as well, or re-buy in a smaller size as I need.
Mamalicious maxi dress
I can’t recommend a cotton jersey maxi dress highly enough for anyone pregnant in the summer months. Sometimes I want something slightly more fitted as it seems to magically make me look less whale-like than baggier things do. Just throw on a cardigan over the top and you’re set.
I got this Mamalicious one in plain navy rather than stripe, which is organic cotton and I have absolutely loved it. I wish I had also got this midi version as well but it was sold out for ages and when it came back in stock I wasn’t convinced it was worth it for the weeks I had left.
Topshop maternity leggings have been a great addition to my wardrobe. I personally prefer the over bump ones, which I 100% did not think I would, but in honesty I just can’t be bothered with the under bump style falling down constantly. I went for a size 12 rather than the 10 I would usually go for in leggings, mainly because I wanted extra space for my bump to grow into.
Their leggings work under dresses on cooler summer days, they make the hemlines of my non-maternity dresses slightly more socially acceptable when they ride up a bit because of bump, and I have also become one of those people who just wears leggings with a long top. Yep, everything I used to hate, it’s just so easy and practical.
I also snapped up a couple of Topshop maternity dresses from Ebay, including the one I am wearing in my 27 week bump shoot, and have loved them throughout my pregnancy.
I know Hush can be pricey, but I have lived in my navy blue Cassie dress, which I have in a size small, and it has worked through my whole pregnancy. Literally, from the first trimester bloat all the way through to right at the end with some leggings, this dress has been a joy to wear.
The Asos bardot dress of dreams
This dress is under £30, comes in tons of different colours and prints, and works for so many different occasions. I love it. Recommended by Lisa from Rock My Style, I will be telling all my pregnant friends about it until the day they discontinue it.
Other bardot dresses
I realised at the beginning of my third trimester that bardot dresses are the one for a pregnant person. Not only do they work with a growing bump, but apparently they are also good if you breastfeed after as well. Plus in the summer days (remember them?!) and the few weeks of heatwave we had, wearing cotton flowy things was the only way forward. I have one from Matalan, a beautiful pale pink one from Hush, and a maternity denim one from New Look. All of them I have worn tons of times and can throw on without a second thought, which is amazing for a pregnant woman.
New Look maternity
When I was around 34 weeks pregnant I attended a black tie awards ceremony in London, and I had completely forgotten that I needed something to wear. I ordered this lace bardot dress from New Look and it worked so well and got so many compliments.
In general their maternity wear is awesome, it’s really reasonably priced but good quality, so you don’t feel like you’re breaking the bank yet the things I have bought from there are definitely some of my most worn items. I’m toying with the idea of buying a nursing tank dress for afterwards but kind of feel like my days of wearing tight cotton items are probably numbered, pretty soon it won’t be about showing the bump off but instead will be about trying to camouflage my mum tum.
I am so glad I am pregnant in the summer, I have been very lucky in the final few weeks that we haven’t had crazy hot weather, and it means it’s socially acceptable to wear sandals and flip flops all of the time. I even wear them in the rain! My feet aren’t mega swollen but they are just a little bit, and normal shoes fit but aren’t super comfy other than trainers which are not my idea of appropriate footwear. I have lived in my Saltwaters for months now and they are still almost pristine, even after the battering they took on our Australia trip last year as well.
That’s it I think! Sorry if this is super basic and not helpful, but I thought it was worth writing down so that any other mamas to be who are struggling with what on earth to wear might find even a little grain of inspiration. The main thing to remember is that your ever-changing body is for the greatest reason ever, and you have the rest of your life to reclaim it and make it your own again, but for now just embrace the changes and enjoy a few shopping sprees.