One of the hardest things about being pregnant has been trying to retain a feeling of being fashionable. So many maternity styles are either standard (i.e. stripes or tunic tops,) or not my style at all (empire line swingy or full dresses,) that it’s hard not to feel that you have lost all of your personal style. I was pretty excited to find these trousers and snapped them up for my birthday dinner, to make up a spring-appropriate pale and interesting outfit.
I know a lot of people don’t want to splash out on maternity clothes but I think it’s worth it. You wear the items you buy in much heavier rotation when pregnant as there’s nothing else you can wear. Plus I want to enjoy this amazing period of my life rather than feeling rubbish about myself because I don’t feel good. It’s worth thinking ahead too, I’ll be wearing these for a few months after baby arrives I imagine, with their comfy elastic waistband and a few months of summer yet to go.
One of the things that has taken me most by surprise during pregnancy has been the way I have changed shape. Right from the off I looked pregnant and when I broke the news to my colleagues at 11 weeks, nearly all of them said that they had already guessed. This sounds unbelievable and it certainly wasn’t ‘baby’, but bloat, as my digestive system was well and truly out of sorts for those first 10-12 weeks. Because I’m relatively slim (although I was heavier than I like to be at the time of finding out I was pregnant,) I expected to develop quite a neat, low down bump and that completely influenced my expectations of what I would be wearing. I imagined that I would keep wearing many of the dresses that I favour in a loose shift style from the likes of Whistles and Warehouse and that many tops and jumpers would still fit. I even thought I might be able to wear the waist accentuating styles that always tend to sit a bit high on me anyway as the bump would come from below. (I can hear those of you who have been pregnant chortling now!)
The reality has been totally different, as rather than developing that ‘low down’ bump I imagined, my whole tummy has come out at once, right from the top. I’ve always suffered from bloating and I suppose as my pelvis has become otherwise occupied my bowels have been pushed up. That has actually changed again in the last week or two as it’s coming out slightly more at the bottom now but either way I am W-I-D-E from the side! The other thing that took me by surprise was my boobs. They ballooned before I even knew I was pregnant and just kept going. Pre-pregnancy I was a 32C-D but I’ve gone up at least two cup sizes and my back size has gone up one too. As a result those cute shift styles look like more of a tent. All in all, quite a change and that’s why I wanted to share these pictures that show my body changing too. I can’t quite believe how slim I look in this first photo and how huge by comparison now!
I know lots of people can’t stand the idea of weighing themselves when pregnant, but it kind of fascinated me. I’m not fixated by numbers on the scales anyway and knew my shape was about to change so didn’t really fear it. Healthy weight gain ranges from 25 – 35lbs (1st 11 – 2st 7lbs) in pregnancy so I accepted that it was going to happen. I did worry in the first 12 weeks because I ate for England, partly to abate any mild nausea I got and partly because I was just hungry like I have never been before! When you receive those helpful weekly updates telling you ‘your baby weighs 40grams’ and/or is the size of a blueberry, you kind of know you shouldn’t be gaining weight at that stage! In the end I put about 4lbs on in the first trimester (although with the bloating it felt like much more,) and now at almost 24 weeks I’ve gained 11 lbs, so the rest of my body hasn’t changed a lot, bearing in mind that I was heavier when I got pregnant than I like to be. I really should have been more careful I guess, for health reasons more than anything, but I’m happy with the gain so far and if I had ballooned I would have tried to moderate my eating habits or make them healthier.
Getting back to the clothes side of things however, I thought I would review the things I bought in early pregnancy and how I have changed dressing for my new and slightly different shape. 😉
Work has been the biggest problem as I wear a pair of Whistles navy ankle length tailored trousers day in day out. They fitted up to about 14 weeks then just got plain uncomfortable and I found jersey skirts to be a godsend. I purchased one from Dorothy Perkins and a maternity style from ASOS but to be honest the normal one is more than adequate as it’s a good length and just pulls up over the bump.
The next purchase was my maternity jeans from H&M which have been a total godsend. Because I’m pregnant at this time of year I chose a dark distressed wash that I could dress up or down with a view to buying a second, perhaps coloured pair later in the year (which I’m looking for now,) that are more appropriate for summer.
Totally not fashion related but I bought this water bottle from Primark as I was so thirsty initially and of course it’s always good to drink more water. A Bargain £1.50 in their fitness section.
At 18 weeks I went on a hen do and needed something for the evening. I wasn’t yet looking totally convincingly pregnant, although it was clear if you knew me, so I opted for a looser style with this ASOS dress in a size up (12)
I have continued to wear several loose blouse styles with my tube skirt as they look fine but v-necks are a bit more risqué due to my enhanced bust so these H&M Vests are essential for modesty in the workplace!
My biggest problem during those few awkward weeks before my bump really popped out convincingly was that my boobs were so big that the looser styles I favoured made me look like a house. As soon as I could get away with it, I switched to bodycon styles which made me look more obviously pregnant but also made me feel less enormous in general. I bought this Topshop maternity dress for evenings (quite short!) and another striped one which you can see me wearing here.
I also bought this Joules dress very early on as it concealed my expanding waist (or so I thought) at work before I was ready to share the news.
I hope you guys have found this interesting reading. Pregnancy is the most amazing thing our bodies can do, but despite my admiration for my own body and it’s capabilities, I still don’t recognise it sometimes. As relaxed as I am about changing shape it has been a big adjustment and dressing my new shape has been hard so I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on what I have shared, your experiences and tips of dressing for pregnancy style in the first 4 months.