The Changing shape of Pregnancy (Dressing for the first 4-5 months)

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. 😉

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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36 thoughts on “The Changing shape of Pregnancy (Dressing for the first 4-5 months)

  1. Really interesting Rebecca. I’m finding it really hard to find clothes now. Even my maternity jeans feel uncomfortable. Luckily as I work at home I’m mostly wearing trackside bottoms when I’m working!! I feel like I’ve suddenly got massive!! X x

  2. Hi Rebecca

    Lots of good ideas here as to what to wear when pregnant, obviously everyone looks different when expecting so it’s good to have a range of ideas if looking stylish is what you’re after.

    I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way but it feels a bit as if you’re saying size 12 dresses are enormous and a 34 back size is a ‘ballooning’ bust – remember a lot of people who are that size or bigger and aren’t pregnant will be reading this, and now wondering if that shift dress they bought does indeed make them look like a house.

    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t your intention and I appreciate you feel enormous, but that’s business as usual for many women who don’t feel they need to ‘dress to accommodate’.

    But – you look fantastic and that bump is soon to be an actual baby – I’m so thrilled for you!

    Anna x

    • Not at all, I said I have sized up when buying dresses and my boobs have ballooned relative to my usual size. If you saw the strapless bra I bought the other day (compared to my usual sizes) you’d understand my surprise. Of course I am aware some people are not a size ten but any one who gains a few cup or dress sizes may describe themselves (not others,) as ballooning.

      If anything it has given me a lot of insight into ladies with bigger busts who have commented in the past about not wearing particular Friday frocks for example… and how different dress styles are more flattering on different shapes. I’m certainly not comparing my five months pregnant body to the average size ‘whatever you want to insert here’!

      Actually the whole point of this post was that when I was thinking about pregnancy I was exposed to lots of gorgeous fashion and lifestyle bloggers who presented an edited (as usual) picture of how it is and remained petite and fashionably dressed throughout. I haven’t found it that easy and wanted to present a real representation.

  3. Love these posts and have found tips invaluable. Hoping that wave 3 of twitter babies due before Django (trying it out….Rob’s suggestion) will prove as helpful on tips.

    Clothing wise, I bought maternity clothes really early. I put almost two stone on after my operation in December and my weight hadn’t levelled before falling pregnant. Because of that, none of my fitted wedding season size 8 über tight work dresses could do up. I didn’t see the point in buying bigger clothes when they were only going to last for about a month anyway so went straight into maternity. I also, like you, was so blinking bloated that I couldn’t abide wearing anything that touched me. Between the bloating and the constant vomiting I needed to be COMFY.

    Once I’d announced it and the bloating dissipated I felt more comfortable going into tighter dresses. The one thing that didn’t go down were my boobs which shot up to a HH (you know that not many brands even do maternity bras that big….even at Bravissimo) and, as the midwife had said I shouldn’t be wearing underwires anymore, the new soft cup bras actually come up to my chin. Literally. I’d bought some V neck dresses and even a camisole for modesty wasn’t covering the cup. Tres tragic.

    The items I can’t live without and will hopefully see me through to summer is a Breton style dress from Red Herring maternity. It was only £22 but is much thicker than those at Jojo Maman Bebe (I investigated Breton like you did jeans I think), some ankle cropped trousers in navy and black from Gap and a faux wrap dress from Gap in Navy. I also tried on quite a bit in Seraphine but the woman in there was dead snotty so I left with nothing. The wrap tops from Jojo also seem like a good shout so I’m going to get more of them.

  4. Looking good Rebecca! Though this post has made me think I better get down the gym as I’m considerably more like your 23 week figure without the pregnancy…

  5. Very interesting to read that a healthy weight gain is only 25-35lbs. I remember about 30 weeks pregnant I had only gained 1.5 stone (and felt quite smug!) and then in the last 10 weeks managed to gain another 1.5 stone. (Unbeknown to me as I wasn’t actually weighing myself at the end!!) I only realised when they weighed me in labour!

    My back size also went up 2 sizes from a 34 to a 38 and I hated not being able to wear underwired bras so much so that i bought a two pack of comfy underwired ones from M&S. Not the most sexy but ah well! I know you shouldn’t wear underwired but I actually had no problems breastfeeding and they didnt dig in. When I was breastfeeding I had an underwired nursing bra (from Figleaves by Anita) which was a godsend. My back size has only just gone back to my regular size actually and Annie is nearly 8 months.

    I pretty much lived in some zara trousers and primark lightweight printed trousers with an elasticated waist that I would wear under the bump and Isabella Oliver T runched T shirts, cheapy jersey shirts from H&M and jersey maxi dresses.

    You look lovely Rebecca!

    Rachie xo
    Rachie xo

      • My thoughts too!
        When I last weighed myself at 24 weeks I’d gained about 14lbs and they say most weight gain is third trimester….. Suspect my total will be well over the 35lb mark but have decided I want a healthy baby and I’ll deal with the weight later so not worrying too much.

  6. Refreshing, honest post Rebecca! You look great. I’ve found dressing for pregnancy number 2 much easier than number 1 as I haven’t lost baby weight from the first time (ooops) so could fit into my usual looser dresses for longer! First time round was more of a challenge though as I was became pregnant straight after my wedding and went from being my slimmest and healthiest to totally ballooning due to the eating / nausea / hunger / bloating you mention. Both times I’ve found it possible to buy regular dresses from places like ASOS, H&M, Boden and Monsoon that are cut looser and team them with leggings or maternity tights, denim shirt as a jacket and a statement necklace. I find I get hot very easily (especially in the office where I can’t control the temperature) so can’t bear anything too tight (like jeans) and need layers that I can take off easily. I baulked at the idea of paying for a maternity coat and spent the winter in a cape / coat thing from Sainsbury’s in a bigger size. Now the weather is warmer I have dug out my maxi dresses from my last pregnancy (mix of H&M maternity and regular H&M). These were a godsend during my last pregnancy in the heat of the summer as they are loose and cool.

    My boobs totally overshadow (not quite literally) my bump too and have been the main dressing problem up to now. A new well fitted bra definitely helps. My toddler hasn’t really noticed my expanding tummy but even she keeps pointing out mummy’s big booboos!

    I’m certainly looking forward to putting away these clothes when the baby is here and I’ve now embarked on my next shopping challenge – a breastfeeding-friendly summer wardrobe!

  7. I too think that I was a bit naive in the earlier stages of pregnancy and thought that I would be able to get away with lots of tunic/shift styles that were already in my wardrobe. However, like you, they just made me look and feel as though I was wearing a tent and from about 20 weeks onwards I have spent much more time in tight fitting clothes that for the first time in my life are actually more flattering on me. I invested in a couple of ruched t shirt dresses from Isabella Oliver which have been a god send for work and live in my maternity jeans and oversized jumpers at the weekend. Hardly high fashion but it’s working well enough for now.

  8. You look great, and although you feel like you’ve ballooned you still look tiny in your photographs. I found the last month of my pregnancy was when I ballooned and put on a stone and a half in 4 weeks. It’s was all water though. You just wait…….. It’s great being a pregnant lady I lived it when I was huge as everybody treats you royalty! Enjoy.

  9. I love reading this, I wanted to be a midwife and it all just fascinates me. Plus I have been broody since aged 18 and can’t wait to have my own and see my own body change as a little baby grows! Having not had any yetbghoughni have nothing to add but just wanted to express my interest interest and enjoyment in reading 🙂

  10. Great post! I was in maternity trousers by week 7 as the bloating was just unbelievable, none of my fitted work trousers or skinny jeans felt remotely comfortable – I just couldn’t stand anything around my belly button. So I caved and bought bargainous work trews and jeans from Next, super flattering and fitted with a lovely hidden belly band. aaahhh the comfort!

    I’ve been teaming with some loose blouses but as the belly has started to emerge (15 weeks now eek!) they don’t look quite right at the moment, I just look like a general podge i think!! so I just caved and splurged on some multi buy tops from Isabella Oliver which are finally long enough and look great for work and beyond. Am hoping that they will stretch out and then back afterwards!! We shall see!

    Now I know what size works I am scouring ebay for bargains – its deinitely key to buy for your pre preggers size which i didn’t realise….hence one ebay tshirt from top shop is now only for sleeping in!

    My other best find by a MILE is the bravado non wired bras….they only come in S/M/L and have lots of expanding room and are also good for nurse reading….maybe not sexy but OMG the comfort!! I was in heaven as soon as I put it on, they are even good to exercise and sleep in so I’ve stocked up 🙂

  11. By the way my entire tummy has come out too! it’s weird! I have a slight dip around my bellybutton where my abs are holding a last failing stand….its an odd and surprising sight and i’m getting used to the absent of waist! You look fantastic though, can’t wait till i have a proper bump rather than the “too many pies” look i’m currently sporting 🙂

  12. Ahhh I feel your pain!! I’m 17 weeks now and the boob thing is causing me more hassle than the bump!! I’ve got some nice dresses which I thought I would be able to continue to wear, but I cant fit my bust into them! Currently living in topshop maternity jeans, and baggy t-shirts/jumpers. Hoping it becomes easier when there’s a definite bump there!! A lot of the maternity dresses I’ve tried look too big or have no shape.

  13. I’ve had three children and I was a different shape for all of them – number 1 went from 7 stone to 10.5! Number 2 – 7 stone to 8.5 and number 3 – 7 stone to 9.5….the tips I would give for clothes is buy a few bits you really like and wash well and make you feel ok about yourself – I really struggled with my changing shape… but otherwise you will be sick of the sight of the them. Remember your still be wearing it all for a while after as you lose the baby weight- but if you breast feed your boobs might get even bigger! So a few cheaper more disposable items will give you a lift at different points in the pregnancies. Also investing in maternity clothes thinking your wear them for subsequent pregnancies (if indeed that is a plan) you may not because a) you might be pregnant at a different time of the year hence big for summer first time round big for winter second and b) fashion changes- put it this way 11 years ago dungarees were really in …..!

    • This is so interesting Josie – thanks for the insight.

      I can see that buying a few cheaper things might be the way forward to give a bit of a cheer up along the way, as a new purchase otherwise normally would. I was initially going to splurge on a few key Isabella Oliver pieces and I have bought one dress for a wedding from there but otherwise I think I need variety more to keep me happy.

      PS Dungarees are so in this season! Looks like you’re all set!

  14. I’ve struggled so much with maternity clothes! I’m currently just short of 32 weeks and permanently in jeans and basic maternity tops with shirts open.
    I’ve been quite lucky (or unlucky depending which way you look at it) in that my bump is all out front and I’ve generally kept my shape but my problem is my height! I’m only 5ft and it’s like retailers haven’t realised that not just average height women carry babies. I would recommend New Look and Asos as they do trousers in different leg lengths, but that’s about it. Any dresses I’ve bought have gone straight back as they’re so long and I look like I’m wearing a sack. No idea what I’ll do if the weather turns warm, time to get creative me thinks! 8 weeks to go eek! xxx

  15. Hi Rebecca,

    Great post! I had to comment simply because of some of the other comments I have read about you saying things like “ballooning” etc etc.

    I think anyone that thinks you meant that kind of comment in an offensive way is being ridiculously over sensitive. At the end of the day, you are sharing YOUR experience of being pregnant and how YOU feel. You can try and relate to the rest of us as much as you want but it is still your experience and if those sizes feel big to you then so be it.

    Personally, I’m here to read about your experiences being pregnant which is exactly what this was. Oh and, as a size 18, I certainly wasn’t offended by anything you said.

    Keep posting about your pregnancy and how you feel and make it as “real” as you want!

    Ax

  16. I found Warehouse and Mango were great for stretchy, drapey jersey dresses for the first few months. Also, everyone always forgets Mothercare for maternity clothes but their range is surprisingly good. Definitely worth a look.

  17. Great post Rebecca, I am really enjoying reading your pregnancy journey and at 19 weeks I am not too far behind you.

    Personally, I am really struggling with buying maternity clothes. Maxi dresses just don’t work on me so summer clothes are going to be a struggle!

    Looking forward to hearing/seeing more.
    xx

  18. Rebecca, I agree that some of the comments on here are a little unfair. What people seem to be missing is that very few people change shape like we are in such a short space of time – it really does feel like you’re ballooning when you’re getting bigger and bigger and bigger every day. On top of this, the changes to body shape in pregnancy isn’t a normal change – my legs still look the same, as do my arms, and I think I look pretty much the same from behind as I used to (I was a size 10/12), but suddenly I have this lumpy front! Boobs! (They’re new and it’s true about maternity bras – the cups in mine are ridiculous!) and a tummy that doesn’t just look big (I’ve been there before), more like I’ve swallowed a long ball that is being inflated a bit more every day : ) I think that’s why dresses etc don’t look “right”. A pregnancy shape just isn’t a usual one! That’s why they’re cut differently to just bigger sized clothes. So, I think the comments you’ve received have misunderstood things a bit…

    Anyway – I would second the recommendation on her for the Jojo Maman Bebe wrap tops. I have four and am wearing them every day for work. They’re great because you just tie them differently to fit your growing bump. I’ve just realised that at nearly twenty weeks I’m going to need to start tying mine slightly differently soon, but I think (hope!) I’ll stay in them throughout the pregnancy.

  19. You’re looking great Rebecca. I think I started to show propperly at around 24–25 weeks, it was while were on holiday that I fouind my normal clothes no longer fitted me (alot of wasted packing!)
    Since then I live in a very baggy pair of harem trousers and a pair of maternity jeans. (and my PJs as I work from home) tops seem to be fine as I wear baggy clothes anyway. I am now 29 weeks and the bump is certainly there and pocking through everything, but i love it! I want to show him off more and more.
    I am hoping the wether changes soon as I have a whole ardrobe of maxi dresses that i think will be perfect for the final weeks of pregancy, i wore a lot on holiday and they were certainly the most comfortable option!
    Now I just need to figure out the right bra to wear! as everything is just so uncofortable!

  20. Try Bravissimo – they are great for smaller backs during maternity, and also feeding bras. They also understand how to size in order to take account of further growth! Good luck, you look great

  21. Thank you for this Rebecca. I am 17 weeks pregnant and finding work clothes a nightmare. I’m also not wanting to spend a fortune on new clothes, so it’s good to know there are things out there that will be good post-baby, whilst I’m trying to get back into shape. Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy! x

  22. I was just so hungry during pregnancy I couldn’t help putting on weight. Plus I suffered with SPD and suspected placenta praevia so that put an end to any attempts at exercise from about 20 weeks. I didn’t worry about it to be honest, I had a bump from quite early and I loved the fact that when you’re pregnant you are totally free from the desire to have a flat tummy! It’s totally different to when you feel ‘fat’ as your tummy is quite hard and solid. I convinced myself that I just had a bump but looking back I did put weight on all over really apart from my legs. It was quite spectacular to watch my tummy shrink back down in the days after the birth, and slowly more and more of my wardrobe was available again. I was still in maternity stuff for about a month after the birth, then in comfy stuff for a good while longer after that.

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