IT is the only time in your life when body size in completely out of your own hands so do you have to swap style for comfort when you are pregnant?
Just weeks ago you were a size 10 and all of a sudden you feel like a very tired size 110.
Family Matters challenged one mum-to-be to test out some of the latest maternity fashions and give her verdict.
Grace Dunford-Mcnair has had a busy year – she’s got married, bought her first house, finished off her degree and is expecting her first baby with husband James.
She’s done all this while working full time as a mental health nurse but is well aware that when it comes to being busy, the arrival of her child will take it to a whole new scale.
All mums-to-be want to look good but it usually means making time to hunt out a whole new wardrobe when all your tried and trusted brands suddenly don’t fit.
You still need to look smart for work and classy for nights out but sometimes just finding an outfit to slip over your bump as you relax on the sofa is a challenge.
There is little choice but to look for alternatives, knowing they’ll be completely redundant in a few months and you can’t afford to be too extravagant at a time when demands on your money are about to soar.
And one thing all decent maternity outfits must do is grow with you – it is no good finding something that fits at 20 weeks only to realise it is no good at 32 weeks.
In fact it is probably the only time in a woman’s life when she’d buy something to grow into, as opposed to the alternative challenge of picking jeans that are too small and planning for a drastic diet.
“I was completely oblivious to maternity wear until my bump started to show but it soon became something I had to start thinking about,” said Grace.
“And you can’t just get things to wear for work, nothing fits any more whether its pyjamas, underwear or dresses.”
There isn’t a massive choice of maternity wear in Sheffield city centre but the options open up at Meadowhall and online.
And there are lots of clever ways to get around age-old problems if you know where to look.
Mothercare isn’t where most 25-year-olds would start the hunt for a new outfit but that’s where Grace headed.
And as with most mums-to-be she was initially sceptical that she would find anything she really liked.
Fortunately Grace needn’t have worried and after trying on her first pair of Mothercare jeans declared: “These are exactly the style I would normally buy – even it I wasn’t pregnant.”
She struck gold with the store’s Blooming Marvellous range and picked out two dresses that were smart yet comfy and looked good.
Both cost £45 and the stripy knot detail dress had detail which made Grace’s baby bump look so good it could have been a fashion accessory.
The black belted jersey dress was also very flattering – easy to wear any day yet with a skinny belt that made it right on trend.
When it comes to trousers the major dilemma was whether to go for low-cut ones that sit under your bump, or styles with stretchy ‘waist-lines’ that pull up over the stomach.
But Grace found a very cheap solution in the shape of the £13.99 Carriwell flexi belt which could save any pregnant woman a fortune.
It is a simple yet genius solution which allows you to keep zips or buttons undone yet stops the trousers falling down.
The small piece of material comes in three colours and buttons in at the top of your zip, meaning you can still wear your normal jeans or trousers – but we’d definitely recommend wearing a long top.
It is available from the NCT Shop, Boots.com or www.bumpsmaternity.com and a clever boost to any maternity wardrobe.
Fashion solutions for mum when the baby is born
AS you start to fit back into your normal clothes, breastfeeding brings up a whole new dressing problem.
New mums have to get ready to go out with little time and a good chance of dribble or sick spoiling their look.
And then there’s the added problem of accessing areas which are usually kept safely under wraps.
Fortunately nursing tops have come a long way in recent years and allow babies to feed with hardly anybody realising what they’re doing.
The best ones look so good it is impossible to tell they are anything other than stylish tops and you can feed the baby without exposing much flesh.
Here are a couple of our favourites:
Kaj breastfeeding top
This is one from a range of Carriwell nursing tops specifically designed for discreet and comfortable one-handed nursing. It has wrap access so all you have to do is part the crossover – simple.
Price: From £24.99
Stockists: www.more4mums.co.uk, www.everydaymaternity.com
Maternity black and grey marl stripe nursing top (left).
This Mothercare top looks so stylish a couple of people asked where they could buy it, completely unaware of its main purpose. It is very easy to wear and use both when feeding and pregnant.
Available from: www.mothercare.co.uk