Style: Baby bump beautiful
Comfort is the main thing where clothes are concerned when you're pregnant. As you get bigger, try to stay one step ahead - there's nothing worse than clothes that are too tight for you. You'll probably feel warmer than usual during pregnancy because your blood is circulating round your body at a faster rate. Your feet and legs may tend to swell, so choose your shoes and tights with extra care.
What clothes to wear during pregnancy?
You don't need to buy lots of expensive maternity clothes. Many high street shops now have excellent ranges at good prices. If you have a few specially bought basics, such as a pair of maternity jeans with an expandable front panel, a selection of properly fitted maternity bras, some maternity cotton or wool tights and leggings with expandable gussets, and one or two maternity dresses for special occasions, you can add a few inexpensive items, such as ethnic dresses, drawstring cotton trousers, and comfortable tops and jumpers - some of which you can wear after your pregnancy. Lots of pregnant women no longer want to wear tent-like clothes, preferring to show off their new shape.
Before you splash out on any special outfits, find out if any of your friends or neighbours have pregnancy clothes that you could borrow. In some areas you'll find shops that specialize in nearly-new maternity clothes, where you can buy clothes at bargain prices. It's best to avoid synthetic fabrics if you can - natural fabrics will be far more comfortable.
If you wear a uniform to work, let your employers know that you're pregnant in good time so they can provide you with new clothes when you need them or give you financial help to get a uniform for yourself. If you normally wear heels to work, change to flat shoes.
A good bra is essential when you're pregnant. Your breasts will get bigger, particularly during the first three months, and if you don't support them, they're likely to sag later. This is because the sling of fibrous tissue to which they are attached never gets its shape back once it's stretched. A well-fitting bra will help to prevent stretching in the first place. When you buy a bra, it's best to have it properly fitted. A large department store or a shop specializing in maternity clothes or lingerie will have trained staff to help fit one for you. Look for a bra that gives you good support with a deep band underneath the cups and wide shoulder straps that don't cut deep into your skin. Back-fastening bras may be better than front-fastening. Only buy a couple of bras to begin with as your breasts will continue to get bigger, and you'll have to get a larger size later in pregnancy. If your breasts become very big, it helps to wear a light bra in bed at night to give them extra support.
Just before your due date, buy two or three front-opening feeding bras so that you can breastfeed your baby easily. You can buy feeding bras at any maternity shop or department store.
There's a range of different types of maternity briefs available that provide light support for your tummy. You can also buy bump support belts which relieve your back of strain and help prevent backache.
Choose cotton socks that are loose fitting. Synthetic materials don't have any give and can cut really deeply into swollen feet. In addition, they don't let you sweat, so the skin becomes waterlogged and soft. It's best to avoid knee-high socks - they can form a restricting band around the top of your calf, and encourage varicose veins.
Tights and stockings
Even sheer maternity tights will give you a lot of support. You'll find lots of different types in plenty of colours in maternity shops and most department stores. If you have a tendency to suffer from thrush, you might prefer to wear stockings instead of tights. You'll probably find that support stockings, or ones containing a high percentage of lycra, are the most comfortable, although they don't give you as much support as maternity tights. Suspender belts that fit on your hips under your abdomen will be most comfortable, so find a belt that's big enough and shorten the straps if you need to.
What shoes to wear during pregnancy?
The bigger you get, the more unstable you become, so it's best to wear flat or low-heeled, comfortable, easy-fitting shoes.
Make sure they support your foot well, are roomy enough, and preferably have a nonslip sole for safety. Trainers are ideal - choose a pair with a Velcro fastening because later in your pregnancy you might find it hard to bend down to do up laces. You'll find there are plenty of smart, flat shoes in the shops that are versatile and hard-wearing. Your feet will swell during pregnancy, so choose a size bigger than normal. Best of all, go barefoot whenever you can.
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