Maternity Clothes in Pregnancy
Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
During pregnancy, it is not only the abdomen which enlarges, but there is an an overall increase in the size of the body due to fat deposition. At this time, maternity clothes become necessary to remain cool and comfortable. Since the degree of weight increase and abdominal enlargement differs in the three trimesters, the types of clothes necessary also vary at different times in pregnancy.
Maternity Clothes for the 1st Trimester
In the first three months of the 1st Trimester, the uterus remains a pelvic organ. This means that the uterus is below the bony rim of the pelvis and can barely be felt through the abdominal wall. So regular clothes can be worn at this time, especially in the first two months.
In the third month, there may be some fat deposition in the lower abdomen. This can make it difficult to wear pants and skirts with a tight waist band. Leaving the top button undone and wearing a belt to hold up the pants can often help. An elastic looped through the button hole of the waist band of the pants can help to extend the band to some extent. An untucked top will help to cover the undone button.
Wearing drawstring pants and skirts or those with elastic waist bands are also helpful.
Maternity Clothes for the 2nd Trimester
In the early second trimester, the pregnancy bump is not that obvious. Most women just look like they have put on some weight. But as the pregnancy progresses, the pregnancy bump becomes more and more obvious. This is the stage when most women need to start wearing maternity clothes and may need to change their clothes size more than once.
As the 2nd trimester progresses, the size of the uterus increases slowly so that by the 26th week, it is just above the umbilicus (belly button). The pregnancy bump becomes obvious. Fat deposition occurs all over the body. The breasts enlarge dramatically. The feet can enlarge by about 1 - 1.5 sizes.
Drawstring pants and skirts or those with elastic waistbands will still help at this stage. Nonbinding stretchy clothes in jersey,knit and viscose are particularly helpful. Cotton will help the body to remain cool.
Loose shirts and tops, jackets and tunic tops will help to conceal the bump to some extent.
This is also the stage when comfortable shoes need to be considered. The feet expand 1 - 1.5 times in size. Also, as the abdomen enlarges, the center of gravity of the body shifts forwards and comfortable shoes are needed to help maintain the balance of the body. Shoes not more than 1 inch in height is ideal -completely flat shoes can be uncomfortable. Slip ons, rather than shoes with buckles or laces are more comfortabe since it will not be necessary to bend over to put them on.
Maternity Clothes for the 3rd Trimester
The third trimester is the time when the pregnancy is really prominent. The larger and increasing size of the uterus makes the pregnant woman bend slightly backwards to maintain her balance. This increases the curvature (lordosis) of the back. Backache due to strain on the ligaments and muscles are common.
At this stage, loose cotton clothes can be comfortable and also allows for the expanding abdomen. Clothes should not be too tight. The dress material should be of a soft smooth texture with a bit of stretch. Bulky knits can be uncomfortable.
Wrap style tops are particularly helpful - the V-neck helps to draw the eye to the neck and shoulders rather than the abdomen and the wrap can be adjusted to accomodate the abdomen.
For pants, leggings and elasticized maternity trousers are perfect for comfortable wear. Maternity trousers usually have panels which can be adjusted as the pregnancy advances.
A wellfitting bra is particularly necessary. The bra size can increase by about 2 sizes by the end of pregnancy. The chestwall also expands, although not as much. So it is better to buy a bra which fits the breasts and then use chest expanders to adjust to the chest size.
Since there may be considerable swelling of the ankles at this stage, wearing shoes with Velcro straps are ideal - these can be easily loosened and adjusted as necessary.
Clothing plays a very important part in how people look and feel about themselves. But, in a normal pregnancy, it is wiser to give priority to comfort rather than looks. Clothes which feel comfortable but which also looks nice gives a feeling of wellbeing throughout the pregnancy.
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