Buying a new wardrobe is every woman's dream, but finding the right balance of comfort and chic when watching your waist and breasts expand during pregnancy can be tricky. This article also appears on www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/having_a_baby
Even before you get a proper 'bump' you may find your waist thickens a bit from the first couple of months of pregnancy, meaning you might find it hard to fit into your closest-fitting clothes.
For a while you can probably adapt a lot of your clothes " leaving the top button undone on trousers might be enough, and you can hide the gap with a longer top. Or show the off the gap, with trousers worn under your bump if you're feeling brave.
Lots of today's 'maternity' clothes can be worn after pregnancy, and some styles of normal clothes can be fine during pregnancy, too. You could borrow some bigger size items from family or friends for your own temporary use.
You won't know for certain what size you will be " previous pregnancies (if you have had them) may only be a rough guide, and some women get a lot bigger in just the last month or so. This makes it hard to buy in advance of actual need " even so, you will almost certainly start needing something more roomy from about six months. Remember the clothes with the most 'space' in them will give you the most wear.
"I wore a t-shirt and bikini bottoms when I went swimming in the last few weeks " my swimming costume wouldn't stretch any more, and I didn't really want to shell out for a special maternity one."
Hiring a designer maternity outfit can be the answer to one-off needs to wear something smart or glamorous. Look in the small ads at the back of pregnancy magazines for agencies, search the web or check your local telephone directory. Expect to pay about 30 to 50 " maybe more for something really special.
High Street maternity sections have a widening range of maternity wear that is more 'business-like' as well as practical. You could also try specialist upmarket shops which sell formal business wear in maternity sizes.
A good style for work can be a long jersey tunic over a matching long skirt " easy to wear, not too restrictive, and fine in informal and formal offices.
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