Some women want to shout to the world about their pregnancy as soon as they know they're expecting, but others may want to keep it secret or share the news only with close family and friends. Why conceal the baby bump instead of celebrating it? There are a few possible reasons.
First, let's talk about the risk of miscarriage, which is very common in the first trimester. Ten to 25 percent of pregnancies under 20 weeks will end in miscarriage, and the risk increases as a woman ages -- 20 to 35 percent for women between ages 35 and 45 and up to 50 percent for women older than 45 [source: American Pregnancy Association].
Women with a history of miscarriage or who are undergoing fertility treatments may also be shy about announcing their pregnancy because of anxiety or worry about loss.
Additionally, some women, especially if they've already had a baby, begin to look undeniably pregnant as early as their first trimester. Women who show early may want to wait until the second trimester to announce the pregnancy to friends, family and co-workers. And what about those co-workers? Announcing a pregnancy at work can cause stress, and some women try to wait as long as possible to avoid any undue office drama or tension with clients. No matter what the reason may be, until the right time comes, some women choose not to display the baby bump. Here we have five tips that may help camouflage a growing midsection, beginning with belly binding.
5: Slip into Something Less Comfortable (Body Shapers)
With the associated bloating, heartburn and nausea of pregnancy, the last thing you may want to do is try to wrangle your body into binding clothing. But if you're not ready to reveal your baby bump, they may help, depending how far along you are in your pregnancy and how you're carrying.
Popular brands such as Spanx and Motherhood Maternity offer body shaping products for pregnant women, cut to fit your changing body. These styles aim not only to keep any lumps and bumps (as well as visible panty lines) under wraps but also to help support your growing belly and lower back.
You can get even more mileage out of belly-binding body shapers post-delivery: The compression these tight wraps offer may help the uterus contract back to its normal size sooner while providing all the smoothing and support of a body shaper. At the very least, the tight wrap may just feel good on your overexerted muscles.
4: Wear Dark Colored Clothing, and Learn to Love Layers
One of the easiest ways to look slimmer, pregnant or not, is to dress head-to-toe in one color. Monochromatic outfits such as head-to-toe black (or any other hue) give you a tall, elongated look -- a silhouette that doesn't emphasize any specific section of your body.
Alternatively, if the head-to-toe single color look isn't your thing, try another subtle tactic -- divert eyes away from your mid-section with layers. Wearing a distracting blazer, jacket or long cardigan in a bright color or bold, vibrant pattern will give you a long look without emphasizing your waistline.
What not to do? Despite how comfortable those flowing, pleated tops and dresses may be, they even make women who aren't expecting look pregnant, so skip them if you're trying to conceal your bundle of joy.
3: Support the Girls
Some women find that their breasts announce their pregnancy before their belly does. During the first trimester, you may find the girls grow as much as a full cup size before your belly turns into a noticeable bump, and they just keep getting bigger through the second and third trimesters. Your body's preparing to feed your new baby. The blood flow to your breasts is increasing, the milk ducts are growing and extra fatty tissue is building up, all in preparation for breastfeeding.
While your hormones are in control of that free breast enhancement, you're the one in charge of supporting them as they grow. During pregnancy, look for bras that have wide shoulder straps, a deep, supportive band beneath the cups (instead of underwire styles, which may pinch tender breasts) and adjustable hooks in the back to accommodate your ever-changing breast size.
Wearing the right bra for your breast size is important for good breast health and will keep them lifted and supported throughout your pregnancy. Wearing the right bra can also improve your posture and reduce back pain -- and when breasts are in the proper place, it can also help make you look leaner, which is great if you're trying to take the emphasis off the baby bump.
2: Size Up
When you're trying to hide your baby bump, figure-skimming clothes will hide more secrets than tight, curve-defining outfits. Some women raid their partner's closet for loose-fitting shirts while others hit the maternity store circuit for adjustable waist jeans as soon as they have a positive pregnancy test in hand. The best solution if you're not ready to dive into bump-emphasizing maternity wear? Wear non-maternity outfits, but size up to accommodate your growing breasts and belly. For example, a non-maternity sheath dress cut with asymmetrical lines will give the illusion of a streamlined figure, and if you size up it will fit your chest, belly and hips without calling attention to any specific bumps. Don't go too big, though -- baggy, ill-fitting clothing will just make you look big.
1: Turn the Focus Away from Your Belly
Take the focus away from a baby bump by accentuating other parts of your body, such as your legs, face or cleavage.
Let's start from the bottom up. During pregnancy, a woman's feet may grow up to about a half a size from fluid retention and pressure from pregnancy weight, and they'll likely stay that size even after delivery. With a new pair of shoes in order, take the opportunity to distract eyes from your mid-section with a pair of sexy shoes. Choose a pair with low heels or opt for flats, and consider slip-on styles so you can still wear them when you're too big to bend over to tie your shoes.
Alternatively, bring the focus to your face. Wearing interesting earrings or shirts with detailed necklines will draw attention up and away from your bump, and accessorizing with long necklaces and scarves will give you a long silhouette.
Lots More Information
More Great Links
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy Wellness
- Planned Parenthood: Pregnancy Week by Week
- What to Expect
- American Pregnancy Association. "Miscarriage." 2007. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/miscarriage.html
- American Pregnancy Association. "What changes can I expect?" 2007. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/breastchanges.htm
- BabyCenter. "Secrets of maternity dressing." 2011. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.babycenter.com/0_secrets-of-maternity-dressing_186.bc?page=3#articlesection10
- Family Education. "Postpartum: Starting to Exercise Again." (Sept. 9, 2011) http://pregnancy.familyeducation.com/recovery/postpartum-exercise/40211.html
- Goldman, Leslie. "Conceal Your Baby Bump with Shapewear!" iVillage. 2010. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.ivillage.com/conceal-your-baby-bump-shapewear/4-a-192428
- Kerns, Michelle. "10 Fashion Tips for Pregnant Women." ModernMom. 2009. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.modernmom.com/article/10-fashion-tips-for-pregnant-women
- Kovalchik, Kara. "Mom's the word: When sitcom stars start expecting." 2007. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/9647
- March of Dimes. "Your pregnant body." 2009. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.marchofdimes.com/yourbody_breastchanges.html
- Rajapaksa, Roshini. "Why Did My Feet Grow During Pregnancy?" Health.com. 2011. (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20516873,00.html
- Spanx. "Maternity." (Sept. 9, 2011) http://www.spanx.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=3026777&cp=3026742