Pre Natal Yoga written by Tim Moore, Chief Editor of www.Daactive.com

This topic is very close to my heart because I personally struggled to find maternity clothes suitable for work.

With my first baby, I was pregnant throughout winter and working full time in a corporate environment. I recall standing in my bedroom day after day, staring into my wardrobe wondering what on earth I was going to wear to work. I tried to plan my outfits a week ahead but because my body was changing so rapidly (and I showed very early on) this became an impossible task because something that would fit me one week, wouldn’t fit me the next.

I decided to group my clothes into categories within my closet space – 1) items that were definitely OK to wear, 2) items that could potentially be worn and 3) “no go zone” area – items that were definitely not going to cut it.

I needed to look the part for the role I was in but obviously at the same time I needed to be comfortable. Belts soon became an accessory of the past, as did my regular pantihose – they felt too uncomfortable on my tummy and magnified my morning sickness nausea. It wasn’t long before my usual sky high heels were swapped for dressy ballet flats too!

Being pregnant during winter definitely had it’s perks, but it wasn’t without it’s challenges. On weekends I could snuggle up in my trackies or leggings and long oversized tunics. If I was going out, I would wear a nice pinnafore with a long sleeve tee and boots and dress it up at night with jewellery. But for work – this was a major challenge, even for someone with an interest in fashion.

At this stage, I hadn’t even contemplated that maternity wear might be available on line. It totally hadn’t crossed my mind to check. I was also blissfully unaware that pregnancy magazines existed and must have missed out on a myriad of totally cool maternity wear by not being savvy in these areas.

So, I plodded along throughout most my 40 weeks feeling completely without style and choice for my maternity working wardrobe. At this point I might add that I was aware of chain store maternity collections but I struggled to find anything suitable in my size (I remained a size 8 during my pregnancy and most of them offer from size 10).

I managed to find a fantastic chocolate-coloured jersey dress in a boutique that could have easily passed as being maternity specific, and I wore it so much that co-workers started to comment on the fact that I was wearing it “all the time”. This just made me more anxious of course (but I still continued to wear it frequently).

As my feet swelled, and I started to waddle, my shoes stretched and they became too big. I’d end up having to buy multiple pairs and take them to work with me – a pair that could be worn in the morning and fit snug and then a pair that had to be worn later in the day once my feet had expanded and then they fit snug too.

I was so pleased when I happened to stumble across a pair of stretch, fold waist maternity pants in a small boutique in our local shopping Mall. They became my lifesaver and I wore them regularly with different tops. They were a straight leg cut, plain black with a really high waist that I could wear up on my tummy for warmth and support but could also fold down under my tummy depending on what top I was wearing or what I needed from a comfort perspective.

In hindsight, I wish I had planned my maternity working wardrobe better. I think going to work wouldn’t have felt so much like a chore if I was comfortable about how I looked and what I was wearing. I lacked confidence about my appearance, and my choices were unflattering. Because I didn’t invest in good quality basics at the start, I wasn’t able to wear the same clothes post pregnancy because they were faded, out of shape and stretched – except my black pants of course, I was able to wear them during my 2nd, summer pregnancy and can still wear them now.

So, what did I personally learn from my maternity work wear experience:

  1. To invest in a pair (or two if pregnant during winter) of basic, stretch black maternity fold waist pants.
  2. Swap your heels for flats very early on. Your feet, legs and back will thank you for it!
  3. A crisp white shirt with a collar is a need, not a want.
  4. Wrap and tube dresses are brilliant, if you find one you love get two – you will definitely wear them after pregnancy.
  5. Maternity skirts with fold waists will be your BFF – no zips, no belly belts required, great length and flattering for all body shapes.
  6. A good pair of maternity pantihose are essential – they’re made with high waists so sit up firmly on your bump.
  7. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise – scarfs, jewellery, bangles, belts (if they don’t make your morning sickness worse!) but in the words of style icon Coco Chanel “remember to take one thing off before you walk out the door” to ensure you’re not going OTT.

Incidentally, my 2nd pregnancy was during summer and I was only working part-time. From the beginning I made sure I had an extra pair of work pants, a white shirt, a pencil skirt, some maternity specific tops and LOTS of accessories! I was then able to mix and match everything so I always felt comfortable choosing what to wear to work in the morning and felt comfortable and stylish while I was at work. I decided to wear my flats as soon as I found out I was pregnant and if I had an important meeting or needed to be a little dressier, I chose a shoe with a wedge, not the stiletto!