Maternity Style: How to dress a pregnant bump

It’s no secret that during pregnancy a woman goes through a lot of changes mentally and physically – it’s both a scary and exciting time. Whilst I was looking ahead to the challenge of motherhood I was really worried about somehow losing myself and my identity – I didn’t want to become ‘just a mum’.

So I decided that I wasn’t going to let that happen and I made it my mission to continue to dress how I wanted, even with a big baby bump. I wanted to be a cool mom, not like a regular mom (10 points if you know the Mean Girls reference) – I wanted to still wear nice skirts, cool colours and jazzy prints. But where could I buy things like this for a pregnant body?

Well, I don’t think pregnant bodies are really celebrated in the fashion world. Not as they should be – I feel like you’re expected to cover up and disappear into the background whilst you’re going through one of the toughest experiences for your body.

I loved my bump. I’ve been conscious of my stomach area for a few years, so having a solid, round and obvious pregnancy bump rather than a flabby bit of skin was a welcome change for me. However as bump and my ‘new body’ confidence grew, my wardrobe options shrunk. My style is an important part of my creativity and how I express myself, so I found it really frustrating when I couldn’t find clothing that I related to which also fit my body. On the high street maternity wear is basically non-existent OR it seems that the basic options are some black leggings and a monochrome striped top. Now, I love a striped top as much as the next gal, but I don’t want to pay £20 to wear something I don’t totally love just because it’s got a maternity label sewn into it.

I started showing at week 18 and by week 20 most of my wardrobe was too tight around my belly. And so the challenge began – how do you dress a bump and still stay ‘you’?

For reference, I should add that I was pregnant October to July but didn’t have a bump until February so I didn’t have to dress for the super cold wintery months.


Midi dresses are a pregnant gals best friend. I basically lived in them because not only did they look nice (and made me feel like I was still making an effort even when I was super ‘over’ being pregnant) but they’re comfy and practical too (because let’s face it, there’s not much leg shaving is happening when there’s a giant bump in the way).

I loved showing my bump off in a mix of tight fitting/ clingy/ stretchy midi dresses and also floatier style midi dresses which I would also nip in at ‘the waist’ so that I didn’t have one continuous bump from my boobs! Ha! (See the blue check shirt dress below)

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💙 Check-ing out 💙 {AD – gifted) It’s my last day of freelancing for a while as my Maternity Leave starts tomorrow – eeeek!!!! 😱🎉💃🏻 On one hand, I’m terrified – I’ve loved the past 3 months manning social media at @westelmuk & @potterybarnkidsuk … what am I going to do now?! 😅⏳🤷🏻‍♀️ And to be 100% honest, I don’t really have a post baby plan… I’m keeping my options open for when & how I’m going to return to working depending on how we get on 😅💪🏼🎉 On the other hand, I’m excited – it means baby is almost here & I can finally get serious about finishing the nursery 🎨💪🏼✨ Dress gifted by @oliverbonas & sunglasses gifted by @boden_clothing …because having a bump doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal style 😜💙🙌🏼 📸 Thanks to @jackkingham – I’m training him up to be an Insta-Dad 😂

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❤️ Hot Mama Hell ❤️ {Gifted} Didn’t think I’d be one of *those* preggers women desperate for my baby to hurry the F up, but let me tell you… 30 degrees with a human inside you is not all that fun 😅🔥🙈 I know, it’s such a British thing to complain about the weather, rain or shine… but seriously, I’m not made for this level of heat! 😱💙☀️ At least I looked like a cool mom in this @oliverbonas floral clash print dress… a bit like a blue raspberry & cherry slushie? Ha 💃🏻🍭👌🏼 Consume all of the iced drinks & cold desserts that you can in solidarity for all the preggers women of the world, please – that’s an order! 🍦💪🏼😂 📸 by @jackkingham

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I loved this two-tone midi dress (with a slit too, oooh) from Oliver Bonas which enhanced my bump and created the illusion of a waist (which at 38 weeks is pretty non-existant).

Oliver Bonas was my go-to for lovely but practical non-maternity midi dresses and I found that their quite generous sizing / loose scandi-style fit worked perfectly to accommodate a bump. I didn’t need to size up so they still fit well on my arms and shoulders and it also means that I’m planning to wear them again sans-bump this summer.

I also found great midi dresses from Monki (again, generous sizing/ loose scandi-style fit) and ASOS (especially their Collusion studios range). I did quite a big ASOS maternity order and kept 3 of 7 dresses with a bit of help via Instagram story voting (that’s pretty good odds for me). It’s hard enough buying clothes online without having to factor in a bump – I’m sure you’ve all seen the behind the scenes of the ASOS maternity models who have fake bumps. Obviously nothing fits a real bump the same way that it does a plastic one!

Fake bump drama aside, ASOS have a good range of maternity specific/ friendly brands for lots of different occasions: I just checked and they currently have 2421 maternity items! Last year I tried a bright pink polka dot dress (that I’d seen on Sarah Akwisombe) that would’ve been amazing for a wedding and I was tempted to keep it but felt too dressy for my everyday bump life. Some cool maternity brands that I discovered via ASOS include: Tilbea London (if you love leopard print!), Blume Maternity, Mamalicious, Glamorous Bloom and Queen Bee.

Just don’t feel like you’re limited to the maternity range though because it’s often not great and pricey – you can make non-maternity dresses work for a bump too!

Satin Midi Skirts

I don’t usually get suckered into trends but last year I made an exception: hello, satin midi skirt. This is exactly the kind of thing that pre-pregnancy me would have avoided as it’s clingy in allllll the wrong places (belly and bum), but with a baby bump to show off it’s perfect!

The satin glides over your smooth bump (although might show off your belly button as it pops out) and thanks to the shine you look radiant from every angle (just in case you’re missing out on that pregnancy glow). The one I bought from Topshop has a delicate elasticated waist which allowed a bit of extra room for my bump and I actually sized down for a better fit as my usual size was a bit lumpy. That was a nice surprise!

It’s also a really versatile piece because you could wear it casually with a chunky jumper and trainers but still look amazing. I wore it with a stripey top and converse for my Baby Shower and felt fabulous – the only bad thing was that everyone had their greasy hands touching my bump all day so it got a bit marked, boo!

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✨ Oh baby ✨ Feeling so loved & lucky after yesterday’s baby shower/ celebration of our next chapter with the craziest bunch of people (our friends & family) 🙌🏼🎉😜 I wasn’t sure if I wanted a shower at first (they’re a bit American, aren’t they? 😅) but any excuse to eat cake, have a dance off & pose like a real life preggers emoji… for ref:🤰🏻…in front of that Insta-famous mural ( 🎨 painted by myself & @_ellamasters_ ) 😂🍰🎉 Although I’m pretty sure this skirt is ruined after so many hands rubbing my belly… RIP satin midi skirt! At least you had a good send off 💃🏻💚😅 📸 by @emmajanepalin (my official photographer, forever ❤️)

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I should add that midi skirts in general are also great for bumps if the satin look really isn’t your thing. Look out for an elasticated waist and it will last you throughout your pregnancy and beyond!


If you’re put off the idea of jumpsuits for pregnant ladies (I mean, it’s a lot of toilet trips!) then maybe dungarees are a good compromise (not to mention a good transitional piece as they’re very breastfeeding friendly)? I spent ages searching for the perfect maternity dungaree but as I’m quite short with big boobs I sadly I never found ‘the ones’, sob! I heard a lot of praise for the Matalan (non-maternity) denim dungarees and also Lucy & Yak for a quirky coloured pair. A little too late into my pregnancy I found Beyond Nine who make bump friendly dungarees which are also comfy for after birth too (hence the name – beyond the 9 months!). Alas, it wasn’t meant to be for me but it’s not too late for you!

Maternity Jeans

Prior to pregnancy I had a love/hate relationship with jeans: they go with everything and look cool but sometimes they’re really stiff, not very comfy and quite hard to find the perfect fit. I wasn’t initially sold on maternity jeans as I wanted to buy clothes that I could wear both during and after pregnancy but I found that New Look’s Maternity range were affordable, stylish and comfortable.

Once my bump started to show, I tried on both ‘under the bump’ and ‘over the bump’ options and decided that over the bump was the one for me. Even though in the early stages I felt a bit silly wearing them because the stretchy waist band was loose – that quickly changed. Having the material hugging my bump made it feel secure (even when it was warm in the summer months) and I didn’t have to worry about my bump poking out from underneath my t-shirts (because don’t forget, your t-shirts will be riding up now).

Plisse trousers

If you’re not keen on the sound of maternity jeans but still want the practicality of trousers then maybe some plisse trousers would be good for you. Similar to the satin midi skirt, they’re a shiny material so flattering on a bump and can be versatile dressed up or down. But most importantly due to the pleated, stretchy fabric they are SO comfy and will happily grow with your bump (although with them being a bit tighter you have to watch out for wedgies – I learnt that the hard way after seeing a photo of myself from behind!).

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💖 Who run the world…? 💖 Don’t look down, they said 😅 I know, how poetic of me posting some pink stairs to talk about how far girl power has come on International Women’s Day… 😜✌🏼💖 But reflection is really important – it helps us to learn, adapt and grow 🙌🏼 Every step we take is another lesson and another reason to succeed! I feel so lucky to be surrounded by amazing, ambitious, hilarious and talented women who spur me on and inspire me to continue onwards & upwards 🙌🏼💃🏻💖 So even when you’re exhausted & out of breath, keep climbing those stairs ladies – not that you need #internationalwomensday as an excuse 💪🏼😜🎉

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Whilst pregnant I wore them pulled up fully over my bump which made them more of a culotte length but these are still a staple in my wardrobe post-pregnancy at full length. I love them so much that I wore a hole in the crotch and had to stitch it back up, oops! I’m pretty sure Jack would set fire to them if he could as I basically lived in them in the first few weeks post-birth.

I bought plisse trousers in my regular size from Primark, Pull and Bear and New Look.


I know I moaned about the basic maternity option being leggings and a striped top, but admittedly I do love a striped top! ha And I did wear a lot of striped tops throughout my pregnancy… but hear me out.

I didn’t buy any of the boring and expensive maternity range striped tops with that bump ‘extension’ – I just wore regular t-shirts and adapted them to my bump. If you’re wearing a skirt or jeans over your bump then your regular tops will probably be long enough until the final weeks. From week 36 I did notice my bump peeking out from the bottom of my tops, but most of the time I rolled them up a bit and tied them in a knot behind my back (secured with a hair bobble).

I’m definitely not against a striped top – they’re super easy to just throw on when you’re feeling tired and big. Plus the stripes create an optical illusion/ help to highlight your bump so there’s no mistaking that your bump is a baby, not just bloating! ha I found the best colourful striped tops in Oliver Bonas, Marks & Spencer & Monki.


When it comes to shoes as a pregnant woman comfort is key – your growing bump will not only be heavy, but it changes your balance on stairs too. You’ll realise that even the shortest of walks can bring on back ache and you might find your feet get swollen from carrying the extra weight. Did you know that your feet get wider during pregnancy to help support your baby? Our bodies are so clever!

I was waddling around London for most of my pregnancy and so trainers were the best option. You can’t go wrong with a classic white trainer but add a rainbow stripe twist and they’re even better – thanks Boden. Mainly I lived in Converse though – I had 3 pairs that I rotated to mix and match with my outfits: white hi-tops, pink hi-tops and silver lo-tops. In the last few weeks I opted for slip on shoes over trainers though as you’ll find that trying to tie shoelaces with a big bump does become quite a challenge!

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👶 New kicks on the block 👶 Once upon a time there was a Converse loving Mama, Dada… and BABY 😱🥰🎉 This time last week I headed into hospital to be induced – 10 months of cooking, 1 giant bump, 4 tedious days waiting for contractions & 26 hours of intense hormone filled labour… and 8lbs 10oz of Baby Boy finally joined us in the outside world on Thursday 18th July 🎉🍼💙 @jackkingham & I are SO 😍 IN 😍 LOVE with our chubby little troublemaker – apparently too comfy to voluntarily exit my belly! That’s a story for another time… 🙈😅🤷🏻‍♀️ But he’s here now and, although we’re still in hospital for a bit, he’s the best thing since sliced bread! 🍞🙌🏼👶 Thanks for all of the love, support and well wishes – you guys have been so invested in our journey! 🙌🏼😜❤️ I can’t wait to properly introduce him soon so that you can fall in love too – don’t say I didn’t warn you! 🥰💙🥰

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Putting this post together has made me realise that I didn’t actually take as many photos of my bump as I thought and I regret that. Looking back, I wish I’d done weekly or monthly bump photos but at the time I wasn’t in the right headspace – hindsight is a great thing, eh?

Anyway I hope I’ve given you some ideas and inspired you to continue dressing how you want during pregnancy. Remember that being a mum-to-be doesn’t make you any less ‘you’! Being pregnant is a crazy, magical and hard experience which is out of your control, but you still have control of your style so to ease the morning sickness and back pain, why not have fun with it?!

And if you’re thinking ‘ok, but what about AFTER the bump?’, don’t worry… I’m working on that post soon 🙂

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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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