When it comes to maternity wear, comfort and style rule the roost.

Looking good yet feeling comfortable will ensure that you feel great during your pregnancy journey. Read on to learn how to keep your wardrobe bump friendly.

What should I wear once my belly starts showing?

Your bump probably won't show for another couple of weeks so at this stage, in week 10, you can still reach for your usual wardrobe. However, that will grow more difficult by weeks 14 to 16 as your belly might start protruding. When this happens, it's time to stock up on looser, more elasticised clothing. Empire waist and wrap-top clothing, as well as A-line skirts can hide your growing belly.

Your waistline will start increasing between weeks 18 to 22 so start getting clothes that will accommodate this. Skirts, shorts, pants and leggings with elastic or drawstrings will grow with your waist.

What type of clothing will keep me comfortable?

Your body temperature will increase during pregnancy, so choose light and breathable clothing made of cotton and silk that won't irritate your skin. Stretchable material that's not too restrictive or tight will not impede your growing belly.

What about underwear?

It's fine to stick with pre-pregnancy underwear unless you prefer oversized ones that go over your bump. Cotton underwear is best as it keeps you well ventilated, especially since you might be more prone to fungal and bacterial infections due to an increase in body temperature and vaginal discharge changes.

As your breasts get fuller and heavier during pregnancy, wear bras that fit well and have adjustable straps that are thick enough to carry the weight. Wearing a lightweight bra at night for some support may be more comfortable than not wearing one at all.

Can I wear socks?

Ankle socks and footsies are OK, but avoid wearing tight socks or half-leg stockings as these can reduce blood circulation in the feet and lower legs. This could increase swelling, fluid retention and aggravate varicose veins. Panty hose should be avoided in our hot, humid weather as they can encourage fungal and bacterial growth.

What footwear is best?

Flat and low-heeled shoes are best as they're comfortable and safe. Avoid high heels as they could pose a hazard to your balance. Also, remember that your feet will increase in size during pregnancy due to water retention in your legs so you might need to get larger footwear.

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By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Michelle LIM Senior O&G Resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore

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