Pregnant with panache

Trying to remain fashionable when you are pregnant is a daunting exercise - but it is possible.

Trying to remain fashionable when you are pregnant is a daunting exercise - but it is possible.

According to, the average pregnant woman is aged 30 to 35, has a career and money and invests in her wardrobe - and that includes maternity wear.

Today's expectant mother is a little bit older and knows what she wants and how to treat herself well. Treating herself well translates into enjoying the latest fashion trends while being pregnant.

Hangwani Nengovhela of Rubicon Clothing says being pregnant doesn't mean you can't keep up with the latest trends.

"Just because you are dressing for two does not mean you have to completely change your personal style," Nengovhela says. "If you loved hip, trendy fashions before you became pregnant, you can still look just as hip and trendy now that you are sporting a bulge.

"If you are a working woman who prefers tailored pieces, finding the right fashion wear might be just what you need to enjoy your pregnancy and make you feel great about yourself.

"You can maintain your professional style throughout your pregnancy."

Nengovhela says the days of maternity dresses that look like tents are gone.

"Women go for clothes they can still wear after they have delivered. From a fashion point of view, elastic waists and empire lines look cute.

"It is also advisable to look for subtle prints because they make one look less big.

"Go for lighter material such as bon bon. Look for details such as an empire waist with a tie back or side-shirring to give your body form and style."

She advises moms-to-be not to go for tops that are cut to be form-fitting against a growing belly.

"A top that shows the contour of your belly is much more flattering than one that covers you up in yards of fabric," Nengovhela suggests.

When should pregnant women start wearing maternity outfits?

Gynecologist Namhla Giyose says moms-to-be definitely won't be needing maternity wear during the first trimester.

"Most women start wearing maternity items at about the fourth or fifth month," Giyose says.

"But this varies from woman to woman. Second-time moms often start showing earlier than their first-time counterparts and women with multiples start showing even sooner."

Giyose advises women to buy a few pieces as the body changes but to hold off buying everything at once, especially maternity bras.

"As your breast size increases and your ribs expand you will need a bigger bra," she says. "A too small bra results in back bulges and cleavage overdose."

Be fashionable and pregnant.

Penny Lebyane, a celebrity mom-to-be who has made it hip to be pregnant and look fantastic, says maternity sections are a thing of yesteryear.

"I always avoid the tent look by buying clothes that fit and gently hug my growing bump.

"I always go for the style I love," Lebyane says.

She believes that a beautiful mom-to-be is a happy mom-to-be.

"In order to enjoy your pregnancy you should go for clothes in the style you love but cut to fit your pregnant body. Half of the clothes I buy I can still wear after I have given birth.

Lebyane says that it is very important for pregnant women to pamper themselves.

"You will feel more together and sexy if you indulge yourself a little and get a pedicure and a fabulous hairstyle," she says.

"Put on make-up. Go to the gym. Working out for at least 20 minutes a day will help you shed some weight and make things easier when giving birth.

"Of course, speak to your doctor about it first. Do not eat for two but follow a healthy diet. You do not want to look like a pig, so eat salads, drink lots of water and don't forget colourful food that will make you feel good."

Lebyane says pregnant women should go to parties because being pregnant does not mean life has to be boring.

"Do a little partying, stay for an hour or three and then go home and rest. Sit in a corner and drink fruit juice."

As your pregnancy progresses, you will need comfortable, sensible and better-fitting footwear.

Giyose says as time goes by a mom-to-be will find that her load will increase and her posture will change. As the body tries to compensate for the load she's carrying in front, her centre of gravity will shift.

"That means you might lose your balance more easily. In addition, your feet might be a bit bigger owing to factors such as weight gain, water retention and hormonal changes.

"In such cases you'd have to put safety and comfort first when you go shopping for shoes."

Giyose says moms-to-be should wear stilettos that are no higher than four inches, but recommends wear stylish flats and even rubber shoes.

What to look for in shoes:

lFlats, or low, wide heels.

lGood arch support. This can be accomplished by buying noted comfort shoe brands or using an insert that adds arch support.

lBreathable uppers (canvas or leather) that won't trap moisture.

lSlip-ons because laces might become difficult to tie.

lLarger or wider shoes because swelling might make your regular size uncomfortable.