8 Maternity Styles That Also Work Perfectly for Your ‘Fourth Trimester’

As your due date gets closer, you'll probably be eager to get "your" body back—I know I was. Unfortunately, your chances of waltzing out of the hospital wearing your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans are slim, if you'll pardon the pun.

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Your baby's first three months are known as the "fourth trimester" because she's still getting used to life outside up her development. But your body will still be changing too, and you may find yourself reaching for a mixture of maternity fashions and "regular" clothes. Luckily, plenty of maternity styles can pull double duty, keeping you comfortable and pulled-together during the craziest three months ever.

1. Over-the-belly jeans
Some moms recommend a belly band to support your core after pregnancy. The stretchy bands kind of hug your abdomen back into place. But other moms find them uncomfortable. I loved wearing my over-the-belly Liz Lange maternity jeans instead. The stretchy elastic panel that covers the midsection made me feel smoothed out and lightly supported, without being overly squeezed. This cropped white pair can even be dressed up.

2. Leggings
Leggings are even more versatile than jeans. You can wear them under a dress, pair them with a tunic or menswear-style shirt, or add a tank top, boots, and a cardigan. Again, over-the-belly leggings like this pair from Liz Lange keep your postpartum stomach covered and smoothed out, with just enough gentle support. A cropped pair is great for summer.

3. Cardigans
A flowy, open cardigan (or two!) can be your best friend during and after pregnancy. Having lots of light layers to mix and match will hide the fact that you're relying on the same go-to pieces over and over. Choose a striped cardigan or a funky fringed vest if you want to draw the eye away from your stomach. But let's face it, all eyes will be on your cute baby!

4. Long tanks and tees
Maternity tees and tanks have the extra length you'll appreciate both during and after pregnancy. These are staples you can stock up on (don’t forget some in colors), but for the fourth trimester, try to find a few without ruching on the sides. The ruching is great to accommodate a growing belly, but after your baby is born, it's kind of a dead giveaway that you're wearing a maternity top.

5. Adjustable dresses
A comfortable wrap dress in an easy-to-wash fabric will become a wardrobe staple in no time. Since it wraps around your body and ties, it's always the perfect fit, even as your waist and bust keep changing size. If you layer this tie-front shirtdress over a nursing tank, you may be able to unbutton the top of the dress and nurse your baby with minimal fuss.

6. Stretchy skirts
Knit skirts with comfortable waistbands look cute while providing the comfort you want, and you're not stuck with one style, either. Try a long maxi skirt with a foldover waistband, a midi skirt, and even a stretchy knit pencil skirt. Skirts go great with your favorite tanks and cardigans, can be dressed up or down, wash easily, and never go out of style.

7. Forgiving shoes
During the last stretch of your pregnancy, your tendons start to loosen, which can make your feet spread—and they don't always go back to their old size and shape, either. Even when my ankle swelling went down, I'd gone up nearly a half a size, and most of my old shoes didn't fit. Look for a couple of forgiving designs, like cute flip-flops, comfy slings, canvas slip-ons, or sneakers and booties with a little extra room. This should get you through the first few months until you figure out which of your pre-pregnancy shoes will need to be replaced.

8. Accessories
No, there's no "maternity accessories" department, but don't forget about the power of accessories like scarves, necklaces, and earrings to draw the eye away from your shrinking belly (or the baby drool on your shoulder) and back toward your radiant face. Accessories also let you squeeze more outfits out of your favorite pieces clothing, like a basic T-shirt dress so comfy you want to wear it every day.

 

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