Sunday, February 8, 2015

What not to wear, pregnancy edition

Ok, here's a frivolous little post. What do you wear to a friend's very large, rather posh wedding dinner...
...when you are 6 months pregnant...
...and have shipped most of your clothing anyway? 

Last night I ended up disguising a casual maxi dress by dressing it up with low heels, a necklace, and a cardigan. The wedding dinner was at the end of a very long day of successive social engagements - I am an incorrigible introvert and any single ONE of the fun things yesterday would have wiped me out, and there were FOUR. I know my emotional and mental exhaustion definitely affected my mood. So by the time dinner rolled around, I was already heartily sick of the dress and the heels, and in the first place I am not a massive fan of dresses and heels to begin with. Why isn't there more of a market for maternity trouser suits? Maternity tuxedos? If a penguin suit and cummerbund can accommodate Pavarotti's belly WHY NOT MINE? 

On a more routine basis, the bump expansion means that my shorts, capris, shirts and singlets don't fit quite like they used to when I work out. I can't do the old steal-your-husband's-pants trick as he's not around for me to steal them... here is a quick guide to my workout wear, pregnancy edition. 

For running, I wear: 
- my Brooks Epiphany stretch shorts, but these are slowly getting tighter at the waist. Even worn under the bump, the bunched fabric at the waist irritates me after a while, but they're tolerable for 3 miles or less. 
- my Oiselle roga shorts, worn under bump. I have three pairs of these and the best thing is the wide, smooth waistband - I imagine any other style with a similar waistband would be comfortable, eg Moving Comfort. Likewise, my Brooks running skirts. 
- my beloved Under Armour tank tops. These have loads of stretch and have been comfortable throughout 
- baggy old technical-not-really-technical fabric race shirts; they're not the most breathable fabric but again, they're tolerable for 3 poky miles 
- I wish I hadn't tossed out my ratty old old-school nylon running shorts a year or two ago (I'd had them since high school, and they were about $10 a pair! Those were the days) but they really were ratty and getting loose and baggy and the elastic was utterly dead. 
- I did acquire four new sports bras, 1-2 sizes up, all from the local Nike outlet store. I am fond of Moving Comfort Alexis bras, but fairly sports-bra-agnostic when I need them urgently. 

For yoga and spin classes, I wear:
- my ancient Danskin capris from when I used to dance; that was in college and a couple kilos worth of free pizza ago. Glad I kept them! These, too, have a broad waistband (yay), but they are also kind of baggy (boo) and I have to roll them up to the knee so they don't get caught. Still, they function. 
- these beautiful, magical maternity capris received as a Christmas gift from my in-laws. INCREDIBLY comfortable and extremely versatile. Every time they're dry, I nick them off the laundry rack to wear them - a good sign they're in heavy rotation. 
- I have caved and ordered a couple more pairs of maternity activewear pants from Target, delivered to husband's place, so that I have something to wear in the Arctic temperatures of Boston in winter, because heck yeah I intend to walk or run. (Winter note: I anticipate being able to carry on using my current long-sleeved tops and fleeces, so the bottoms are the only thing I expect I'll really need.) 

To swim in, I wear: 
- the same Arena two-piece style I've been wearing for about three years now. Initially I liked it because I have a long torso that doesn't fit comfortably in one-piece suits; now I like it because ROOM FOR BELLY. The folks at the pool can go ahead and stare. I can out-swim most of them anyway. 

I've put these in storage: 
- Nike capris and Oiselle capris - too much constriction right at the waistband especially when bending over or seated
- I haven't even tried the Mizuno short tights on in months, the waistband is definitely too narrow 
- all my Nike t-shirts, due to insufficient stretch; they're narrower-cut and while they have room for my shoulders there isn't room for the belly these days so they flap/ ride up. Any shirts like this can go into storage.

Key takeaways:
- At some point style and dignity will both exit your life. Just get used to it.
- Wide waistbands are a godsend.
- So are stretchy, lightweight things - the stretchier the better.
- Do not attempt to squeeze into pre-pregnancy sports bras. Being able to breathe is kind of essential to being able to work out. 
- Beg, borrow or steal (ok, cave and buy) one or two dedicated maternity pieces. Tops are not essential. Bottoms are way more useful and comfortable, and you'll be glad of it. 


  1. You're really in a pickle - moving to an entirely different climate, packing, and pregnant! But I'm sure you're pulling off cute, as usual.

  2. I was so lucky with my pregnancies being able to sew stretch. I'd just make myself something new once I'd grown out of the old stuff. It could be quite an expensive proposition having to change sizes up and down.

    1. Brilliant! I'm rubbish at sewing (though I can certainly mend the odd hole, I haven't the faintest idea how to handle Lycra or jersey). That's a good option for someone handy with a sewing machine.

  3. I hate that all of my tank tops are riding up. Even with a pregnant belly, I hate showing off belly. I got a super cheap and comfy pair of Old Navy maternity capris for working out. They are not anything I would spend money on, but they seem to fit well and not dig into my waist.

    1. Great idea! I didn't have any experience with Old Navy maternity sizing and everything I've ever got from Old Navy seems to run very large, or maybe I'm doing it wrong... I think I'm all set on the workout wear now though.

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  5. Hi Grace

    I just started following your blog! Great reading it & congrats on becoming a mom soon:)

    I'm a running newbie and I'm looking to join running groups here. I hve emailed a couple but wld appreciate if you hve any suggestions? Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hi Reeta,

      Welcome, and thanks for reading! And lovely to hear you've started running.

      There are all sorts of groups with varying degrees of seriousness - it depends on what your goals are as a runner. Honestly, if your goal is just to enjoy yourself and cover a certain distance, you could even just link up with a couple of friends to run, which is what I do. And it's free!

      I was never much of a group runner for many years because I have no problem motivating myself to just get out and run casually, but I joined a triathlon training group (Metasport) because I found that I couldn't really push myself to run hard intervals on my own. Plus, I wanted to learn how to swim better.

      Running Department is quite newbie-friendly:
      My friend Holly Kuzmiak-Ngiam ( is a good coach for beginner runners.
      Also, back in the day I used to read the SGRunners forum which has a running-groups section:

      If you feel like you've hit a plateau and are looking to improve, coach Ben Swee of Running Guild holds regular interval-training sessions:
      And there are other formal paid training groups like Journey Fitness that cater to runners who are serious about improving.

      I'd love to hear what you eventually decide!

  6. I was a bridesmaid at 5 months pregnant and had this amazing halter-neck dress made for me - I still have it and am desperately seeking a small pregnant person to pass it on to. Wish you'd told me.

    I was a cyclist when I was pregnant and bought some larger-size shorts and just stretched everything else. You're right about the bras though. When the baby's come, try wearing two running bras.

    1. Aw! Ha, I'll let you know if I happen to need formal wear while gestating a second kiddo. We're probably about the same size.

      I'm not sure how this happened, but it feels like I need a size up in everything now. My upper half doesn't look that much larger than it started out, but its expansion must be dwarfed visually by the belly...