What is a maternity dress and how to choose one?

pregnant women with linen maternity dress standing close to toddler bed

There’s a question that is relevant for all expecting mothers - what is a maternity dress? Normally, a garment such as a dress can be simple and meant to be worn every day, casually, on workdays, special events, and leisure evenings with friends and family. But what exactly is the definition of a maternity dress? How does a garment made for pregnant women differ from a regular dress? And how can you find one that encompasses your hopes and dreams, enhances your beauty, and radiates your character? What possible things should you know before trying to find this garment? We hope to answer all of these important questions here and unveil the mystery. Keep reading and you will find out all you need to know about maternity dress and how to choose the right one for you. 



What is a maternity dress?

What makes a maternity dress so different from any other type of dress? Well, the main answer is, of course, in the name. A maternity dress is a garment meant to be worn during pregnancy as it is specifically tailored to adjust to pregnant bodies. A well-made maternity dress should be able to stretch and adapt to the changes of the body or have a loose-fitting silhouette that is designed for the period of pregnancy. It is a dress that comes in many different sizes and shapes but ultimately should help you feel comfortable and shouldn’t restrict your body’s motions. Since the variety of styles for maternity dress is quite big, further down we will take a look at some of the best styles out there. It is lovely to know that the notion of specifically hiding a pregnancy belly in a maternity dress design dissipated around the 90’s, so nowadays everyone can express themselves in a variety of styles and rock any look however they please. 

Best styles of pregnant women dress

When it comes to the best styles of pregnant women dress there are so many to choose from! It caters to everybody. Here are some of the best maternity dress styles for even the pickiest taste.

  1. Wrap dress. If you enjoy simple elegance paired with coziness, you could opt for a wrap dress, because of its ability to wrap around your body, which means great adaptability, and it’s also great for nursing when the time comes. Since the dress wraps around you, it also helps you define your figure during the pregnancy and afterward.
  2. Jersey dress. Another great option is a snuggly jersey dress, tailored to hug your curves and made from a stretchy material to catch up with the changes. The flexibility is the best advantage of this kind of dress, and they come in all sorts of colors and sizes. Maintaining its shape, this kind of dress “grows” with you, so you can easily buy one at the start of your pregnancy.
  3. Maxi dress. For nice coverage, one could look into a flowy maxi dress, which is by default, quite loose-fitting. A maxi dress’s long skirt is great all year round, since in colder months it will snuggly cover you, and in warmer months it will be roomy and airy to keep up with heat regulation. 
  4. Sweater dress. A great way to stay warm when it’s colder outside and stay chic in your own way is by wearing a sweater dress. While knitwear is not exactly regarded as stretchy as say, jersey, it is surprisingly great for later pregnancy, when your bump is already the biggest it could get. 
  5. Sundress. Our favorite though, is an elegant sundress with a higher waist, just above the belly. It’s comfy, and stylish, and will also give you some definition without being too tight. Besides the name, it can be worn on chiller, windier days, as there is a maternity sundress model that sports elegant ¾ sleeves too! 

Should you care about the material of your maternity dress?

The material of your maternity dress can have a huge impact on your comfort level and health. Jersey cotton is notable for its stretchability which can help you feel at ease. However, it is not as great when it comes to insulation. Since pregnancy is known for increased sweating, a garment made from linen could be beneficial for your well-being due to linen’s ability to help your body thermoregulate. A paper published in the National Library of Medicine reports that maternity clothing should hold three characteristics, adaptability, comfort, and stylishness. Maternity dresses made from linen do just that!

women holds maternity dress

How to choose a maternity dress according to your pregnancy state

Ultimately, choosing the right maternity dress is not an easy job, especially when there is an overwhelming number of choices. However, need not worry, because a set of guidelines is always there to help you choose your perfect maternity dress in no time. Things you should take into consideration are:

    • comfort

    • personal taste/style 

    • material of the garment

    • stage of your pregnancy

Now, we talked about the first three conditions in the paragraphs above, because comfort comes hand in hand with good material and you can find a myriad of inspiration from various designs according to your personal taste. Nevertheless, it is left to explore how exactly your maternity dress correlates with your pregnancy stage. 


Of course, by now you know that a full-term pregnancy has three trimesters, 1st lasting 1-12 weeks, the second - 13-28 weeks, and the third, the last one, 29-40 weeks. So there is no surprise that bodily changes during each of those periods should be taken into consideration when choosing your perfect maternity dress. 

First trimester

Let’s start with the first trimester of pregnancy. Even though usually the baby bump starts becoming noticeable around the start of the second trimester (or 4 months), some women may start experiencing a greater visibility of the bump earlier. This includes women who had pregnancies before, women with weaker core muscles, or older first-time mothers. Additionally, some people do not want to reveal their pregnancy during the first trimester and their bodies allow them to wear regular clothes. It’s important to review your wardrobe and set aside garments that already feel too tight or are not comfortable enough. You can start looking for a maternity dress whenever you feel ready, but keep in mind that your body will change drastically in the coming months and many maternity articles have too much fabric reserved for the bump, rendering full-sized maternity garments not of immediate necessity when the bump is still barely noticeable.  

Second trimester

During the second stage of your pregnancy bodily changes become more prominent. This is where your baby bump gets bigger, although for some women it might only start to get noticeable at the end of the second trimester or even at the start of the third. This usually happens, if the woman is overweight, obscuring the shape of the baby bump, or if the woman is malnourished, because of the slower development. A good move would be to start investing in garments, such as dresses, that would “grow” with you or would already have a roomy silhouette for a bigger bump that would accommodate size changes of your whole body. 

Third trimester

The third trimester is the “star”. It's the final trimester, where your bodily changes finalize and your baby bump’s size is at its biggest. The average weight gain during your whole pregnancy (culminating in the third trimester) can be from around 11.5kg to 16 kg (25.3 lbs - 35.2 lbs). The growth of the fetus may cause some new discomfort during this time, as it’s the last stage before delivery. So naturally, the third trimester of pregnancy warrants utmost comfort. Ideally, your maternity dress should be made of as natural as possible materials, and don’t forget to show off that full baby bump!  

Bonus: fourth trimester/postpartum

The period after you have had your baby (known as postpartum, or the first three months of delivery) is of as much importance as the journey before the delivery. During this time your body needs to heal as well as bear the pressure of new responsibilities and skills, like breastfeeding. Did you know that your maternity dress, bought specifically for pregnancy, could serve you just as well afterward? As mentioned before, in the paragraph about styles of maternity dresses, your dress’s design could help you easily breastfeed your baby in a matter of seconds. Additionally, if your pregnancy dress is of a loose-fitting or roomy design, it could also be worn as a regular dress! If the design of your dress is particularly tied to the accentuation of the pregnancy bump, you could then reuse the dress if you ever decide to get pregnant again or resell it to other moms-to-be. Reusing means reducing, so this way you would also help the planet and its ecosystems. Win-win! 

Model Wears Linen Maternity Dress Barbar
Finding a maternity dress that’s perfectly suitable for you might not be a matter of seconds, but once you do, you will never want to let go. That’s how comfortable and beautiful they can be!