Not all women wish to reveal they are pregnant. While some like to tell people as soon as possible, others, for various reasons, prefer to keep it to themselves for as long as possible.
These reasons can include fear of miscarriage, particularly if this has happened before. IVF can be a grueling process with many failures before success. For this reason, some women may wish to keep a pregnancy to themselves in case they experience any complications.
Despite the laws regarding equality in the workplace, even today, many women worry being pregnant may result in them losing out on a promotion or employment.
Another reason could simply be down to the individual feeling it is more of a personal journey and not one she wishes to share with anyone other than her partner.
Whatever the reason, it is always a personal choice whether or not a woman wants people to know. Each pregnancy is different and each woman’s body responds differently. Some may not even show they are pregnant until the final month, while others will have a full round belly by the time they reach their second trimester.
If keeping schtum is your preference, below is a useful list of ways to hide a pregnancy for the first 12 weeks and until birth.
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If it’s the fall or winter, wearing layers is an excellent way to hide your growing belly. Whether it’s a cardigan, a jacket, a trendy poncho or even a shawl, all can help hide a growing pregnancy tummy.
Remember to wear clothing in the next size up so they are not clinging to you.
Other clothing to consider are sweaters, jumpers, tunics and dresses with empire waistlines. These layers help to distract the eye away from the belly area, especially if you couple it with bold patterns.
If it’s winter, a coat in the next size up can really help in hiding this area well. Just make sure the coat doesn’t have a belt attached as this will only emphasize your bump.
If wearing bold patterns is not your style and too much of a change that you’ll end up drawing unwanted attention, then opt for block colors. You don’t need to go for overly bright colors, teaming a black jacket with a pastel patterned blouse would work nicely.
Loosely tucking the blouse into your jeans or trousers can help disguise a burgeoning baby bump.
Something not always considered when pregnant and usually associated with hiding general lumps and bumps, shapewear can be a good choice, particularly in the first trimester. Many women experience bloating before their bump fully shows and shapewear can help to smooth out your belly and keep your waist nipped in.
If you’re concerned the shapewear may cause undue pressure on your baby and harm them, studies show that wearing it in the early stages does not harm your growing baby. A layer of amniotic fluid sits between your baby and tummy, keeping them cushioned and safe.
You can even get maternity shapewear that is far more forgiving than general shapewear. This may be preferred if you are concerned compression from general shapewear might harm your unborn baby, or be uncomfortable for yourself.
This will certainly be the case in hotter weather.
Another thing to note is that maternity shapewear can also give your belly support as it grows. This makes it more comfortable for you when moving around or if your job involves lots of standing.
This leads us to the next part.
A pregnancy support belt is designed to support your lower back, along with your muscles in your hips and pelvis. As it also provides support for your abdomen, it can help in hiding that bump for a little longer.
Also, avoid waist trainers as these are like corsets and designed to make your waist and belly smaller. Some women opt for these after pregnancy when they want some assistance in returning their waist and belly to its pre-pregnant size. Do not wear them while pregnant.
Avoid maternity wear
Maternity wear is designed to show your bump. While it may be unavoidable in the later stages or for those who have a much larger pregnancy bump, you can incorporate little tricks to continue wearing your usual clothing.
Fastening an elastic band around your button and buttonhole on your jeans may allow you to wear them for a little longer.
If you’re a fan of high heels, you may find them impossible to wear as the pregnancy continues. Not to mention the risk of falling. Start wearing shorter heels and gradually reduce the size as time goes on.
You will still keep your height, without too much of a difference. Plus, if others are used to seeing you in high heels, they may notice and question why you’re suddenly wearing flats.
While most maternity wear ‘shows off’ your bump, other pieces of clothing can be worn early on, providing they are coupled with longer tunic style tops or long baggy jumpers.
Maternity jeans, jeggings and pants can be easily disguised under these garments. Which brings us onto the next tip.
Although you may think wearing slim jeans or leggings would be the last thing to opt for and goes against everything discussed above, wearing fitted bottoms can actually streamline your form. Baggy pants result in a bulky appearance and can make you look boxy.
Instead, opt for slimmer jeans and pants and pair it with longer tops with bright patterns and extra flowing material to help hide your bump. Also, avoid stripes, as these can draw attention to this area.
Scarves, pashminas, jewelry and large handbags can all lend a hand in hiding your pregnancy. A long wide scarf is always a trendy accessory and depending on the material, you can wear them all year around.
Be sure to drape it across your body in a way it won’t fall away or leave you forever adjusting it.
Pashminas can be worn like a scarf, but they are much wider to a point you can wear them like a shawl. Because they are wider, they are more versatile than a scarf and come in a range of beautiful patterns and colors.
Again, as with scarves, they are available in different materials, making them suitable for both winter and summer. Wearing one over the shoulders with a loose knot on the front can easily hide your belly.
Bold jewelry such as big hoop earrings and eye-catching necklaces can draw the eye away from your tummy too.
To complete the look, a large boldly printed handbag carried in the crook of your arm in front of you can help hide your pregnancy bump. Even when you sit down, you can place your bag on your lap, keeping your belly hidden.
Now we’ve looked at clothing and accessories, let’s look at other ways to conceal your baby bump until birth.
Now would be a good time to opt to be the designated driver. If you’re often invited out for social events where there is usually alcohol, perhaps volunteering to be a designated driver might help in drawing away unwanted suspicions.
Drinking alcohol is advised against by both the National Institutes of Health in the US and the NHS in the UK. Therefore, opting as a designated driver can prevent your friends and family asking awkward questions and putting you on the spot.
Other ways to avoid suspicions is to make an offer to pay for the first round and order alcohol-free versions of your usual tipple. Opting for plain orange juice instead of vodka and orange is an easy way to disguise your lack of alcohol intake, for example.
Plus, there are many alcohol-free versions of lagers and beers.
Another good trick to avoid unwanted suspicions is to use detoxing as a reason for not drinking. Most mothers become more conscious of what they are eating when they’re expecting and will choose healthy options.
This can be a good ‘white lie’ to use when opting for healthier meal choices.
That way, if these new meal plans are noticed by your work colleagues or others who see you most days,you can state you are on a new detox diet.
This may result in others in the group jumping in with their own stories of detoxing and thus effectively deflecting from you.
One of the more unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy is the dreaded morning sickness. This is a little trickier to hide. Work colleagues, in particular, may notice your more frequent trips to the toilet than usual.
To avoid the raising of eyebrows, perhaps state you have an upset stomach from eating something disagreeable the night before.
Another good tactic is to state you’re on new medication and it is upsetting your stomach. This option is less likely to result in further questions, as most people will feel it is too intrusive to inquire further.
Make sure you stay hydrated as well. Dehydration can worsen morning sickness and even make it last longer.
Don’t just drink water, have ginger teas and ginger ale to help settle your stomach. Ginger snap cookies are another way to ease your symptoms and are a tasty snack to have at your desk.
Don’t tell your children
Children are known to be uncontrollable blabber mouths, and often at the most inconvenient times. If you already have children and they are of an age where self-control is not their strong point, it is better to keep the news of a younger sibling to yourself.
It is natural for them to be excited at the prospect of having a new member in the family and they may want to tell all their school friends, who, in turn, will tell their parents. This is not an ideal situation at the school gates if you wish to keep this information to yourself.
You might find yourself more tired in the day, which is likely to occur more often as you approach your due date.
Request that your partner gets more involved with your children; assuming they aren’t already. This way they can distract your children allowing you some precious downtime.
Change your fitness routine
If running and a heavy workout at the gym were your norm before pregnancy, you may find this routine too challenging. Morning sickness and your growing little one will sap you of energy.
Doing these activities solo won’t be a problem if you suddenly stop, but if you have a workout buddy, they will certainly wonder why you can’t go for that 5K run anymore or can no longer lift heavy weights at the gym.
To avoid unwanted questions, switch up your fitness routine and suggest yoga or pilates. These are far easier to do while pregnant and should keep you in the clear for a while longer.
Hands off that belly!
And finally, do not be tempted to repeatedly touch your baby bump. As hard as this may be, if you start touching your belly often, people might get curious.
Mothers-to-be often find comfort in touching their growing bellies, especially in the third trimester.
This is such a well-known habit for mothers to do that others will certainly notice and may not shy away from asking probing questions.
Keep your hands away from that area as not only does it draw attention, but resting your hands there can squash your loose clothing onto your bump, making it more obvious, more so if you’re sitting down.
And that was a selection of tips you can use if you wish to keep your pregnancy to yourself either till birth or for as long as you want. And remember, never feel pressured into telling anyone you’re pregnant.
It is your business to tell people when you are ready, and that is perfectly acceptable.