Dresses did not follow a wearer's body shape until the Middle ages. When western European dresses began to have seams, affluent pregnant women opened the seams to allow for growth. The Baroque Adrienne was a waistless pregnancy gown with many folds. Aprons were also worn, to close the opening left by jackets. 19th century maternity clothing was tailored to hide pregnancy.
For many decades during the 20th century maternity wear was considered a "fashion backwater." Pinafores were the most common style and were often sold through nursery shops. Maternity clothing hasn't generally been considered a potentially profitable area for most major clothing manufacturers, owing to a belief that many women wouldn't purchase clothes intended for only a few months of wearing. However, with wide media interest in celebrity pregnancies beginning in the late 1990s the maternity wear market grew 10% between 1998 and 2003. In 2006 Kate Bostock of Marks & Spencer said the demand for maternity clothes was growing because "Nowadays women are working during pregnancy, and travelling, and going to the gym, so their clothing needs are greater and more diverse.