Definitions

maternity wear

Maternity clothing

Maternity clothing is worn by women in some cultures as an adaptation to changes in body size during pregnancy.

History

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.

Maternity Wear Styles

Blouses: Blouses intended for pregnant women tend to have extra fabric towards the bottom of the garment to allow for the woman's expanding belly area.
Pants: Pants designed for pregnant women tend to made of stretchy meterial, as well as include a band of elastic at the top to accommodate a woman's larger midsection during pregnancy.
Dresses: Much like blouses, maternity dresses have extra fabric to accommodate a mother-to-be's expanding midsection.
Bras: While not usually worn during pregnancy, nursing bras usually include a clip which unhooks from the top of the cup, allowing a mother to easily expose the breast for breastfeeding.

References

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