What to know and what to wear in the first stage of expecting

Every woman is different and you may not begin to see any visible sign of a rounded stomach until after 12 weeks. However, if this isn’t your first baby, you may start showing earlier. An A-line silhouette or a draped design is your answer to hiding any hint of a baby bump. Look to a top or dress that is cut for a loose fit in a graphic print or floaty fabric. We like Mary Katrantzou’s vibrant patterned dresses and 3.1 Phillip Lim’s flattering blouses. Statement accessories will also draw eyes away from your stomach – look to Anya Hindmarch’s witty designs.




Morning sickness is one of the earliest and most uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy. It is also one of the most common, with around 70% of women experiencing some form of nausea. Despite its name, it’s a condition that can actually occur any time of the day. It generally hits early on, often before you have revealed that you are expecting, meaning that you will need an explanation for feeling off-colour. A stomach virus or food poisoning are convenient excuses, otherwise announcing you are on a detox will disguise why you aren’t eating certain foods, and justify the headaches that often occur in the first stage of pregnancy. If you are suffering severely from nausea, consider confiding in a close friend or a senior colleague at work that can help you keep your cover. If you are unable to keep down any food or water and you are vomiting continuously throughout the day, consult your doctor as you may be suffering Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a more serious condition.  Don’t miss our list of remedies to alleviate morning sickness here.


It’s not uncommon to feel hungrier than usual during the first trimester, and many women find that eating helps to settle an upset stomach. You may also discover that the scent or sight of certain food or drink makes you feel ill, even if it was something you previously loved it (blame it on hormones – they’re also the reason behind your heightened sense of smell). When it comes to what to eat, advice on what foods to avoid during pregnancy varies widely. It is best to look up your country’s official guidelines or speak to your medical practitioner rather than taking your lead from friends and family or an online forum. That said, you should always wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly, ensure that all meat is cooked properly, limit your caffeine intake and avoid liver due to the high vitamin A content. It is also advisable to avoid alcohol in your first trimester, however try not to worry if you have had a few nights out before finding out you were pregnant – it happens to most of us!


If saying no to a glass of wine is out of character, avoid any leading questions by discreetly switching to a non-alcoholic beverage that looks like your drink of choice. Soda and fresh lime is the perfect stand in for a gin and tonic or apple juice mixed with sparkling water can pass as white wine, alternatively, quietly ask the barman to make you a non-alcoholic cocktail. If you’re really stuck, you can always feign a wild night out the previous evening as the reason for your self-restraint.


Even if you love to party until the early hours of the morning, you probably now can’t keep your eyes open past 8pm. Fatigue is extremely common during the first trimester of pregnancy, although your energy will usually bounce back once you enter the second stage of expecting. There is no real solution to feeling tired other than catching up on as much sleep as possible. Our advice? Invest in a pair of luxurious pyjamas so even if you spend most of your day in loungewear, at least you’ll look stylish doing so.




Baths are a fail-safe way to relax, especially towards the end of pregnancy, when you are feeling heavier and more uncomfortable. During pregnancy it is safer to keep the temperature of your bath warm rather than scalding hot to avoid raising your core body temperature, which can be dangerous for your baby. For this same reason, you will need to give hot tubs or saunas a miss while expecting. Read up on how to give yourself a healthy manicure while expecting here, and the best natural beauty products on the market.


You don’t have to give up exercising because you are pregnant, in fact it is healthy for you and your baby to stay active. Know your limits and listen to your body. For more information on the best exercises for the first trimester of expecting don’t miss our must-read guide here.


How to avoid your burgeoning bump being captured on camera? Take your cues from Grace Kelly and discreetly position your bag in front of your stomach when being photographed. While she was pregnant with her daughter Caroline, the Princess of Monaco hid her baby bump from the paparazzi with a large Hermes handbag. The style became so associated with the iconic actress that it was later re-named the Kelly bag. London theatre director Sophie Hunter also used the same trick when she stepped out with her husband, actor Benedict Cumberbatch, before she revealed she was expecting.


If you are taking any medication, check with your doctor whether it is still safe to use in pregnancy. Likewise it is a good idea to check over the beauty products you are using. Some formulas may contain ingredients that are not recommended when expecting.


Now is the time to start investing in the expectant essentials that will see you through your pregnancy and beyond. Even if you haven’t made the news public knowledge, there is no reason why you can’t start shopping. Think lingerie, maternity jeans, long-line T-shirts, a button-front boyfriend shirt, an oversized jumper and a fabulous dress for special occasions.



Words by Amanda Woodward-Brown

Photo by Mary Sommer