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Through my pregnancy I found a number of useful additions to the wardrobe have helped me to maintain my confidence around my body as it changes.
Swim swim swim!
Since finishing work, for the last month, I've joined a private gym and gone swimming every day and as my usual swimming costume was getting a little snug, I got on t'internet to have a look for something more comfortable and accommodating.
I didn't want to spend a lot. What's the point when you will be only wearing something for a few weeks! I had a look on ebay and found a number of new maternity swim suits and tankinis for sale but nothing in a style or pattern I liked.
What size to buy?
The general advice with maternity clothes is that you buy the size you are pre-pregnancy and it will fit. Now this varies from shop to shop, some are more generous than others so it's worth being able to try on unless you like a gamble.
Did I mention I like the occasional flutter? I continued with my online search and found a reasonably priced maternity tankini (a two piece bikini with plenty of coverage!) on the Dorothy Perkins website.
The top was £14 and the bottoms were £8. The top is unpadded, tank top style with straps that cross on the back. It's a bit confusing to get into because of the cross straps but then I'm easily confused when clothes have lots of straps on them and often get stuck in changing rooms so maybe that's just me! The bottoms are shorts style with plenty of material in them which helps you to feel you're well covered. I ordered in a size larger than I usually take just to make sure. I don't think I really needed to do this in retrospect but it still fits OK.
What's mine like?
The pattern of my tankini is a black and cream Aztec sort of style and jazzy enough to distract from the front bump. It did work out a little bit too low cut for my liking which results in the occasional tug to make it less revealing but maybe it's my fault for ordering a size too big. I'm OK until I see a man with goggles going underwater for too long then I start to worry that I'm flashing!
The only other thing I'd mention is that Dorothy Perkins seem to have used a blue material for the cross over strap on the back and this is strange when the print is black and cream, and this has worn to a deep purple colour the more I've worn it so it's quite obvious. It was an online only available product so maybe they economised with cheaper materials or used leftover ones. I'm not really that bothered about it as I won't be strutting around on holiday with it any time soon, and it was purchased for practical reasons but I just thought I'd mention it.
I realise this review needs to stay focused on the purpose of having a maternity swim costume so will redirect to that topic. The difference between my tankini and a normal costume is that there is extra material 'rouching' in the top to accommodate for your bump and so you get excellent coverage for your body.
Caring for my suit
I rinse mine out in the shower after every swim and luckily there's a spin dryer in the changing rooms so it is virtually dry after use and I put it through the washer once a week. It's wearing really well so far and apart from the colour of the strap going from dark blue to purple, I am happy with the quality of this swimwear and will put it away in case I ever find myself pregnant again in the future!
Buy for your own body shape
I have quite a long body so found the tankini to be the perfect solution for my new rounded figure, the body length in a swim costume can be touch and go for me when not pregnant so in the end it was a fairly safe bet.
Where to buy
To my knowledge, in addition to DP's, you can also pick up good maternity swim wear from Mothercare; Next; Vertbaudet; Blooming Marvellous; ASDA; M&S; and Mamas and Papas.
I think it's really important to keep as active as possible (within reason) whilst pregnant and swimming is the ideal sport as it is also relaxing and takes the weight off your back. You can just plod up and down the pool - one tip though: try and swim down one edge of the pool to avoid other swimmers kicking you as there are a few people at my pool to whom 'personal space' means nothing!
When you're pregnant there are a whole range of sports you're advised not to participate in. For obvious reasons contact sports are out: football, rugby, and so on. But you're also told not to do any sport that might lead you to lose your balance and fall: running, horse riding, skiing, tennis, the list is endless... This can all be a bit depressing if you're used to being active, not to mention a sure-fire way to (a) putting on lots of weight in pregnancy and (b) not being in the best possible state for childbirth.
Despite feeling hugely nauseous in my first trimester, I really wanted to find a sport that I could continue to participate in. Unfortunately my old swimming costume very rapidly became uncomfortable - more as a result of bloating than any actual bump - as well as offering a clear giveaway that I was pregnant before I wanted to announce it to the world. As my pregnancy went on I also became increasingly uncomfortable with any kind of constricting material around my stomach. If I hadn't decided to purchase a maternity costume then I would have been very reluctant to swim for these reasons. After all, everyone wants to feel good, even in pregnancy.
Long after Yoga and Pilates were no longer possible because of loss of balance and the sheer weight of my bump, swimming continued to be an effective way of exercising, supporting my weight and easing aches and pains.
I bought a simple one-piece black costume (an attempt to hide my growing mass!) from Mothercare very early on in my pregnancy. It cost £25 and lasted me the duration: without either looking very baggy in the early days, or feeling too tight latterly (I managed to swim several times a week right up until baby was born).
Since it's increasingly acceptable for pregnant women to show that they're pregnant (although oddly you still see very few 8 and 9 month pregnant women featured in the media / on television) maternity swimwear is available from a wide range of sources, whatever your taste. High end brands like Isabella Oliver sell two-pieces and tankinis in vibrant colours for £50+, while simple suits are available from as little as £15 (e.g. Next).
My Mothercare costume, however, was perfectly adequate, lasting me the full 9 months and (I'm ashamed to say!) beyond...
When I was pregnant I was very poorly with sickness. So much so that I had to be admitted into hospital numerous times. However on the rare occasions that I was feeling slightly less nauseous, I used to enjoy going to my local fitness centre for a swim and a relax in the steam room.
Whilst for the first few weeks of my pregnancy, I could get away with my swimming costume. As time passed I felt my costume was restricting my bump and making me feel uncomfortable. So I decided to get myself a maternity swimming costume.
I didn't want a costume that drew attention to myself. I wasn't feeling my most confident and therefore wanted a costume that would allow me to fade into the background and not look like a big elephant. Therefore I decided two things before going for my costume. One that I wanted a all in one swimsuit and secondly I wanted a black costume.
I bought my maternity costume from ebay. I had heard from a friend that she had purchased maternity clothes from here for a heck of a lot cheaper. I wouldn't wear a costume someone else had worn. But I was pleased that you could purchase new costumes too.
My costume was plain black very simplistic in design. Unyet it's simplicity made me feel rather elegant when wearing it. It was from next maternity wear and fitted very well. As my belly grew, I found that the stretch of the material allowed me to feel free and not at all uncomfortable of restricted.
My costume had a round neck and quite wide straps. I found that these straps were ideal as they offered great support for my ever expanding chest.
I found that the costume was very good quality. It washed well, although after numerous washes the colour of the costume began to appear a little faded. The material though reamined strong and did not become thin or wishy washy. The costume also, always retained it's shape and kept it's supportive and comfortable feel.
Next also have a very good range of bolder print tankinis and swimming costumes. But I was very pleased with my plain black swimsuit. I would most certainly go for this design if I were ever pregnant again. I just felt it was perfect. Offering an elegant and understated look. Which for someone who was feeling a little self concious was just perfect.
I know that when you are pregnant you are not supposed to care too much about how you look figure-wise, but I did! So even when shopping for a maternity swimsuit I wanted one that would make me look passable. I didn't mind looking pregnant, I just didn't want to look either like a beached whale, or like I wasn't pregnant, but just had a beer belly!
The 1st item of maternity swimwear I bought was from Vertbaudet. I was lucky enough to get it in the sale and it only cost me £4, which I thought was a bargain as most maternity swimsuits costs at least £20 upwards.
My Vertbaudet swimwear was a one piece black bathing suit. It only had a small logo on board - A life preserver with the words Baby on Board written around it. The suit was extremely comfortable, but there was very little to it. It had no support band around the bust, although the material itself was quite supportive. I was 4 months pregnant when I 1st wore it and 7 months the last time. My bump felt contained and it was all very discreet. From the front and back you could not tell I was pregnant, however, I could a side glimpse of myself in a mirror one day and I did indeed look like a beached whale.
Despite being quite petite generally, the cut of the suit meant that I had taken on weeble-like proportions, with no definition around my bump or bust - my whole middle section had just merged into one giant blob.
So, last year, when pregnant with baby number 3 I invested in a maternity tankini.
After a bit of careful scouting on ebay I got hold of a Blooming Marvellous tankini for £10.
This one had an extra bra-like supporting band across the bust, which worked wonders for lifting and hoisting. It also meant that my bump was completely definied from the rest of my body - so it didn't just merge into one huge lump. The tankini had ruching at the side which was extendable, so in the early months I wore it tighter and as my mid-section expanded I was able to let the sides out. My bump was always fully accommodated and contained.
The tankini bottoms were also very comfortable and cut so that you did not feel exposed, but nor did you feel like you were wearing enormous granny pants.
Aesthetically, the difference between the swimsuit and tankini was amazing. Wearing the tankini to reveal a tiny strip of flesh between the top and bottoms was just enough to give my bump real definition and I got loads of comments about how great I was looking (something that never happened in my one-piece).
My advice for maternity swimwear shopping would be go for support. The more, the better.
If you are planning to do a lot of swimming or beaching, then invest a little bit of money as it's worth it to feel comfortable and happy when you are exposing so much of your body at such a delicate time. Don't be afraid of buying 2nd hand either. Ebay have some bargains and a lot of maternity swimwear only gets used once or twice. They are usually machine washable too.
Right as some may know if read my info I am currently expecting my second child.
My first maternity swimsuit has long gone so after hunting about I ended up buying one from Ebay. Brand new of course and is Blooming marvellous the make. I couldn't find one in my size in Mothercare and mama & papas seemed to prefer tankinis.
I paid £7.00 with postage on Ebay and have discovered that it would be £25.00 - £30.00 if buying direct from them.
Even though you may think I should have just gone to a normal shop to buy a bigger size then normal it doesn't work out that way. You need a maternity costume as it allows for the expanding bump and also the top department grows bigger not just the bump.
The particular costume I purchased has all the right elasticated bits but also has drawstring bits at the sides which means I can tighten or loosen at the top of the legs if needed.
It is a chocolate colour with pale pink trim and drawstring bits. Doesn't make me stand out from the crowd and I feel comfortable wearing it.
If you feel big then don't get something that has stripes as these make you look bigger for some reason.
To be honest I haven't taken my son swimming for a while but will go on average every few months.
I didn't plan on taking him for a while as he loves the big flume at our local pool which I can't go on now and he is too young to go on it alone.
Anyway I found out that a pool not too far from us runs the scheme that pregnant ladies get to swim for free as do children under 16. Check out your local pools as this free swim is not widely know about.
I thought it was a good idea to take advantage and give my self some extra exercise too as well as being able to float and relax.
Some pools run aqua natel classes too.
When I decided to take up a bit of swimming as exercise during my pregnancy, I went for a Figleaves two piece. The reason being, Figleaves was just about the only place I could find something flattering enough to hold everything up top as well as looking stylish. The two piece I have is basically a black halterneck top (so it's more like a tankini) and some flowery bottoms, but I love it. I still wear it now (not because I didn't lose - well most of - my pregnancy bulge), but because it clings to whatever size you are and is extremely well cut and very flattering. I still have a big bust and doubt that will change after having 2 babies, but my confidence in and outside of the pool has been restored with this swim suit. It's the sort of thing you need two or three of though, but as it was expensive (about £50), I am making do with the 1 for the moment!
During my pregnancy I did aqua natal from about week 25 so I knew eventually I would need a costume. I decided to buy a two piece one from Mothercare and it was a really good buy. I wore it because it was really flattering. It was long enough to cover my bump all the way through. The material was quite thick and not flimsy so you felt good in it. It cost about £20 but was worth every penny as my normal costume would never have fitted me. You might be able to pick up one in the sale if you happen to be lucky for about £15. However if you go somewhere like Mothercare you will find all the other mothers will be wearing the same one as you!. I think a two piece is better as you can easily pop out of the pool to go to toilet and it never feels restrictive.
It is currently tucked away in the cupboard - maybe if number two comes along I might get chance to wear it again!
Early in my pregnancy I often went swimming and found my regular swimsuit fitted fine. I then had a long gap from the pool, but as I started my maternity leave with the plan to go to aquanatal, I chose to invest in a Blooming Marvellous maternity tankini which I purchased from e-bay for £5 including post and packing.
At aquanatal I found the tankini comfortable and a good fit. It covered me well which was a relief when I had a zebra pattern of stretch marks over my lower body and allowed a good range of movement. I only started using the tankini at 35 weeks, but found it rode up slightly on top. However it was second hand and I did carry small. The tankini featured a support shelf which added comfort to my growing boobs. I wouldn't have fitted into my normal costume so without this I wouldn't have been able to attend the pool sessions.
Though I didn't get a pool birth, I had planned to use my tankini top for the pool had I got in it. I know it varies from area to area, but in my area you aren't allowed to wear t-shirts or loose fitting clothes in the pool as it may obstruct the midwife's view, but tankini tops are allowed.
Whilst I was pregnant, like most women I wanted to keep as fit as possible and eat as much healthy food as I could to ensure that my baby was getting the best start in life that I could provide it. It wasn't until I was roughly 20 weeks pregnant that I felt energetic enough to partake in anything strenuous, it was around this time that I decided to go swimming. I decided upon swimming as it was the most relaxing exercise I could do and I have read up on swimming in pregnancy and it can really help you as it takes all the weight of the baby off you, therefore easing your aching bones for a while!!
By the time I was 20 weeks I had quite a bump so I knew that there would be no point whatsoever in trying on my normal swimsuit!! So I decided I would have to purchase a specific maternity swimsuit.
I took a trip to Mothercare as I knew they stocked quite a good range of maternity wear. I was quite disappointed when I arrived as they didn't really have a very good choice of maternity swimsuits, they had a few tankinis, which are very similar to a bikini but not as skimpy, but I didn't fancy one of these, I wanted to have a full swimsuit to cover as much of me up as possible!!
There was only one swimsuit to choose from, so not much of a choice really!! I tried it on and it fit me perfectly, it didn't ride up and provided enough support to make me feel comfortable, I also noticed that it was quite stretchy so should accommodate my bump as it grows. It was really quite plain, dark blue in colour and had a slightly open back where the straps crossed. It cost me £18.99.
I used my maternity swimming costume on numerous occasions whilst pregnant, so was very pleased with my purchase. It was a good costume as it made me feel comfortable swimming in it, when pregnant I was quite self conscious about my changing figure but was glad that wearing this swimming costume didn't make me feel exposed in any way.
I have always been a very active person, and when I fell pregnant really missed participating in my much loved sports so I decided to look for something else to help me stay fit through my pregnancy. A friend suggested aqua natal classes. Fantastic, I thought, and looked out my trusty tankini. There I hit a major problem. My body shape had completely changed and my lovely costume no longer fitted! I thought I would be able to just get a normal costume in a bigger size, but I couldn't get a good fit, my growing bump needed more room! I finally decided I would have to get a maternity costume, so off to the shops I went!
I found it quite hard to find shops that stocked maternity swimwear. I tried our local H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Peacock, Debenhams and Next but they didn't stock any at all. Mothercare was the only store in my area I able to find any, although many stores do have them online. (Not idea when you have left it to the last minute to purchase one!)
I chose to get a tankini as I find them more comfortable than full swimsuits. The one I chose was cream and black with flower detailing. The top has spaghetti straps with a scoop neck. It supports well around the bust area (it has a 'hidden support' panel made out of a breathable mesh material) and has extra material at the front to house a growing bump! The briefs are mainly black with a strip of the cream and black flower detail around the top. It is made of 82% nylon and 18% Lycra and comes in a variety of sizes (8-20). It cost £22. Mothercare have a variety of swimwear available in store and online, including bikinis, tankinis and swimming costumes, and prices ranging from £15 to £22.
In all I found it very comfortable to wear, and flattering to my new shape. It was pretty, something I found important during pregnancy when I didn't feel at my most attractive and not something all maternity wear provides! It fitted well, and continued to do so as I progressed into my pregnancy. It definitely gave me the confidence to keep swimming, even when I was quite big as it completely covered my bump, hiding any stretch marks I didn't want the world to see! The only problem I had with it was the top kept flapping up when I was jumping in my aqua natal class, but that was just due to the extra material covering my tummy! And my tummy was underwater at that point so I didn't mind too much; it was just annoying having to constantly pull it down.
In all I would say my maternity tankini was an essential buy for my pregnancy. Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise for everyone, including pregnant woman. It was wonderful to have my bump supported and have a break from carrying the weight of my baby for a while. I definitely appreciated having a costume that had been specifically designed for use during pregnancy as it fitted very well and didn't constantly expose my tummy. I have now packed mine away safely and will definitely be getting it out again when we decide our son needs a little brother or sister!