There might have been a time when shopping for maternity clothes wasn't the most exciting of experiences, but today, being pregnant is chic and in style. The current maternity fashion is proof.
Thanks largely in part to Hollywood, women can feel comfortable showing off their baby bumps in a flattering way. Maternity wear doesn't have to be baggy or shapeless; the current maternity outfits let your curvy silhouette show.
Don't be shy about donning bright colors or vibrant prints either!
"Prints have a new facade this season with clean lines, deep hues and geometric designs," said David Hacker, vice president of Trend and Color for Kohl's.
He suggests using long jackets, necklaces and metallic accessories to add shape and elegance to the trendy "deco" look.
Maternity-wear trends across the board have become more stylish and attractive.
One major trend of 2008 was the re-emergence of the trapeze dress for women.
The flowing, romantic style of the dress makes it comfortable for pregnant women, especially in their later months of pregnancy. Both solids and prints - especially floral prints and geometric designs - are in style.
"Rich burgundy, gorgeous green and radiant orange form the season's palette for apparel and accessories," according to Hacker.
"Give any look an instant update with subtle gold or hematite metallic pieces," he added.
Hippie styles are all the rage right now, and the maternity world is no different.
Free-flowing ethnic skirts, dresses and tops are fashionable clothing that easily accommodates your growing bump.
This trend also includes empire-waist tops or dresses that can be worn over maternity pants.
Try pairing a flowing top with jeans or pants and a cardigan for a look that flatters your bigger belly, looks great and can be worn comfortably all day long.
Layering is another current trend that works well for both pregnant and non-pregnant women, and is especially great for the colder winter months.
Oversized cardigans are very fashionable this season, and layering long-sleeved clothing items under short-sleeved is a relaxed, comfortable look for those sporting a bump.
Or if you prefer a more classic look, feminine blouses or tops are the way to go.
A flutter-sleeve top offers plenty of room for your arms and shoulders.
For the working mother-to-be, modern maternity suits are very versatile for both days and evenings.
Add a blouse or dressy top for those workdays and switch into a more comfortable shirt for a dinner out with friends. Plaids and pinstripes also look very flattering with maternity suits.
If you're the more casual type, or want more comfort during your pregnancy, jeans are always a good choice.
Many of today's designers offer maternity versions of their denim styles, and jeans always look stylish and flattering no matter what stage in your pregnancy.
As for shoes, flats are extremely popular right now and perfect for looking great without forcing you to try to balance on heels.
Flats can be dressed up or down with different outfits.
To dress up a casual outfit when pregnant, keep the visual details on the top of the body.
Try sporting a scarf or bolero jacket to draw the eye to the shoulders and bustline. Wearing several different accessories of contrasting colors will accentuate this area of the body, flattering your growing tummy.
"A subtle fragrance and a few simple cosmetic highlights add polish and luster to any look," Hacker advised.
"Accent lips, cheeks and eyes with subtle color and elongate lashes to give the face a radiant look."
While pregnancy is a beautiful and feminine period in a woman's life, try to avoid showing too much skin during those growing months.
Look for clothing items that are comfortable and fabric that moves with you and your new shape.
Story published Friday, December 5, 2008 ( Volume 3, Number 7 )