Open Thread: Hiding a Baby Bump

how to hide a baby bumpHow do you hide a baby bump? This struck us as a great question…

I’d love to see some suggestions on hiding a baby bump while dressing appropriately for the office. Hiding my growing belly wasn’t hard with my first baby. It just wasn’t that big. Now I’m pregnant with my second and, true to everything all my friends told me, I’m much bigger, much earlier. I prefer not to tell everyone until the first trimester is over. That means hiding my expanding middle. I moved up a size in trousers (no expand-o waist pants yet). However, I can’t seem to find any good ideas for tops. I’d love your (and your readers’) help. Anonymously, of course. Any hope for me? :)

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Having never been pregnant, we can’t really offer any advice, but it does strike us as a very worthwhile question. (Fine, here’s our best guess — we’d stick with empire-waisted tops such as the one above, or very blousy tunic tops. Pictured: Banana Republic Garment-dyed linen top, available at Banana Republic for $59.) Still — readers, what is your best advice on how to dress professionally while hiding a baby bump? Any other tips on dealing with pregnancy woes, such as morning sickness?

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  1. subscribing…

    • I’m subscribing too. I have no advice to offer since I have only one child, but would love to hear what other commenters have to say. Great topic, Corporette!

  2. Wearing dark colors on top seems to help me, and layers. It’s easier to hide under a jacket or sweater where you can’t really tell exactly what shape is underneath. Even at 35 weeks now, if I wear a black top and tan pants it minimizes the fact that I have a watermelon-sized belly.

    As for the “other pregnancy woes,” I’ll be lurking and taking notes for suggestions! I bought a humidifier for my office to help with the preggo congestion, and I try to get up and walk the hallways every couple of hours to get off my bum. I wish I’d kept mine quiet longer–kudos to you for keeping it on the DL. I’m SO sick of office staff asking me how I’m feeling, calling me “mommy” in the hallway (I still have a name!), and speculating on the baby’s middle name!

    • I bought simple draped tops (non maternity) when I was pregnant. Stuck to black mostly.

      But if you’re hiding a bump, steer clear of clingy jersey type fabric, stick with the flared stuff. Wearing tops untucked (they must hit at hipbone) helps.

    • Ugh. I had to take a staff person to task for calling me “mommy.” I am not your mommy! I tried to be understanding, but I asked her several times to refrain and she just wouldn’t stop.

  3. Oh, and staying in non-maternity clothes as long as possible. Maternity clothes seem designed to accentuate that bump. It’s amazing even now how much smaller I look if I wear normal pants (with a belly band–can’t get around it now) and a tunic-style shirt I bought in the normal section.

  4. Ditto the dark colors on top, I think it makes a big difference. Also, the second time around, you may just have to tell people earlier than you’d like–I figured that I would rather have people know for sure than speculating about me. Although Midori (above) is correct regarding the comments; the single most irritating thing in both of my pregnancies has been the way office staff started treating me–constantly asking how “we” are feeling and calling me “mommy”. It seriously drove me nuts.

  5. Two words: long cardigans. I bought 7 or 8 inexpensive ones, and some elastic waistband skirts and pants, and kept my secret reasonably well even with pg #3.

  6. This is my second pregnancy to make it past the first trimester as well, and you’re right that the belly certainly remembers what to do! I was not visibly pregnant with my first until around 20 weeks. This time around I was desperately trying to hide it by 11 weeks. It was a little easier for me because it was the dead of winter in my first trimester, so I could definitely wear layers to hide my shape. I wore a lot of jackets and sweaters. I was also able to wear my “fat suit” (the one I usually put on when I’m feeling bloated). A belly band over regular pants helps, but depends on how bad your morning sickness is (I found the pressure of it to make me feel much sicker).
    Congrats on your pregnancy- just get through these next few weeks and then relax into the maternity clothes!

  7. I’ve been buying shells (White House Black Market has some good examples out there that are a “loose stretch fit”) that are not so tailored and have a busy print or a ruffle near the top that does a great job of drawing eyes away from my ever expanding belly! I definitely would continue wearing your pants with the belly band because maternity clothes absolutely make me look more pregnant than non-maternity clothes.

    But shells with a nice pattern or some sort of gathering or ruching with a cardigan on top have been very helpful for me. Good luck!

  8. I would NOT wear empire waist tops like the one in the picture because to me that screams “I’m pregnant!” even when you don’t have a belly yet. Maybe try those cape jackets that only have a single button up top, or something else… but not empire waist tops! Seriously, it screams pregnant to me.

    • Anonymous :

      I totally agree. Things can be poofy without the tell-tale empire.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I completely agree as well. I wore one of these kinds of tops and the clueless secretary asked me if I was pregnant (I was definitely not, and was completely mortified). And I’m pretty slender to boot. These types of tops just scream pregnancy.

    • Hee hee – I guess the idea is that if enough non-preggo people wear ’em, everyone realizes that they make you look preggo and so if you really ARE preggo and wear ’em, everyone assumes its the top! You know, fake ’em out!

      • Exactly! I thought that was the point… it’s got to the point of cliché with empire-waist tops!

        (Not dissing the style – I love them).

  9. I’ve never been pregnant, but a co-worker managed to hide her pregnancy for quite a while using looser-fitting jackets, shirts that are close fitting at the bust and then are unstructured below (like the one in the picture, but maybe in a more floaty fabric) and dresses with no details at the waist (like empire waist, or loose sundresses, or even some sheath dresses a size up). Good luck!

  10. In addition to the above posters, another thing you can do is really play up accessories around your face to bring attention up away from your stomach. Do your hair up if you have long hair, wear slightly larger earrings and clunkier necklaces, wear brighter make-up, etc.

    As for morning sickness, since the original post brought it up…. I’ve heard it’s due to low blood sugar, and sure enough the only thing that helped me was to eat all the time. I just kept crackers, fruit, and beef jerky in my office and munched on something every twenty to thirty minutes. No candy, though, as the sugar crash afterwards is a killer (maybe not literally, but it always made me -want- to die).

    • And that’s why I gained 8 lbs in the first trimester, from eating constantly! :-) It is the best way to keep the nausea away though. Also, you just have to eat whatever sounds good. I ate some weird things in the first trimester. I took vitamin B6 as well.

    • Though I know the eating all the time works for some people (like my lucky sister), I wasn’t that lucky. My “morning sickness” always hit in the afternoon – right after lunch – and lasted through bedtime, no matter what I did or didn’t eat.

      However, I would encourage pregnant readers to stay hydrated, especially as farther along in the pregnancy. Being dehydrated caused a hospital stay for me!

      I second (or third) the advice to wear jackets and long sweaters to hide a small belly.

      • Ladies, I had the WORST morning sickness– it lasted the whole pregnancy. Taking a unisom tablet (not quick-melts!) and a 100 mg b-6 tablet every night before bed was the only thing that kept me going to the office. I had to continue taking it the entire pregnancy, but it really took the edge off and as a helpful side effect, I slept well and didn’t have issues with congestion.

        Sea bands are also helpful– they come in black, so you can be more discreet.

    • For people who are experiencing more than a little nausea –
      My “morning” sickness lasted all day and all night and it got to the point where I could barely drink water, did not ever want to eat, and could not sleep, but did not want to get out of bed, because reclining was about the only position where the nausea was marginally better. I tried everything – crackers, Preggie Pops, ginger ale, ginger Altoids, mints, small meals, etc. etc. etc. Nothing worked and I finally told my OB. Although I was not actually vomiting and therefore did not fall into the technical definition for “hyperemesis,” my OB/GYN put me on Zofran anyway. It’s a sublingual dissolvable tablet that works for 10-12 hours to stop nausea. It was originally intended for people who are on chemotherapy, but is being used for many other types of nausea and vertigo now. I strongly encourage anyone whose nausea is significantly interfering with their life to talk to their OB about Zofran, sooner rather than later. You do not have to be vomiting to get so dehydrated that you need to be hospitalized – I was almost there. I was so miserable I wanted to die, no exaggeration. Within two days of starting the Zofran I was able to eat, sleep, go to work (and actually accomplish something) and stay hydrated.
      My nausea lasted until I was almost 20 weeks and then came back a bit right at the end of the third trimester. It is awful and I sympathize with those who have it – it sucks!

    • Ditto on eating all.the.time. I never got sick if I just constantly ate. Smaller amounts more often. I gained 38 pounds with twins, so I guess I didn’t do too badly! Although, the all McDonald’s all the time phase was probably not the most healthy…

  11. I am 17 weeks with #3 and haven’t told yet. My pant are one size bigger. I also do the layering thing with sweaters and jackets. I also find dresses to be more forgiving, particularly with an empire waist. I am a plus size person, so I have more to begin with so it is hard for people to tell. Things do change once everyone knows. I work in-house with all men. They are kind, but just don’t really know how to handle it. I won’t get any new challenging projects after I tell my boss.

    • this just fills me with despair. there was that poster the other day who got taken off of good work when she told she was pregnant too! What gives?

    • It’s true. The guys at my firm are great, and it’s a family-friendly place, but bless them, they can’t possibly understand. My favorite (and I heard it a lot) was, “Oh, I know all about being pregnant. My wife was pregnant three times!” I wish I’d kept it quiet longer, but there’s kind of a Catch-22: If I don’t tell, I have to use the “oh, I’m not feeling well” line for a lot longer than it’s plausible. In some ways it was a relief to explain why I’m ill, tired, and kind of crazy–and that it’s all temporary.

      • The SAME thing happened to me! I’m in-house with all men and as soon as I told my boss I was pregnant, I started getting the softball projects. Especially towards the end of my pregnancy, he would always tell me that he didn’t want to “overwhelm” me! I wanted to say, “Hey! I’m pregnant, not stupid!” It’s really frustrating and so ridiculous. I finally got so fed up with it that I stopped asking for more work and spent my “extra” time planning for my baby’s arrival.

    • Sorry to say it, but the same thing happened to me. I ended up telling way earlier than I wanted to when my boss caught me gagging into a trash can and thought I had gotten food poisoning from the division potluck. I blurted out that I was pregnant but asked him to keep it under wraps. He didn’t – choosing to reveal it in a staff meeting in front of everyone before I had even reached the 12-week mark (yes, he was a tool, for more than just this). After it became widely known I was pregnant, I started getting dropped off of long-term projects – no reference was ever made to the pregnancy but I heard through the grapevine that everyone expected me to quit after the baby came (which I had no intention of doing), and didn’t think I’d be around to see things through.
      I really, really recommend keeping the information to yourself as long as you possibly can – and that means telling NOBODY, because the only news that travels faster through a workplace than a pregnancy is a confirmed extramarital affair. It’s just better to be safe than sorry. I ended up sorry – I definitely feel I got involuntarily “mommy tracked” from the time people found out I was expecting.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I hate to be the lone jerk here, and maybe I would feel differently if I had kids, but why are you all surprised that you got taken off long term projects? If you know someone is taking a long vacation, going out for surgery, retiring, etc., you don’t assign them to tasks that they can’t finish. Even if you plan on coming back to work after the baby is born you are still missing a month and a half or so. Why would someone give you a project knowing they have to take it back? They give you stuff you can complete before your leave and then you get the long term stuff when you are back. Make sense to me and I don’t think it is discriminatory.

        • Yes, you would feel differently if you had kids. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

        • Litigation can take years, and sometimes very little happens in a couple months. I wasn’t taken off long term projects. I worked very diligently to transition major commitments to other lawyers in my office during the 10 weeks I was out. They were all supportive and happy to help because for YEARS I had always been the one to pitch in to help them, covering things while they were on vacation, sick, dealing with sick family members, etc. I expected to not be taken off of my cases because my job is not just busy work. I had invested, in some cases, years of my life in those cases, and I wasn’t easily replaceable just because I have a uterus and chose to use it.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            In your case, if nothing is expected to happen while you are out I don’t think you should be taken off. I’ll explain more where I was coming from. I am planning a two week overseas vacation in late December. If any cases come in that would likely be going strong at that time, I don’t expect to be put on them. I would consider it dishonest not to mention this planned vacation and do tons of work on a case with a December trial date and then in October, just mention “oh I will be out of the country.” I feel like all planned leave is the same in that regard. While a pregnancy may not be planned, you know approx. when you will be out and it makes sense for you and your employer to plan accordingly. I don’t think it is punishing you for having a uterus. If a guy was going out for surgery, to deal with sick family members, to go on vacation, he would likely be temporarily re-assigned too.

            For the record, I do think it was ridiculous to that one poster was taken off all Family Law cases. That is totally over the top.

        • I do have kids, and I was thinking the same thing. I was not surprised at all when I stopped being staffed on the long-term, interesting projects after I told everyone I was pregnant. why should they risk being left in the lurch when I go out?

    • I was the poster the other day. I got dropped off the paying projects and put back into the indigent defense work that I’d started out in. The partners are saying that it was a decision they had already made, but, please, one day after I announce my pregnancy? The real truth of it is they don’t want me taking on paying clients that I will have to abandon for 3 months after I give birth. Also, I won’t make any money for them while I am gone.

  12. I am 9 weeks with my first. I am 5’8″ with great ab muscles so I figured I could hide it for awhile. However, I was also 113 pounds when I got pregnant and there’s nowhere for it to go but out. I started popping last week really with a solid bump. I’m not telling anyone for another month, hopefully. This is interesting; thanks for the tips.

    • I bought everything 1-2 sizes up. Button-down shirts are quite forgiving esp if you blouse them or wear untucked.. Do NOT buy a bunch of empire shirts, it will make the bump more prominent. I am normally an 8 and bought suits in 10 and 12 which carried me through until I was ready to tell people.

      Also, lakeside, please eat enough as you go along – you are quite underweight as a starting point. Not meaning to be preachy, but I had several friends who started out underweight, and some of them tried to stay skinny while they were pregnant, with bad health results for their babies.

      • I know, I know! Believe me, I didn’t mean to lose so much and then get pg! An illness in the family combined with quitting the pill, and boom, I was 7 pounds lighter without trying. The good news is that I have already gained 5 pounds because having something in my stomach is the only thing keeping the nausea away! Thanks for your concern.

      • No offense to anyone but let’s keep judgments on height/weight ratios off this site. If anyone were to imply that X height and X weight was overweight, people would start to scream. It’s equally ill-placed to imply that X height and X weight is underweight. I know there are charts, averages, etc. etc. but ultimately everyone is different, bone structures can vary wildly from one person to another, and it is not anyone on here’s place to judge.

        • Thank you for saying that Anon, I totally agree.

        • I agree, but make no mistake – many, many people have NO problem implying that X height and X weight are overweight. Or, in fact, saying it straight out to the subject’s face in exceedingly cruel ways. Nobody is winning here.

          • I don’t care what the person’s frame is like, a weight of 113 at 5 foot 8 is incredibly thin, and a BMI of 17.2. Under 18.5 is underweight. This matters not only for one’s own health (risk of osteopenia etc etc) but also for the health of the baby, if one is pregnant. Unfortunately, some very thin/underweight people that I have known have continued to undereat throughout their pregnancies. Their babies were born early and each of the babies has significant health problems. It is a real risk to start out underweight and then not eat enough during pregnancy.

          • K, but you can’t assume that someone is that weight because they undereat – there are many many skinny people with high metabolisms who eat all the time and still can’t keep more weight on – my mother was when she was my age, and so is a college friend of mine… Both of whom have given birth to full term healthy babies… So please don’t assume that all skinny skinny women are undereating necessarily…

          • This is true. I don’t undereat, I just have a hard time keeping weight on. And there is no underlying medical condition. I run, I do some weight training, my metabolism is fast. But I am underweight and have been warned about gaining enough weight during pregnancy. So both sides have points.

  13. One caveat to all the loose-fitting top advice:

    If you don’t already wear a lot of empire-waist, tunic, flowy-style tops, the shift in wardrobe alone is a dead giveaway even if your bump is concealed. I’ve seen a lot of women try this “trick” and it’s pretty obvious.

    It’s kind of like the girl who suddenly starts wearing full-suits on a regular basis when, previously, she’d been pretty faithful to the business casual dress code – she doesn’t have to say a word for everyone to know she’s secretly interviewing…

    Ultimately, there’s only so much you can do to hide it, so don’t stress too much. Hopefully your coworkers have sense enough not to ask you if you’re pregnant and wait for you to reveal your news on your own schedule.

    • This one drives me crazy. I wore a suit twice this month and both times was asked if I were interviewing. The reality was that I had after-work commitments that mandated a professional attire, not interviews.

      It’s amazing how difficult it is to make the transition into a slightly nicer wardrobe from business casual.

    • just thought if you are “business casual” person you could swap to suits and everyone would be so busy gossiping about you going for interviews or trying to get a promotion that they wouldnt notice the bump!

  14. layers. and buy a few top layers a size or two up, you’ll need them for the first month or two back to work anyhow (well, unless you are better at working out on maternity leave than I was!) sweaters work well – blouses are hard because your bust is likely growing too and will only continue to grow. I agree with wearing blazers over it all – makes it harder to tell what’s going on underneath. The Bella Bands were great for me – no one ever noticed.

    for morning sickness, if its more than normal, ask for medicine – I was losing weight because I couldn’t keep anything down, so I got Zofran, which didn’t help my appetite but made the days bearable.

  15. Slightly off topic rant – I’m about 18 weeks and have been telling people in the last few weeks. I can’t tell you how many times peers who are not particularly close friends have asked me if it was planned. It was, but really is it any of your business?! Any thoughts on how to handle this obnoxious question?

    • I swear, other people’s pregnancies really do bring out the socially-inept. In droves.

      I’d probably go with a nice stare and a “What an odd question.” and then I’d just continue on with the conversation (or not) as if they hadn’t asked me anything.

      Congratulations btw :)

      • Depending on how polite you are feeling, you can simply say “oh, we’re very excited” (this is super polite and non-responsive, so non-responsive in fact that people should get the point), or “why?” Whatever you say, you are correct that it is no one’s business. I’d probably use the first one if a boss-type-person asked.

      • Anonymous :

        I would be incredibly pissed if someone responded in this way to me, regardless of if the question was rude – there is no need to insult the asker – they are probably just trying to be interested. I don’t have kids and don’t plan on having any, so when people tell me they are pregnant I have no idea what to say. Usually, congratulations, followed by an awkward silence that I try to fill by asking some question, so if someone accidentally offends you, maybe you should be more understanding and appreciate the fact that they care.

        • They are just trying to be interested? In what, the mom-to-be’s birth control method? WTH?

          I think this answer is perfect, but another alternative is, “why do you ask?” It puts the awkwardness back in the other party’s court, where it belongs.

        • If you were pissed because I answered with “we’re so excited” or “why?” instead of telling you, I wouldn’t care.

          • Anonymous :

            I wasnt reply to your comment, but the one above that suggested saying “What an odd question.”

        • How about: When are you due? How are you feeling? Are your families excited? That sounds wonderful.

          There are so many simple ways to respond to this statement, but yet some how people manage to find the rudest responses ever!

          My department secretary said: Oh, i thought you were going to wait a while. Then followed up with: i guess i didn’t know you were trying. As if my husband and i’s “trying” is any of her business. I didn’t know i needed to tell the office “Hey my husband and i are going to try and make a baby tonight incase anyone needed to know that!”

        • Anonymous :

          Seriously? I don’t want kids either, but I still know what to say when I find out someone else is pregnant. It happens all the time. Options include: congratulations, when are you due, do you know the sex, how are you feeling, did you pick out names.

          • Actually, people get a bit touchy on some of those too (sex, names) – and don’t feel it’s your business. So I’d stick to asking about due date, or general enthusiasm like “wow, that’s very exciting” unless they are really looking to share details with you or prolong the conversation.

          • Anonymous :

            EVA’s response highlights the point. Everyone has different versions of what is offensive. Trying to make someone feel awkward for asking a question doesn’t help anyone. To some people, if the women is married, it is no big deal whether the pg was planned or not, so, the the asker, it is just an innocent question like when are you due.

          • Anonymous :

            I actually get really annoyed with those comments as mine was unplanned and baby is being put up for adoption, so I am not naming him

    • My gut instinct is that, although it really isn’t any of their business and that’s kind of a rude question to ask (what if the answer was no and the person was having a hard time coming to terms with it?!?!), you should just say something along the lines of “Oh of course! We/I always wanted to have kids.” And then try to move the conversation along to something else. Otherwise, even though you know that you planned the pregnancy, saying something snippy back about how it’s none of their business might give the impression that you didn’t plan the pregnancy and are feeling bitter or induce comments about how you’re having pregnancy “mood swings” and give people something to gossip about.

      • That’s a good one– we always wanted children.

      • Thanks ladies. I’m glad that I’m not just hormonally nutsy for thinking that it is a rude question.

        @CL – that is what I’ve been doing, although not for the well thought out reasons that you articulate. It has simply been truth born of the shock that someone actually asked me that!

        • People are such idiots. It doesn’t really help us to treat them as such though, because *we’ll* be the ones labeled as “hormonal” and touchy. Easier just to give a quick answer (or non-answer) and leave it at that.

          This type of question is similar to other comments I’ve received. One of my female co-workers actually said to me “I can’t believe how big you are! My sister’s due a month ahead of you, and you look a trimester ahead of her!”. Seriously. Now how do you respond to that? And I think I look quite good (if quite round) thank-you-very-much.

          It’s also like the people who ask when you are going to have a kid/have another, etc. Another of my female co-workers asked me when was I going to have another kid, and that question just happened to come right after my fourth miscarriage. Now, the question didn’t upset me, but what if it had? What if I had started bawling right there? People just don’t think!

          • I would love to hear childless people’s responses to the constant questions about “are you planning to have kids?” from people at work. I am in the legal field, in a male-dominated practice area, and even though they know they shouldn’t ask, it seems like every one of my co-workers does. Whether it’s by choice or for medical reasons, it’s none of their business when and if I have kids.
            I’ve been telling people who ask that I don’t plan to have kids, just to avoid being “mommy tracked” before I’m even a mommy!
            Also, while I’m ranting, does anyone else who is childless get annoyed when someone tries to tell you about how great your firm is for working mothers? I KNOW they aren’t telling that to the childless men in my class.

          • When I was asked that (extremely inappropriate) question time and again, I always answered with a kind of dodgy, “Oh, I don’t know…we’ll cross that bridge when we get there… focusing on XYZ right now!” kind of non-answer. Kind of an, Oh my, never considered that one before! kind of answer. That way you can never be held to anything. Because no doubt that if you go around telling people that you don’t plan to have kids, and then you do end up having one, people have long memories and will remind you that you didn’t plan to have kids. Even if it was never true in the first place. And you’ll probably get some of those “Was it planned?” questions to boot.

            People telling you about how great the firm is for working mothers probably really think they’re being helpful, because some people would welcome the information. Not that there isn’t a double standard, of course, and not that it isn’t annoying, particularly if you’re not in that frame of mind.

          • anonymous :

            Anon – I would just be honest and say “no, I’m not interested in having kids, I’m not really a kid person”. I don’t care if that sounds a little bad, at least it’s honest.

            Fortunately as I’m single I don’t get this question very often. The other comments above make me so sad though, and at the same time very glad that people in my office are discrete and nice (and really not that chatty — who has time for all this chit-chat anyways?)

          • The funniest comment I got when I told co-workers I was pregnant was, “Do you know who the father is?” I gave the asker a funny look and replied, “Yes, my husband.”

          • I would just say no. It’s just easier. With me, it has the added benefit of being true, but anyone who has ever seen me around a child easily figures that out (kids freak me out and I don’t find babies cute. I’m a weird female, apparently).

          • I am in my early 30s and I have a 13 year old, but people always ask if/when I’m having more. I usually respond with a firm, “Hell no.” Gets the point across, even though some people might find it a bit offensive, but it generally stops the follow up conversation on how I’ll change my mind because I’ll miss having a baby around. Usually, “That’s why we got a puppy” stops that one!

          • when the guys I work with (and all my coworkers are guys, there is a HR lady in another state otherwise its top to bottom blokes) ask me questions that they clearly are only asking because I’m a woman I just out them on it. when they ask if I want kids, I say, is that something you ask everyone or am I getting special treatment for being a woman? or I say “is that something you’ve ever asked X coworker?” Dont be rude, but remember guys are clueless 90% of the time. they dont mind you just telling them its none of their business and that either way it would have no effect on your work committments. unfortunately in a world where they’ve never had to deal with women inthe work place you have to be the one to teach them how to treat you. Its like making love, you want them to do X, you gotta ask for it and when you do they LOVE it because they aren’t lost anymore.

      • I’d be nervous about saying it was planned, for some reason, if the question came up from someone very senior. You have a right to make reproductive choices and it doesn’t have to reflect at all on your committment to your company/firm, but the fact is a lot of this business is about perception and I’d be worried they’d take it the wrong way – like you’re angling for an exit strategy or something…

        I know that sounds terrible, and it shouldn’t be that way, but that was my first reaction.

        • I agree with this. Of course many/most professional women who are pregnant will have planned their pregnancies, but there are so many things related to waiting to tell that make the whole pregnancy process seem somehow “sneaky” that I wouldn’t want another element of “sneakiness” thrown in (i.e., not only have I been pregnant for 3-4 months and hid it from you, but I was PLANNING it in advance!). I don’t agree with this attitude at all, but I think that’s the way things are.

        • I work in tax. It is expected that you plan your pregnancies.

      • I had a friend who did not plan on being preg (at 39) and took time to come to terms with it. Asking her if it was ‘planned’ would just bring up all her issues…regardless of asker’s intentions.

        • My mother had an “oops” baby at an older-than-typical age. Someone had the gall to ask her, “What are you going to do?” To which my mother bewilderingly replied, “Love her like I love the rest of my children?”

    • If you’re feeling nervy, stare them dead in the eye and with a straight face ask them, “Why do you ask?” and let them squirm… because they should.

      If not, just gloss over with a breezy “so excited” and change the topic

    • I have to say–and I don’t have kids yet–that this is the first question that pops into mind if someone I know tells me they are pregnant and we aren’t close enough for me to know if they were trying. Of course, the fact that we are not close enough for me to know if they were trying means we are not close enough for me to ask this question!! So I bite my tongue. Even though sometimes it is hard and I really really want to know. Sigh. I guess I am nosy.

      • RoadWArriorette – who actually tells people they’re ‘trying’?!! I think that question is a rude one to ask, and TMI to answer!!

        • S – almost all of my girlfriends have told me when they were trying.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I don’t want kids so I am always curious b/c the thought of my birth control failing is terrifying.

          • Exactly! All of my close girlfriends have told me they were trying. That’s why I figure, anyone who hasn’t actually told me they were trying is not a close enough friend for me to ask the question.

            And S, you are so right–it IS rude to ask–which is why I don’t.

          • I had to tell my boss we were trying because we did IVF and some unfortunate timing (my body, and a trial that went longer than it should have) meant that I had to be out of a trial I was second chairing for a couple hours one morning. So, sometimes you do have to tell!

    • I have twins, so I got asked flat out how they were conceived. I just tried to judge the situation and why they were asking. If I thought they were being rude, I’d occasionally respond by asking if we were going to talk about how everyone conceived their children or just me. More often than not, people just don’t realize what’s coming out of their mouth until it’s too late.

  16. careful on the empire waist tops. i have a coworker who bought a bunch recently b/c she though they were cute and her tummy is not her favorite part of her body, and another coworker accosted her wanting to know if she is pregnant. (she is NOT.)

    • Ouch…which brings us to the second reason why you never, ever ask a woman if she is pregnant unless she is unmistakeably within sight of her due date (the first, of course, being that she might not be ready to tell yet).

    • I had a coworker who returned from maternity leave only to be asked by someone who worked in the building at a different office when she was EVER going to have that baby because it seemed like she had been pregnant forever.

    • A few years ago a well meaning store clerk asked when I was due… I was not pregnant.

      After spending an hour fruitlessly searching for a dress that would fit/slenderize I was already on edge – I burst into tears, and left the items I had planned to purchase on the counter — Just another low point for the fat girl… Never, ever ask – I don’t care how certain you are.

      Unless you’re at her baby shower, or she has said “I’m pregnant” just keep your mouth shut.

      • LOL!

        • Also, I thought you were a size small belt? Must carry your weight at your stomach?

          • Wow Anon, how rude! If you had been following this blog at all, which obviously you haven’t, you would know that she recently lost a lot of weight after some time being heavier. Even if she had not lost weight, your comment is totally uncalled for and unwelcome here. Please take your snarkiness elsewhere!

          • Anon 2 – glad someone has name recall — and yes, I did lose a lot of weight — and at the time that happened I was approximately size 14 – 16.

            Anon 2 is so so correct – making remarks like that is easy behind the internet’s anonymity, but they are uncalled for, and frankly, more than a little rude.

      • Even at a baby shower, you should be sure…my sister was adopting a little girl, and we threw her a baby shower.

        About half way through the party, a friend of my mother’s whispered to my sister “why are we having the shower so early? You don’t look like you could be more than 24 weeks along…” She was mortified when she realized what she had said, and remembered that my sister was adopting. We still laugh about it with her, but my sister threw away the dress she was wearing that day.

    • A coworker and I were at a different office from usual, and one of our contacts asked her if she was pregnant. I started sputtering, (because WOW that is rude) trying to say something like, we had nachos for lunch so we’re bloated, etc…. Turns out my coworker WAS pregnant but not ready to share. And she also thought it was very rude.

  17. You can definitely buy tops that are more fitted around the ribcage and flowy at the bottom without the empire, if that’s not your thing. I bought some casual knit ones at Old Navy. Blouses, unless boxy all over, might be harder.

  18. Here are my tips for hiding the bump from a 35 weeker who still tries to minimize the bump while at work –
    1) Stick with solid dark colors for your base. Black pants and a black slightly fitted top have a very slimming effect. If black isn’t your color brown, navy, grey, etc work fine too. This really applies to everyone, but can really help hide a bump.
    2) Layer with loose sweaters and jackets – I loved the swing style cardigans when I was still trying to hide the bump, but you can get the same effect by just buttoning the top button or 2 of a regular cardi too.
    3) Look for normal dresses. I’ve purchased both maternity and non-maternity dresses and by far the marernity ones highlight the belly far more than the regular ones. I’ve had a lot of luck at Macys and find that the poly blend dresses are the best because they stretch. Same rule goes for tops too! I can still wear some of my non maternity tunics and I don’t look nearly as pregnant as I should in them.
    4) Go through your closet now and find every item that you can possible wear (cardigans, empire cut tops, tunics) and put them to the front and wear them! People didn’t question me while I was still wearing my regular clothes but started taking notice when I started showing up with different looking clothing. I also did this to avoid looking like I was stuffing myself into clothes that no longer fit, which will def draw attention.
    5) Get creative with scarves. I personally love scarves and would wear them looped longer with the tails hanging longer to hide the bump. This doesn’t work as well if you don’t normally do scarves, but if you do, it’s an easy way to draw the eye away from the belly.
    Hope these help! And congrats on Baby #2!

    • I totally agree with JSB! I hid my bump and tried to minimize the I-swallowed-a-beach-ball look by wearing black pants, a black cami, and a cardigan all the time. You tend to look smaller (once you do really start showing) when you wear things that are fitted rather than loose.

      I also wore scarves ALL the time. They draw the eyes up to your face rather than your belly and are great for hiding the extra cleavage that inevitably comes along with the bump! Old Navy has some great spring scarves that are light weight, jersey material.

  19. Re the morning sickness…one of the best things I did was tell my secratary early on (like 8 weeks or so). she was able to cover for me a little bit if I was hiding in the restroom or had to go outside for fresh air. (or the one day where i had to close my door and rest my head on my desk for a bit).

    • Anonymous :

      Must be lovely to have a Secretary you trust so much!

      • It was! Unfortunately since I recently changed jobs, I wont have that sort of backup the next time around.

  20. I’ve found that sheath dresses are my favorite (not structured; I love my floaty silk sheath). I think people are right, empire waist tops can definitely scream maternity if they’re not in your normal rotation. Floaty shirts with a structured jacket are a more natural transition.


  1. […] work through your first trimester — and over at Corporette we’ve talked about ways to hide a baby bump — but it’s been far too long in either place since we’ve talked about work […]