Maternity dress styles – for pregnancy and nursing

The first thing you need to ask yourself is, do I want a regular maternity dress or a maternity/nursing dress? A nursing dress limits your style options quite a lot. Although, it does give the dress a longer life in your maternity wardrobe. If you’re looking for a regular maternity dress, just keep reading. Do you want a dress that can double as a nursing dress scroll down to the headline Nursing dress styles.

Maternity dress styles

As I mentioned above, the nursing dresses are limited in style for obvious reasons. The maternity dresses are on the other hand not. They are just like any other dress you can imaging, but with some extra baby room. I will split them in to 2 categories.

Number 1: dresses that accentuate your beautiful belly, and

Number 2: dresses that divert attention from that area.

Want to give the bump some attention?

If you want to show of your belly in a lovely way, here are a few tips and suggestions to get inspired by.

Hugs the bump in the right way

One way to show of a baby bump is to wear something form-fitting and solid hued. This maternity dress has those ruched sides that give us a nice silhouette all through the pregnancy. The lovely ruffled off shoulder gives the dress, and you, that little extra oumph. This bestseller comes in 15 colors!

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tight maternity dress

A flexible dress

If you’re looking for a nice dress to wear on weekdays I think this is a cute choice. It’s comfortable and yet stylish. These kinds of dresses are easy to mix with tons of jackets, shoes, and accessories you already have.

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tight maternity dress

For that wow moment

Are you looking to get your bump all dressed up? This is a dress that won’t be overlocked. It has jacquard spot pattern, v-neck, tie-back fastening, drape details, tie waist, layered skirt and ruffle and picot trims. Phew. Did I mention I’m kind of in love with it?

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pink party maternity dress

A fitted plus size maternity dress

A lot of the plus size maternity dresses available are loose fitting, flowy and layered. Pinkblush usually does have a couple of fitted ones, but not always what we might be looking for. I do recommend checking out ASOS as well. They have plus size maternity dresses up to size 16, but also ASOS Curve & Plus size have maternity friendly styles. They do have a couple more if you don’t like this one. Just head over there and browse away.

Fitted plus size maternity dresses on →

fitted plus size maternity dress

Want to hide your bump a bit?

If you rather tone down your pregnancy check out these maternity dress styles.

Hide it in style

This might be the ultimate pregnancy AND nursing dress. In the early days the tie waist band, loose fit and the v-neck and length (keeps focus away from tummy area) will work together to hide a pregnancy. Later in the pregnancy there’s plenty of room to grow. And finally, after the arrival it’s easy to breastfeed in (while looking fabulous). I love the pink color that will feel super fresh in spring and summer, but there are several other colors to choose from.

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hide your baby bump in a nursing friendly dress

With room to grow

If you want to keep your pregnancy on the down low for a bit longer a dress with a flowy fit and a pattern that tricks the eye is a great choice. Maxi dresses also never seem to be of trend, and they offer lots of room to grow. This one comes in 22 different colors.

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lace maternity maxi dress

Confuse with a pattern

I chose this dress because it’s cute, versatile (just accessories), has a big pattern that hides a bump and helps to bring focus to neck and legs (instead of belly). It doesn’t hurt that it’s very cute and works just as well for work and fun. If you’re not into navy blue, go for the white or blue option.

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maternity dress with pattern

Plus size maternity dress styles

This is a great example of a maternity friendly design for a dress. It’s not a maternity dress but it’s perfect for maternity. You will be able to wear it (and look fantastic) all through your pregnancy. It’s available in up to sizes up to 26.

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maternity friendly plus size dress

Nursing dress styles

There are essentially 5  dress styles with great nursing function. That doesn’t sound like much but they come in a wide variety so I’m sure you can find more than one you like. Maybe even love. I got a couple of maternity and nursing dresses I still wear when I’m back to my regular self.

Lift-up access

This style should be avoided if you don’t have much of a waist. This is because in most cases the top will give the impression of an even straighter figure. But there are a lot of different options and if you want one, look for a dress with tight top.

Overall, I’m not super impressed by this style as I find it to be a little tricky. You have to lift up the top and separate the fabric. That takes two hands if the flap doesn’t stay up by itself. Then you also have to hold it up with your chin. I’m sure some people like it, maybe I’m just doing it wrong?

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striped nursing dress

Fold-down access

It will probably be really easy for you to find a fold-down dress you like, because there are so many beautiful ones to choose from. A lot of these dresses have v-necks. That is not super flattering if you have a small chest as the neckline elongates. If you got a small chest and still want a v-neck, go for a high cut one.

If you on the other hand are big busted, a fold-down nursing dress is the prefect choice. And a lot of us do while we breastfeed.

The great thing about this maternity dress style is that it can be used even after pregnancy. It’s very forgiving and perfect for the post partum body.

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nursing dress post partum

Secret double layer

A lot of double layered nursing dresses also have the v-neck as there usually are some kind of knot function. Read about the fold-down access style to learn more about what the v-neck does for you figure.

I would probably choose a fold-down option if I had the chance as they are easier to use. You just pull it down. No need to tie and untie something while trying to maneuver a hungry baby. Although, if the dress is pretty enough it might just be worth the hassle.

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maternity nursing polka dot dress

Any dress with a zipper

A zipper is another favorite of mine. When it is well placed and go far enough you can get any kind of dress you want. It doesn’t have to be a nursing dress. Usually you can find cheaper options if you widen the horizon a bit.

It also offers a great deal of variety to the maternity dress and it can be super discrete. That makes it possible to wear a dress that isn’t so obvious. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t necessarily looks like a maternity or nursing dress (unless you’re still pregnant of course). A zipper is also something that is simple and quick to handle.

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nursing dress with zipper

Anything with buttons

It took me two pregnancies to realize that anything with buttons works great as nursing wear. It isn’t as fast as a zipper but it works. And I think buttons can be both stylish and cute.

This trendy button dress comes in lots of different colors and patterns. You can get it with long or short sleeves.

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button dress for nursing

Tips for a slimming look

For both of my pregnancies it wasn’t just the baby growing. I put on a few extra kilos as well. And my hips widened. Everyone keeps telling you that it’s ok, it’s normal and healthy. But it doesn’t always feel great when taking a look in the mirror, or trying to get into some recently too tight clothes. I can’t help you with the clothes being too tight. But I can help with your reflection. There are clothes and cuts that makes us look slimmer.

Slimming designs and illusions

  • Vertical lines.
  • The color black.
  • Flare out pants, skirts and dresses.
  • Bright and bold colors that highlights your “good areas” (and draws attention from other parts)
  • The V-neck creates the illusion of a slimmer neck (great if you have a double chin). Just remember that it will put focus on your chest instead.
  • A blazer elongates you and hides your arms and sides. If you want a trifecta, try it with a V-neck and dark well fitting pants.
  • A narrow belt will make you waist look narrow and create a slim silhouette.
  • Wear underwear that fits. If they’re too tight they will create lines and bulging skin.
  • The same goes for your clothes, they should be the right size and fit your figure. Too small equals bulging areas. Too big will only make you look bigger than you are.

Most of these tips will also help you hide your bump for a bit longer. Head over here if you want more pointers on hiding a pregnancyHow to hide a pregnancy belly.