Angelique Serrano's baby bump

How I Creatively Dressed My Second Trimester Bump

I thought that because I had already birthed a baby some two years ago that I knew what would happen to my body during my second pregnancy. I was wrong. This time, it felt like the physical changes that were occurring were happening in fast-forward. My bump was visible, growing fast, and dressing around it became a daily puzzle.

Every weekday morning, after my husband grabbed my hands and slowly helped get me out of bed, I would sleepily sip on a cup of decaffeinated coffee and stare into my closet. Figuring out what to wear to my New York City publishing job felt like a chore. During my second trimester, I wanted to try and make as much of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe work. But my options were shrinking.

During my second trimester, I wanted to try and make as much of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe work. But my options were shrinking.

I had saved some key maternity pieces from my first pregnancy that I wore again, like a few flowy tops and elastic-waist skirts. But I loved wearing dresses and had collected many over the years. And since my second pregnancy started in the spring, I was able to go into the office throughout the summer wearing my old dresses with one minor adjustment: I'd wear the waistline above my bump. Sometimes I would even use a slim belt to create a visible waistline above my bump; I’d wrap it just below my rib cage and give the dress a modified silhouette that left my lower half unrestricted.

The trick created comfortable, cute looks that gave my belly and hips the freedom to move and grow through the weeks. I took a similar approach with my skirts; I would fasten the waist above my bump so it would look like I was wearing a high-waisted skirt. I’d tuck in a shirt, add a blazer and have a chic outfit for work.

Another key piece that got me through both pregnancies: the wrap dress. Thankfully I already had a few of these in my closet, and I wore them regularly. The adjustable wrap-tie waist allowed my chest and belly to grow throughout the months, while giving my body definition and shape. And they’re easy to wear after giving birth, or while nursing; they once again allow a body to change and adjust in size.

Pants were a different story. In this second pregnancy, I wanted to avoid anything that made me feel constricted below the waist. I hated the feeling of fabric clinging around my legs and so, while the weather was warm, I lived in dresses and skirts.

However, I had one pair of pants that I could tolerate wearing, a hold-over from my first pregnancy: They were straight-leg black denim with an elastic waistband, and they were magic. I somehow was able to wear them throughout my second and third trimesters. The waist was so stretchy, the fabric so giving and comfortable, and I was so grateful for them.

I would pair these bump-friendly pants with long-fitted T-shirts, or tops that reached low enough to cover my belly and waistline. They gave me a put-together look in minutes.   

Overall, I was trying to avoid spending money on new pieces that I’d only wear for a few months, and that drive definitely spurred my creativity. I even went as far as to fashion a skirt out of an oversized men’s shirt: I buttoned it up about two-thirds of the way, stepped into the shirt through the neck hole, pulled it up over my bump, tied the arms cutely around my waist and there I had it. It actually looked like a cool, architectural skirt. It was a pregnancy trick I used often.

A body part I really didn’t expect would change much was my feet. They remained pretty much the same throughout my first pregnancy, but this time around they started swelling in my second trimester, and I was not equipped to deal with it.

The backstory: I absolutely loved high-heel shoes—and still do! Nearly every pair of shoes in my closet has three or four-inch heels (or higher). In my fifth month, I would cram my toes into pointy stilettos, wedge my knuckles into narrow pumps, and balance my heels on what felt like toothpicks every day.

My high-heeled shoes made me happy, but if I was honest with myself, they weren’t making me happy right at that moment.

I refused to let go of my heels. Until one day, someone made a comment about my feet. It was silly and inconsequential, but it almost made me cry. I was embarrassed. But it made me think, and reflect on what exactly I was trying to prove.

My high-heeled shoes made me happy, but if I was honest with myself, they weren’t making me happy right at that moment. And so, I pulled out my flats and my sneakers and let my feet plant on the ground. I was more stable, sure, but the act in my mind meant something bigger. It meant that I was giving myself a break. And I began making more of these types of choices that were focused on my comfort, like going to bed super early and leaning on a few key clothing options. I’d be back in my heels soon enough, I told myself. In the meantime, why not take care to make sure I reached the finish line in comfort?

By Angelique Serrano
Angelique Serrano is an independent journalist, award-nominated writer, reporter, and editor. She specializes in beauty, wellness, and lifestyle content, and has expanded into parenting, family, and health. Her work has been published in many publications, both print and digital.