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How to Choose a Maternity Swimsuit

Swimsuit season is here and you're pregnant. But there's no reason to worry -- take pride in your pregnant body, and find a suit that flatters and feels comfortable no matter what your body type.

Short legs: To flatter your legs, wear a suit with higher-cut leg openings. Your legs will seem longer because the higher cut draws the eye upward, and in revealing part of your lower hip it creates the illusion of length.

Large bust: If pregnancy has increased your bust size so much that you feel a bit self-conscious, you can de-emphasize and flatter a large bustline with a suit that has a high neck and a supportive shelf or cup bra. A suit with a dark-colored top and a light-colored bottom will further de-emphasize your bust.

Large hips: To de-emphasize your hips, wear a suit with low-cut leg openings that offer the most hip coverage. Go for a solid, dark color for the bottom half of your suit. Look for a suit that offers a stripe or design along the bust area to draw the eye upward. Alternately, try a suit with a short skirt to de-emphasizes your hip area.

Small bust: If you want to create cleavage, wear a suit with a V-neck and underwire support or a halter-style top that lifts the bust. To generally enhance your bustline, wear a suit with a ruffle, texture, stripes, or sparkles along the bust. Avoid high-neck suits because they tend to press breasts down.

Bold patterns: Generally speaking, avoid bold and large patterns when you're pregnant. Go with smaller prints, colorful piping, and horizontal stripes along or just under the bust (but only if you want to enhance your bust) instead.

Bright colors: Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you should fade into the background! Don't be afraid to wear a bathing suit with bright colors. But choose a suit with blocks of color, or one solid bright color rather than wild patterns that overwhelm.

1. Your suit should offer plenty of support in the bust and tummy region, without squeezing or pinching. Look for fabrics that have a thin mesh lining because that offers extra support.

2. If you buy a suit with an underwire bra, check that the wire is well-padded so it doesn't cut into your skin. Similarly, if the suit has a shelf bra make sure the elastic isn't too tight.

3. Choose a suit that fits your torso properly. The straps shouldn't dig into your shoulders. If that happens, the suit is definitely too short for your torso.

4. Make sure you're comfortable with the amount of coverage your suit offers. There's nothing more annoying than a suit that keeps riding up or shifting, and that you have to tug at constantly. Your suit should comfortably cover your bottom and bust as you move, bend, and sit.

5. A good suit will have leg openings that fit comfortably without squeezing. If the elastic is too tight, it will cause marks and chafing. Look for elastic that holds, but doesn't cut.

6. If the suit has straps, make sure they're adjustable and have adequate padding. This is especially important if your breasts are large, because the straps can cut painfully into your shoulders if they're not properly padded or adjusted.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.