How To Hide Your Pregnant Body in the First Trimester

Don't want anyone to know you're carrying precious cargo? Here's how to keep your pregnancy under wraps.

To tell or not to tell? That is the question for every pregnant woman. Many mothers-to-be keep their pregnancy private for at least the first trimester, whether it's due to concerns about miscarriage or complications at work. If you're still not quite ready to share your news with the world, here's how to physically hide your burgeoning bump and your early pregnancy symptoms.

Hiding a Bloated First Trimester Belly

Hiding your pregnancy may not be easy. In the first trimester, hormones cause bloating and relax your stomach muscles. What results is a "pre-bump" that looks like you've put on a couple of pounds. You can banish the pregnancy bloat with these simple wardrobe tricks.

Avoid form-fitting clothing. If you're not ready to highlight your belly, avoid wearing tight shirts, pants, and dresses. "Stick with clothes that look drape-y or deconstructed. Think flowy or slouchy," advises Amy Tara Koch, a style expert and author of Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy Into the Ultimate Style Statement. She suggests choosing a top with side-ruching or playing it safe with tunics. Empire-waisted items, which cinch underneath the bust, are "the magic silhouette" for pregnancy, says Koch.

Balance your outfit. Always pair loose items with form-fitting items for a proportional look. "If you wear something blouse-y on the top, wear something more fitted on the bottom," Koch says. "If you wear something big on the top and the bottom, you'll look ten pounds heavier." Bottoms like leggings, black tights, and skinny jeans are perfect options to keep your outfit proportional.

Add a scarf. When draped strategically, a scarf can also hide your pregnant belly. "Scarves are so easy to pop on—and they make you look longer, leaner, and taller" Koch says. She advises trying an oversized length for thrown-on glamour. "Don't wrap it more than once," she says. "And leave it hanging down." Black and blue scarfs can visually slim the body, while a brightly printed scarf adds a pop of color.

Accessorize with face-framing jewelry. "Accessories are styling tools," Koch says. They can draw attention to body parts you love—and take it away from places you're uncomfortable showing. If you're trying to hide your burgeoning bump, for example, Koch suggests bringing attention to your face and away from the belly. Something to consider is bigger earrings like hoops, chandeliers, or anything that goes below the earlobe. "I think gold is more powerful than silver or black," Koch says. "And stones work too."

Drop your neckline. You obviously don't have to display plentiful cleavage, but showing a little décolletage can draw attention from your midsection. Koch advises that you try shirts with scoop necks, V-necks, or boat necks.

photo illustration of woman wearing scarf, tunic and leggings against cracker patterned background
Illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Getty Images (2)

Keeping Morning Sickness a Secret

While some women may not "show" much during the first trimester, symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and exhaustion that can be hard to keep from others. Your best defense? A ready excuse, says Juli Fraga, Psy.D., a psychologist in San Francisco who specializes in maternal mental health.

"Nothing is worse than getting caught with a bad case of morning sickness when you're not ready to spill the news, but remember, you've always got an out. Pregnancy isn't the only thing that makes someone feel seasick," says Fraga. A believable response if a coworker walks into a shared bathroom while you're having a bout: "My partner had the stomach flu and I think I have it too," or just a simple, "Ugh, must be something I ate!"

If you don't think a simple excuse will silence your more suspicious coworkers, here are a few more tricks that should work like magic.

Be strategic with pregnancy products. Acupressure wristbands can help ward off morning sickness—but slide those on and you might as well wear a neon sign around your neck that says, "I'm pregnant!" One type that isn't quite as obvious are the retro-cool Psi Bands ($15, for stores) that are made of plastic in cute patterns. They look a bit like the slap-bracelets of the '80s or wrist cuffs of the '90s. Pregnant or just channeling Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell? No one will ever know!

Always have crackers on hand. Snacking on something bland and easy to digest, like a cracker, can stop a bout of morning sickness in its tracks. At the very least, crackers will soothe your nausea enough to help you get through a meeting at work, says mom of four and M.D. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson . She recommends keeping two-cracker packs of Saltines (the ones you sometimes see at restaurants) in your desk and purse. Other solid options bets include sour candies, mints, and spearmint gum.

Sip something soothing. The smell and taste of peppermint tea can be energizing and calming to a sour stomach. The same goes for ginger, so try some ginger tea or make it yourself with this simple recipe from Heidi A. Fowler, M.D., a mom and psychiatrist in Newport, Rhode Island: Pour boiling water over freshly sliced organic ginger and steep for 5 minutes in a covered pot.

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