Sporting a bump at the beach? Make a splash in a flattering suit.

By Terri Isidro-Cloudas
October 03, 2005
pregnant woman pool workout
Credit: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Just when you thought swimsuit shopping couldn't get any more stressful, you now have to dress a growing baby bump. Here’s how to find a suit that 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: Has pregnancy increased your bust size so much that you feel a bit self-conscious? De-emphasize and flatter a large bust 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 detract from your bust.

Large hips: To take attention away from 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 an option that offers a stripe or design along the bust area to draw the eye upward. Alternately, try a suit with a short skirt to flatter 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 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.

Comfort Tips for Maternity Swimsuits

Don’t let your growing belly make you uncomfortable! With these tips, you’ll be able to wear your swimsuit all day long.

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.

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.

American Baby