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Maternity Clothing- A Comprehensive Review
March 25, 2017
Joy Sarkar1 and Md. Shamsuzzaman Rasel2
1. Lecturer, Department of Textile Engineering, Khulna University of Engineering &
Technology (KUET), Bangladesh. 2. Department of Textile Engineering, World
University of Bangladesh.
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Maternity/ Pregnancy period
Pregnancy, also known as gravidity or gestation, is the state of being a mother; motherhood;
the feelings or characteristics associated with being a mother inside a woman [15]. It usually
lasts around 40 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP) and ends in childbirth [1516].
This is just over 9 lunar months, where each month is about 29½ days. Pregnancy is typically
divided into three trimesters [17].
Signs and Symbols/ problems during pregnancy
The symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy are those presentations and conditions that
result from pregnancy but do not significantly interfere with activities of daily living or pose
a threat to the health of the mother or baby [18-19]. Major symptoms and discomforts of
pregnancy include:
Tiredness
Constipation
Pelvic girdle pain
Back pain
ERV, expiratory reserve; FRC, Functional residual capacity; IC, Inspiratory capacity; IRV,
Inspiratory reserve; RV, residual volume; TLCm total lung capacity; TV, tidal volume; VC,
Vital capacity are found generally [20].
Fig: Lung Volumes in nonpermanent and pregnant women
Physiologic Changes during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is associated with normal physiological changes that assist fetal survival as well as
preparation for labour. It is important to know what ‘normal’ parameters of change are in
order to diagnose and manage common medical problems of pregnancy, such as
hypertension, gestational diabetes, anaemia and hyperthyroidism.
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1. Hormonal changes to an increase in minute ventilation to 50% greater than non-pregnant
levels [21]
2. Body Weight gain varies from person to person and can be anywhere from 5 pounds
(2.3 kg) to over 100 pounds (45 kg).
3. A woman’s breasts grow during pregnancy, usually 1 to 2 cup sizes [citation needed]and
potentially several cup sizes. [22-24]
4. During the course of pregnancy, blood volume slowly increases by 40-50%. The
increase is mainly due to an increase in plasma volume through increased aldosterone
[23]
5. During pregnancy the plasma volume increases by 50% and the red blood cell volume
increases only by 20-30% [25]
6. An increased requirement for nutrients is given by fetal growth and fat deposition.
Changes are caused by steroid hormones, lactogen, and cortisol.
7. Nutritionally, pregnant women require a caloric increase of 300 kcal/day and an increase
in protein to 70 or 75 g/day. There is also an increased folate requirement from 0.4 to
0.8 mg/day (important in preventing neural tube defects). On average, a weight gain of
20 to 30 lb (9.1 to 13.6 kg) is experienced [26-27]
8. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) commonly increases by 50%, returning to normal
around 20 weeks postpartum [25,28]
9. During pregnancy, woman can experience nausea and vomiting (morning sickness);
which may be due to elevated B-hCG and should resolve by 14 to 16 weeks
10. Thefetus inside a pregnant woman may be viewed as an unusually successful allograft,
since it genetically differs from the woman. In the same way, many cases of spontaneous
abortion may be described in the same way as maternal transplant rejection [29]
11. Pregnant women fall at a similar rate (27%) to women over age of 70 years (28%). Most
of the falls (64%) occur during the second trimester. Additionally, two-thirds of falls are
associated with walking on slippery floors, rushing, or carrying an object [30]
Progesterone has noticeable effects on respiratory physiology, increasing minute
ventilation by 40% in the first trimester [31] etc.
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Fig: Physiological changes during pregnancy
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Some of the incorporated features of Maternity Clothes [36]
A) Pattern styling features ( like godet, extension features, pattern shaping, appropriate
trims, placket etc)
1. Godet: it is a triangular wedge of fabric which is inserted between the seams to bring in
fullness. This is used to provide fullness in side seam of Kurta/ Kameez/ Tops/
Dungaree. The dimensions of the godet were designed so as to accommodate the growth
allowance as indicated in table. This fullness was controlled by using the trims i.e. zipper
or button or the shoe string arrangement.
2. Extension features (Like wrap around, Cowls, Side seam extension): These are
existed of blocks to bring in more fullness. They can be extensions of the front panel to
make warp around Kameez/ Kurta or on open unstitched out seam of trouser for making
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a warp around trouser. The extensions are built in on the stitched side seam of the
bifurcated garment which can be rolled to tie on the front.
3. The pattern shaping: The bifurcated garments are cut on low waist i.e. 2’’ 3’’ below
the waist line and further shaping is done by 2’’ on the centre front to reduce the front
crotch length.
4. Placket: Eyes are stitched at three different positions on the left front panel Placket
extension. Hook arrangement is provided on the right front panel of the Kurta/ Kameez.
Depending upon the demand on the waist position of the hook can be changed to close
with the relevant eye.
B) Construction features ( Like smocking, pleats etc )
1. Smocking and Gores (Panels): Gores (Panels) with elasticized smocking are used to
provide the much desired growth and also for styling. This features are generally used in
saree blouse where a gore panel is used under the arm and on the side seam and this
elasticized smocking gore (panel) provided the fullness to accommodate the growth on
bust during pregnancy and later lactation stage [37].
2. Pleat: It is a fold of fabric created by doubling cloth on itself. This features are used on a
Kurta or a Kameez (upper torso Garment). The pleat is positioned such that the top of
the pleat is at the bust base from where the maximum growth of the abdomen starts. The
growth on the abdomen will push against the fold of the fabric and the pleat will come
open to accommodate the growth. During pre and post pregnancy the fabric will fold
back to provide styling.
C) Fabrics selections ( Fabrics which are forgiving in nature)
Fabrics with stretch properties are selected to accommodate the anthropometric growth on
lower torso garments (i.e. salwar, churidar, trousers and skirts) and also to achieve longevity.
D) Innovation in supper garment (Top-cum-Poncho)
The top is designed in such a way that there is button placket on side seam of the front and
back panel and inseam of the sleeve. The front inseam of the sleeve could be unbuttoned with
the inseam of the back sleeve and side seam of the front could be buttoned with the side seam
of the back to give a top. The front inseam of the sleeve could be buttoned with the front side
seam of the top and the back inseam of the back side seam of the top to give a poncho.
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Steps-1: Get the timing down
During carrying a single pregnancy, probably won’t start to show until the second trimester.
For the first three months, most of clothes (except the tightest ones) will continue to fit. When
a women start to need larger clothing, the best strategy overall is to buy what it is needed.
Steps-2: Know what to look for
Most department stores have a maternity clothing section. It can also shop at specialty
maternity stores, which are likely to have a larger selection of styles and sizes. Because a lot
of women don’t need to hang onto their maternity clothing, consignment stores can also have
a wide selection of gently-used, still-trendy items.
Steps -3: Dress with confidence
There’s no need to hide in the tent-like dresses and sweaters. Embrace styles that will flatter a
new, glowing-with-life form.
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Steps-4: Planning on nursing, buy ahead
Recovering from childbirth and nursing a newborn can be exhausting, and the last thing will
want to do is to make a time and energy consuming shopping expedition [38-39].
Maternity Clothing Sizing
Maternity clothing designers usually label the sizes by pre-pregnancy sizes. For example, a
pregnant woman whose pre-pregnancy waist size is 30 would likely fit comfortably in a pair
of size 30 waist maternity pants. The maternity pants’ waist size is not actually 30 inches, but
they should fit a woman’s body whose normal waist size is 30 inches and will accommodate
her waist as it expands throughout her pregnancy. This same sizing applies to dresses, tops
and other clothing that follow different sizing conventions, such as XS to XL, 0 to 14 or plus
sizes.
Types of Maternity Clothes
Maternity clothing makes know this, and they sell specialty clothing of all types, including:
Tees
Tank Tops
Blouses
Sweaters
Jeans
Pants
Skirts
Dresses
Bras
Panties
Hosiery
Swimwear
Active Wear
Sleepwear
Belly Support Bands and Bra Extenders
1. Maternity Tops and Dresses
A woman’s belly, breasts and arms get larger during pregnancy, so it is essential to purchase
maternity tops and dresses to feel as comfortable as possible. Many different styles are
available, including tees, tank tops, blouses and sweaters and dresses. There’s no need to feel
frumpy in over-sized tees or sweatshirts.
2. Maternity Bottoms
The maternity bottoms that are flattering, comfortable and appropriate for all types of
situations are found. Don’t squeeze painfully into pre-pregnancy jeans when it looks great in
maternity bottoms, which have stretchy belly panels to allow for growing belly.
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3. Maternity Lingerie and Hosiery
One of the most important things that you can do to feel as comfortable as possible during the
pregnancy is to wear maternity lingerie that fits without rolling down or squeezing into body
skin. Wearing maternity bras that have larger band and cup sizes than women normally wear.
It can be surprising while seeing at the large selection of maternity bras on the market that are
designed to make women feel comfortable and beautiful. Maternal panties can be used also.
Pregnant women still want to stay active and even go swimming, but it can be tough fitting
into pre-pregnancy active wear or swimwear. Buying maternity active wear and swimwear is
the way to go if anyone wants to feel comfortable while enjoying workouts and swimming.
4. Belly Bands and Bra Extenders
Belly bands and bra extenders are great ways to extend the use of maternal clothing as
pregnant body changes. Belly band, also known as a belly sleeve or a belly belt can be used,
to smooth the lines of unbuttoned pants, provide extra support for pants or to hold up
maternity pants after delivery.
Maternity Clothing Stores
Maternal cloths are found in special stores. Here are some popular dedicated stores for
maternity clothes:-
1. Motherhood.co
2. DueMaternity.com
3. Seraphine.com
4. Amazon.com
5. Target
6. JC Penney
7. Old Navy
8. Gap
9. eMommie.com
Saving Money on Maternity Clothes
A pregnancy can be expensive, and many mothers would rather use their money to prepare
for their babies by stocking up on diapers, baby clothes and other costly items that their
babies will need. Luckily, there are several ways that an expecting mother can save money on
maternity wear.
Hand-Me-Downs: Borrowing clothing from relatives or friends who no longer need their
maternity clothes is a great way to reduce the costs of pregnancy.
Second-Hand Stores: A high quality maternity clothes at second-hand stores are found like
Goodwill or any local thrift stores. Some maternity stores, like eMommie.com, sell pre-
owned maternity clothing. Maternity clothes are great to buy used because it’s likely that they
were only worn for less than nine months.
Sales: Just like with regular clothes, maternity clothes go on sale. Unpopular clothes and
seasonal clothes have to go to make way for new maternity clothes, so it’s a good.
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Coupons: A smart shopper can save big on maternity clothes by using coupons. There are
several websites where anyone can find coupons to use both online and offline.
RetailMeNot.com, FatWallet.com, CouponCabin.com, CouponMountain.com and Clothes-
Coupons.com are all great sites to find these coupons [40].
Alternatives to Maternity Clothes
Some women are not ready to wear maternity clothes in the first trimester for one reason or
another. Some women throughout their pregnancy choose to wear larger or looser regular
clothes, rather than maternity clothes. Certain styles can accommodate changing size needs
from the first trimester to term, such as:
A-lines dresses that flare from the top
Empire waist dresses that are not fitted around the waist
Pleated dresses that flare at the waist
Sheath style dresses with stretchy fabrics that gives around the waist
Stretchy pants or skirts, particularly those with elasticized waist can be worn around,
below or above the waist as the need arises
Go up a size or more in your non-maternity clothes in the late second and in the third
trimester
Oversized shirts in the first trimester will accommodate increased breast size and are
also good options to accommodate as you get into the second and particularly the third
trimester.
Flared, billowy shirts will be comfortable to both your growing breasts and abdomen in
the late second trimester, and particularly in the third.
Maternity clothes cultures in different country
In Western cultures, the influence of celebrity culture means that pregnant women in the
public eye are taking the lead on maternity fashion. As a result, pregnant women are no
longer trying to hide or disguise their pregnancy, instead choosing to wear garments which
closely fit their new shape, often emphasizing the bust and abdominal area
Fig: Maternal Clothes in Western Country
In both the Islamic and Asian cultures, maternity wear is much less fitted, hemlines are
longer and necklines higher. Modern Islamic maternity wear uses fabrics with brighter colors
and bolder prints.
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Fig: Maternal dress in Asia Continent
Fig: Maternal Clothes in Muslim Country
Conclusion
With the development of the consciousness in fashion women are now more concern about
their clothes specially, during the period of pregnancy. During the pregnancy period a huge
psychological and physiological changes are observed when normal clothes are
uncomfortable. As women always choose to wear healthy and comfortable but not so
expensive clothes at different stages of pregnancy, it is better to have maternal clothes.
Fashion designers are trying to develop the existing clothing styles by introducing the newer
designs. Although the pregnancy sizes are not same at every stages of pregnancy so choosing
a better cloth is very important. The manufacturers must pay concentration on the types of
cloths as culture may not permit it always. However, it can be clearly understand that a
maternal cloth can be used for a safe birth of a baby. So its importance can be demolished
anyway where further improvement must require.
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Full-text available
Maternity wear is a functional garment specially designed to address the anthropometric growth in the human body during pregnancy. These garments are designed in such a way that they have enough space on waist to accommodate the maximum growth on waist and also have roominess on hip, bust and bicep which is corresponding to the growth in human body during maternity. These garments are serviceable only for the second and third trimester of pregnancy i.e. 6 months. This paper explores the possibility of using features to make the maternity wear fit well and hence remain serviceable pre-pregnancy, during-pregnancy and post pregnancy periods. Such garment designs are achieved through- pattern styling features (like Godet, Gores, Accommodating Silhouette, Appropriate Trims, Placket Placements etc.), Construction features (like Smoking, Pleats etc.), Pattern Engineering (to achieve innovative deigns) and typical fabrics selections (fabrics which are forgiving in nature). The author undertook the research to develop such garments and called them "Smart Maternity Wear." The research methodology included first conducting a survey across India to understand the desired features and expectations of the target group, developing smart maternity wear keeping in view the inputs thus received and finally collecting the feedback from the target group on the developed garments. The garments were well appreciated by the target group as they provided good styling, fit and comfort with longevity.
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