Hiding a Baby Bump — The Second Time Around


2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to hide a baby bump the second time round— links have also been updated below.

What clothes best hide a baby bump — particularly if it’s your second child and you feel like you’re showing earlier?  We’ve talked here about how to work through your first trimester — and over at Corporette we’ve talked about ways to hide a baby bump — but it’s been far too long in either place since we’ve talked about work outfits for the first trimester. Kat’s picked a few pieces particularly for the early days of pregnancy (for example here, here, here, here) — but what are YOUR favorite pieces?  We’ve rounded up a few tips that readers have shared in the past — what are your best tips for how to hide a baby bump?

(Pictured: Tahari A-Line seamed dress — non-binding at the waist, with pockets to boot! It’s available for $128 from Nordstrom.)





To hide a growing bust and belly, try wearing:

  • Darker colors
  • Unstructured pieces (with or without something structured on top)
  • Non-clingy fabrics, e.g., jersey
  • Button-front shirts (blouse them or wear them untucked)
  • Looser-fitting jackets
  • Cardigans with the top one or two buttons fastened
  • Hip-length blouses, untucked
  • Long cardigans, especially open-front
  • Shells with interesting prints and/or detail at the top (ruffle, etc.) under blazers


Even if you’re not showing yet, you may suddenly find that you don’t WANT to button or zip any of your pants because it feels like you’re bloated. Try wearing:

  • Elastic-waistband skirts (for example)
  • Non-maternity dresses that are loose around your midsection, such as the A-line dress pictured at top
  • Dresses/tops with ruching at the waist (this Karen Kane dress has been a reader favorite for a while)
  • Faux-wrap dresses
  • Dresses and skirts with pockets (this Lands’ End dress is often cited as a reader favorite)

General Tips

  • Wear dark colors — black, brown, navy, gray, etc., for the main color of your outfits.
  • Dress in layers so that your silhouette isn’t as obvious.
  • Wear your regular non-maternity pants — either pants that can’t quite zip/button anymore (with a BellaBand), or pants with elastic waistbands.
  • It’s probably best to steer clear of empire-waist dresses and tops, since they often make women who aren’t pregnant look like they’re expecting — although YMMV.
  • Use accessories near your face to draw attention away from your growing belly. Wear larger earrings, statement necklaces, brighter makeup, etc. Use scarves for the same reason — and also to help hide your bump.

What are your tips for hiding a pregnancy before you’re ready to spread the news? For moms of more than one: did you start showing earlier with your second? 

Picture below via Stencil.

Wondering how to hide a baby bump? Whether you popped early because it's not your first time being pregnant, or because that's just how you built, you may want to hide your baby bump for professional or social reasons. Here are our best tips on how to dress to hide a baby bump.



  1. Blair Jones says:

    I’m hiding a slight bump/bulge in my 11th week. I find that solids and pencil shirts show it very well. Not sure why Kat would think a dress like that would hide anything. I am wearing patterned dresses and trying to avoid pencil skirts at all costs. I have a wrap dress, but they lay right on my so I haven’t felt comfortable wearing that again until I’m “out”.

  2. MomAnon4This says:

    It helps if you’re 50 pounds overweight from losing the baby weight from your 1st kid during nursing and then gaining weight slowly over the next few years while dealing with The Juggle and some minor depression and anxiety issues :) Wear layers, empire waist shirts and dresses with flare and don’t show off The Girls.

  3. Ciao, pues says:

    What does it mean to “blouse” a button down shirt? Leave it untucked?

    • Maddie Ross says:

      (ETA – Sorry, didn’t mean to reply to Ciao, pues, though I think “blousing it” just means leaving it tucked in all the way around but pulling out the extra fabric so it’s not a tight tuck.)

      Haven’t had a second pregnancy (yet… maybe ever) so not sure how long a dress like that would make it second time around, but the first time that style of dress took me darn near to 30 weeks. I had the Lands End version and the Target version in a variety of colors. It’s thick enough to smooth things and the slightly elevated waist/A-line style hid things by brushing right over them. I would imagine it would hide a second too, though maybe not fit as long.

    • No, I think it means tuck it in but then pull it out a little so it’s loose and puffy.

      This could also be titled “hide a baby bump when it’s twins and you’re showing at 8 weeks.” Every morning for a month I’d turn to my husband after I got dressed in the morning and say “do I look pregnant?” He’d say no, but he’s a guy. When I announced at 12 weeks, no woman over the age of 40 in my office was surprised. (And, yes, one of the guys at work said “wow, I thought you were just getting fat.” Really dude?)

  4. PregAnon says:

    Random “yikes!” today – had 19 week ultrasound, they saw a tiny “soft spot” on baby’s heart. Apparently this is something they they have only been able to even see in the last few years of better technology, and it is a “soft marker” for Down’s. My genetic testing and NT scan all came back negative, doc says 100% I should not be worrying, but it is a good excuse to go see the perinatologist and get a “fancy” high-res ultrasound.

    My brain is not worrying. My doc is amazing and would tell me if it was something to worry about, but my hormones are stupid and I burst into tears on the way to work. Anyone else had this happen? Against my normal rules, I googled around a bit and it seems like this is pretty common and they almost always grow out of it.

    Good news – heart beat good and strong, no cleft lip / palate (apparently they can tell that already!), spine and organs all look really good.

    • PregAnon says:

      Appointment with peri set for May 4th…

    • Anon for this says:

      This happened to me at ~16 weeks, complete with several factors which were “soft markers” for downs (including excess fluid around the heart and some backwash in the heart) despite having excellent NT scan and blood draw. It resulted in a series of the fancy ultrasounds including a fetal echocardiogram, lots and lots of stress and anxiety, lots of co-pays, ultimately resulting in an Rx for a fully-covered NIPT test at 20 weeks because the series of fancy ultrasounds still weren’t totally determinative (to which I asked the genetic counselor who advised the NIPT – the point of this is what because if I get positive results back in a week, I’m going to get to consider terminating a 21 week old fetus who I can feel moving around in me? THINGS YOU ALL SHOULD HAVE TESTED FOR MONTHS AGO).

      The whole experience was awful. An experienced ob-gyn in my family looked at my test results and the 16 week ultrasound scan and said that if I was his patient, he wouldn’t prescribe more fancy ultrasounds or the NIPT, and that he suspected that the doctors were advocating fancy ultrasounds for me because I’m a lawyer and they were playing CYA just in case. But how could I not get the ultrasounds that they were Rx’ing for me?

      The NIPT came back negative. Baby, now 32 weeks, has grown out of those soft markers.

      If I ever get pregnant again, I will pay $1k for the damn NIPT at 10 weeks out of my own pocket to avoid all that stress.

      • PregAnon says:

        How stressful! But it does make me feel better that this may be a bit of CYA. I did the Panorama, expensive DNA test which came back negative so….I should be ok but I’ll do the scans anyway. We’ll see what happens!

        THANK YOU for sharing your story. That helps me a ton.

      • Stunned says:

        As parent of a young child with Down Syndrome, I was stunned to see this discussion so inconsiderately presented on a page I went to for clothing advice!

    • Annoy Law Mom says:

      My first had an echogenic focus on my 20 week ultrasound. Apparently that is a “medium” marker. My OB said not to worry, we didn’t do anything further, and he is a healthy 3.5 yo now.

    • Frustrated Academic says:

      We also had an bright spot\focus on the 20 week u\s, that resulted in us getting a high res u\s and meeting with a geneticist. After reviewing the new u\s and my earlier test results (which included the verifi blood test), he told us to worry about something else. For some reason the soft\medium markers still trigger certain protocols, I guess to deal with potential false positives on the blood tests.

      In the end, our little guy was fine, but we were so stressed in the meantime.

      • PregAnon says:

        Thank you for coming back to this one! Good to hear. That’s exactly the path I’m following – and everyone tells you not to worry, but you do anyway. I’ll just have to try to not think about it until I see the peri / genetic counseling people on May 4.

  5. Daycare decisions says:

    My daughter will be starting daycare at six months, and we are just now figuring out the details. For whatever reason, all the daycares we have looked at have openings when we would need them, so availability isn’t an issue. However:

    If my husband and I combine our work benefits, we could probably eke out an initial 3-5 free months of “back-up” childcare at a Bright Horizons. Pro is that the care is free (although we will owe tax on the benefit, so really it is more like 50% off). Cons are that it won’t be the same kids every day (although presumably it will be the same teachers), that it won’t be all that convenient to our home so we will have to commute with her in the AM and PM, and that after 3-5 months, we would have to switch her to a permanent daycare – most likely, The Learning Experience, which is the cheaper chain in our neck of the woods. So she would have to transition to yet another daycare, and when she is more like 9-11 months old.

    Alternatively, we could start her at The Learning Experience immediately. We would be waiving the discounted childcare through BH, but she would be able to transition just once, and at a younger age (and we as parents would only need to adjust to one daycare, not two).

    What would you do?

    Also, my one major concern about TLE is that babies sleep in the same noisy, brightly lit space as their peers play all day – no separate napping area, much less a totally different napping room. I assume this works for most kids, and perhaps they become great sleepers as a result, but I am a bit apprehensive nonetheless. Have any c-moms had experience with this, good or bad?

    • Maddie Ross says:

      I would probably take the place with the easiest commute, but that’s just me. If you can handle it financially, the easier commute is definitely worth it. Transitions at that young age aren’t too difficult, and she’d likely be transitioning rooms shortly after you moved her from BH, so I wouldn’t be that worried about that part of it. And as for the infant napping space, our first daycare didn’t have that either (so was like TLE). Our little one was not a great infant napper anyway (always a cat-napper) so I don’t know that it hurt things, but it didn’t help them either. Now that she’s in a toddler room, they do an official nap time and turn off the lights and do a sound machine. I think that works better for her. But I don’t know that it would’ve helped or mattered as an infant.

    • CapHillAnon says:

      I used BH back up care with my second when she was an infant when our nanny quit the week before I went back to work with my second. I used it for 2 months or so, until we set up another nanny. My situation was different, because the BH was close to my office and convenient and we had no other choice–but I can’t say enough good things about BH even now, 6 years later. They were fantastic with her, and with me. Great quiet place for napping, and the toddlers and older children were kept away from the baby space. Very responsive and baby-oriented. Like Maddie Ross, I wouldn’t necessarily be worried about facing an additional transition; I’d be more motivated by your peace of mind (where is best for the baby, overall), and convenience of commute. Good luck with this one.

    • mascot says:

      1) If you use all your back-up care at the beginning, does that mean it’s no longer available to you the rest of the year? I’d be reluctant to use that whole benefit since you won’t know how much sick/holiday care you could need.

      2) By 6 months, she’s probably going to be on a somewhat consistent napping schedule. Daycares are big fans of schedules so they usually try to get all the kids napping/quiet around the same time(s) of day. They then turn down the lights, play soft music, whatever to promote calm. (If the center doesn’t have separate rooms for each age, that might change a bit). At my daycare, they dropped the morning nap around a year so in essence the whole school was napping together right after lunch. I think that being in daycare helped my son learn to sleep so soundly.

      • Meg Murry says:

        +1 to not blowing through all your backup care, especially if you can use it when baby is sick. I would also rather have baby (and you) settle in to one center rather than do 3 months and then switch – especially because 9-11 months could be prime separation anxiety time. But you need to go with wherever you feel most comfortable leaving baby.

    • Daycare decisions says:

      thanks, all! We would still have some backup care left, so the real question is whether the savings makes it worth it to add a second childcare transition.

  6. M in LA says:

    The J. Crew Maternity Pixie pant. I have 3 pairs (2 black, 1 blue) and pretty much wear them every day. In the first trimester my bella band made me feel ill, and with my 2nd the “bump” was visible early, so I switched to maternity pants right away. The maternity panels on these pants are easy to hide with longer tops. And I’ve been wearing them for 7 months now and they still fit well into the 3rd trimester. In the first trimester I paired it with the severely oversize sweaters that JCrew claimed were in style – of course it was winter so that worked fine – but in summer you could do flowy/unstructured pieces (long blouses, waterfall cardigans… the “boyfriend” sweater). With heels and on point jewelry, it counts as business casual, at least in my law firm. The Minnie pant is good too, but I had to go up a size and they’re not as comfy.

  7. M in LA says:

    And a blazer.

    And black-on-black. Black (Pixie) pants, black (untucked) top, black (unbottoned or better – no button) blazer.

Speak Your Mind