Old-fashioned maternity wear: Take a look back at the era when women tried to hide pregnancy

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1940s maternity wear (1)

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In the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, vintage maternity wear existed — but its main job was to help the mom-to-be hide her pregnancy. (Even the word “pregnancy” was not widely-used in magazines and newspapers, because it was considered somewhat improper.)

Still, babies had to be born — thus, moms had to grow. Here’s a look back at some of the way old-fashioned maternity wear from way back when could help camouflage a woman’s “condition.”

Maternity wear from the 1930s

Her baby is due in June [from a magazine published in late February 1939], yet she looks stylishly slim in this gown.

Maternity fashion for pregnancy - 1930s


Maternity style book – free (1940 & 1941)

Lane Bryant Maternity clothes enable you to dress stylishly during all stages of maternity — and after baby comes as well.

Designed to conceal condition and to provide for expansion. Latest styles in dresses and corsets.

Maternity style book - Lane Bryant maternity clothes


Vintage ’40s lingerie for pregnancy

Maternity supports: Scientific control for comfort. Helps improve posture, disguises figure. Supports effectively… will also help relieve strain, backache.

1940s maternity wear (2)


So you’re going to have a baby? (1946)

You’d never guess they’re maternity dresses… styled in bright, young fashions you’ll want to wear after baby comes, too…

Cleverly hidden adjustable figures are designed to fit your ever-changing are designed to fit your ever-changing figure measurements… 

1940s maternity wear (3)

ALSO SEE: Vintage baby gear from the 1950s: Playpens, strollers & more


Maternity style book (1950)

“For the expectant MOTHER and her BABY.” — Lane Bryant maternity clothes help conceal your condition and keep you smart through pregnancy.

Adjust easily to your changing figure… Send coupon now for your copy of this free style book, mailed to you in a plain wrapper.


Maternity camouflage: Pregnancy fashion in the early ’50s

Maternity wear in the 50s - 1952 (2)


Early ’50s pregnancy style (1952)

Flannel jumper with red taffeta lining can be worn belted (right) or loose. Model Peggy Wilcox (left) was photographed two weeks before her baby was due.

Maternity wear in the 50s - 1952 (1)

NOW SEE THIS: Vintage ’50s maternity fashion: Classic fashions for pregnant women

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. The one thing about maternity clothing of the days “back when” is that while it may have covered up your changing figure, it rarely, if ever, concealed anything. Those A-shaped, long waisted smock tops and straight skirts or Capri slacks generally screamed “Pregnant!!” immediately!
    Once you got past 5-6 months, there was nothing that was going to “conceal” a 6-months+ waiting figure! Unless you happened to be one of those rare lucky women who didn’t “show” until two or three weeks before leaving for the hospital, that is!

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