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Pregnant in Beirut: Real Advice From 7-Months Pregnant MacKenzie

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We met MacKenzie two years ago when we were looking for an editor for our fashion articles (this was before we launched The Kill!). In short, she was the best thing that happened to us because she's one of those fashion editors who just 'gets it'.

Writing about fashion is her forte, and we were lucky enough to get her to work with us part time, but sadly, it was short-lived. She moved on to bigger and better things, and has since then become the Editor-in-Chief at Aishti's A magazine. MacKenzie also has a blog which we LOVE called Beirut Based: Making Lebanon Home Since 2014. Be sure to check it out, especially if you're an expat who just moved to Beirut.

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MacKenzie is one of our friends who is currently pregnant in Beirut. Sitting with them over the past few months, we've overheard some of the hardships they face when it comes to finding maternity clothes, getting the right bra, and simply getting dressed every day as a pregnant woman in Beirut.

We thought it would be cool to help other first-time pregnant women in Beirut who may be facing the same struggles by allowing them to share their experiences.

Starting with MacKenzie, we asked her these 10 questions about being pregnant in Beirut.

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10 Questions on Maternity-Wear in Beirut, Buying Bras & Getting Dressed

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1. Buying a new (bigger) bra is usually the first maternity-specific item that a pregnant woman will buy. Is there any specific advice about what type of bra a pregnant woman should consider? Or avoid?

New curves were one of the things I looked forward to when I got pregnant. There are so few physical perks between the nausea and aching hips that a pin-up-worthy bust seemed like a fair trade. It’s been nearly seven months and I’m still waiting – the only curve I’ve developed is my bump.

I haven’t really had to change much in terms of lingerie, but I do find that I’ve lost any tolerance for the torture of underwire, scratchy lace, or a slightly-too-snug band. American Eagle Outfitters unexpectedly came to my rescue. Their layering bras are comfortable and provide just enough support for what breasts I do have. No one wants to see their boobs resting on their belly.

American Eagle Outfitters Lebanon - Address 1: Hamra Street, Tel: +961-1-348366 | Address 2: Beirut City Center, Hazmieh, Tel: +961-1-282357 | Address 3: Kaslik Street, Tel: +961-9-226154

2. What’s your favorite maternity store in Beirut? Or what are the ones you actually know? (If any)

I don’t know any! Google searches returned local maternity boutiques with bejeweled dresses and novelty “Baby on Board!” t-shirts, neither of which are really my style.

3. What do you do if there are no cool/good maternity store options? Do you buy oversized clothes from regular stores or online?

I’ve relied on a mix of regular clothes with forgiving cuts from Zara and H&M, and a few key maternity pieces bought online and abroad (yet another reason to go on a 'babymoon'). I’m not willing to invest a lot in something I’m only going to wear for a few months, so I’ve tried to integrate a few affordable maternity staples into my existing wardrobe.

4. When you do buy maternity-like clothes from regular stores, what are the 3-5 most essential pieces every pregnant woman has to buy?

The best purchases are basic pieces that can easily be mixed and matched:

1. A comfortable pair of maternity jeans that fits well and flatters your figure 2. A stretchy jersey dress that can be creatively layered under (open) button-down shirts and other tops or blazers you already own 3. A lightweight draped cardigan for layering 4. Maternity tanks in a few neutral colors, also great for layering 5. Birkenstocks. I know, I know – so last year. But when you need an energy bar and a pep talk to get up a flight of stairs, you won’t care what season your footwear is from.

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5. Are there online stores that you’ve tried and recommend buying maternity clothes from and shipping them to Beirut?

ASOS! I’m not sure I would have made it out of the house without their tanks, t-shirts, and leggings. Their bump band is also great for turning regular pants into maternity wear.

International shipping is free and I’ve never had any issues with additional customs fees or taxes, though there’s an urban legend of someone being charged 50% on a shipment to Lebanon. I guess start with a small order to test the waters?

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6. What’s the best part about dressing up when you’re preggers?

Showing off your bump. I imagined that I’d gravitate towards shapeless silhouettes when I got pregnant, since that tends to be what I’m attracted to when I’m not pregnant. Instead, I found that I’m more comfortable in form-fitting pieces that play up my new shape rather than drown it in fabric. I’m not going to look like this forever, so why not enjoy the experience?

7. What’s the crappiest part about dressing up when you’re preggers?

Having to dress up. As comfortable as you can be in your own skin, your body is literally changing by the day; each morning, you have to figure out what fits today and what’s flattering at this very moment. It can make getting dressed stressful, particularly when you’re late for a meeting or have dinner reservations. I’ve had some hits, I’ve had some misses, and I’ve gone to dinner in leggings because I just couldn’t find anything else that worked.

8. Did your feet get swollen throughout the pregnancy? Does that mean you have to buy bigger size shoes?

My feet turned out to be a lot like my chest: proof that everybody is different, even in pregnancy. I’d heard that swollen feet happen to everyone, and maybe they do. But again, I’m still waiting.

My lower back and hips ache enough that I want to wear sneakers whenever I can. Other than that, I’ve just been wearing my usual shoes, which tend to be flat anyway.

9. Where can pregnant ladies buy breastfeeding bras from? Are there any post-pregnancy items that they need to consider buying while still pregnant?

Oysho has a small collection of pretty but practical maternity bras that are on my wish list. The only other post-pregnancy clothing I’m looking out for is a nice pair of pajamas that are easy to nurse in, for the hospital. I haven’t seen anything functional that I like. I’m sure there will be other things I wish I’d bought in advance, but I don’t know what they are yet!

10. Any other advice about maternity-wear for the all fist time pregnant ladies out there?

When you first find out that you’re pregnant, it can be tempting to break out the credit card for a celebratory shopping spree. Don’t do it. My body hasn’t changed the way I expected it to, and I ended up with several pieces that were either the wrong size for the season (a massive winter maternity coat before I started showing) or just completely impractical (a large, bias-cut linen t-shirt that is now too short to fit over my belly).

Be patient and buy as you go. You’ll have a better sense of your body, and you might be surprised by what you actually need – and feel good in.

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A team of writers constantly on the hunt for everything and anything there is to know about local fashion.

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