Cradling their baby bump in the latest stylish outfit, maternity wear models can seem the ideal mums-to-be.
But one pregnant model has criticised fashion firms – for often using fake bellies in their photo shoots.
Sylvia Flote said the practice of using women who aren’t really expecting was "dishonest" and made it difficult for shoppers to work out what will fit.
The 36-year-old, who is engaged to Lord Oakeshott’s son Sigmund, said: "The majority of maternity shoots use non-pregnant models and I know a lot of girls who have modelled with a fake bump."
She added that she had no idea about the practice – used by fashion websites such as Asos – until she contacted her own modelling agency to tell them she was pregnant.
She told The Sunday Times: "Their first reaction was that most clients prefer models who aren’t pregnant. They want slimline faces and women who are slimmer in the body."
But she argues that this paints a false picture of pregnancy. "Your whole body changes and maybe you try to feel better about that by getting new clothes," she said. "So it is depressing to be presented with a woman who’s... still as skinny as ever, but with a bump stuck on.
"It also makes it harder for women to tell how a garment will actually fit."
Fashion companies say they don’t use women who are genuinely pregnant for health and safety reasons.
Asos said it uses prosthetic bumps as it does not want "pregnant models on their feet all day". A source close to another fashion site, Boohoo, said that "having a pregnant model on set all day is a lot to ask".Daily Mail