Rihanna's pregnant again. She's been praised for redefining maternity fashion Rihanna has already been praised for redefining maternity fashion. She's not the first celebrity to challenge cultural norms about pregnancy, but is reigniting a conversation that could spark change.

Rihanna's maternity style isn't just fashionable. It's revolutionary, experts say

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Maybe the biggest surprise of Rihanna's Super Bowl halftime show was that she was pregnant and that her outfit made no effort to hide it. She wore a bright red bodysuit with a jumpsuit on top that was unzipped to reveal her baby bump. That look is just the latest example of how the singer has come to redefine maternity fashion. NPR's Rachel Treisman reports.

RACHEL TREISMAN, BYLINE: Gabriella Nelson was so stressed about the Super Bowl that she turned to household chores as a distraction until halftime, when she gave Rihanna her full attention.

GABRIELLA NELSON: Just thinking about her on that stage, suspended in the air, pregnant, letting folks know give me my money - like, that's feminism. That's womanism right there.

TREISMAN: Nelson is part of an art and education project called Designing Motherhood and works for a maternal care nonprofit. When she learned that Rihanna was pregnant, she was excited to see what the style icon would wear.

NELSON: Actually, quite wonderful - red is such a powerful color. It's fierce. It's love. It's desire. It's all of the things that, you know, we seek in life, I feel like.

TREISMAN: This is Rihanna's second pregnancy. Last time, she wore lots of fashion-forward crop tops and low-rise pants. Rihanna called it rebellious. Serena Dyer agrees. She's a historian of material culture at De Montfort University in the U.K. And she says that maternity wear has historically been synonymous with morality and modesty.

SERENA DYER: And we're seeing more of a resistance to that and more women wanting to celebrate that changing body, show off that changing body and not necessarily feel like they have to cover themselves up or change who they are as women because they're going through this process.

TREISMAN: Rihanna isn't the first celebrity to show off her pregnancy. Among others, Demi Moore posed nude for the cover of Vanity Fair and Lucille Ball fought successfully to keep filming "I Love Lucy" while she was pregnant. For Rihanna to make such a statement as a Black woman was both powerful and in a way, unsurprising, said Gabriella Nelson of Designing Motherhood and the maternal care nonprofit.

NELSON: I have seen many girls whose names I don't know, who will never be in a spotlight, who were probably shamed and talked about, walked down the street with their stomachs out and they're fully pregnant or with a mesh shirt on and they're pregnant. It's nothing new, and it's really not special. It's just now in the limelight because Beyonce and Rihanna and whoever else are deciding to have children now.

TREISMAN: Even so, Rihanna's maternity fashion has sparked a conversation. And Nelson wants it to shift focus to honoring whatever decisions people make about their bodies, pregnant or not.

Rachel Treisman, NPR News.

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