The D.C. area offers a wide choice of clothes for the pregnant woman of any age. A sampling of some area stores and prices:

Maternity Shops

New Conceptions Maternity Boutique, 3301 New Mexico Ave. NW. (Foxhall Square). A favorite among expectant mothers for its wide selection and pleasant boutique atmosphere. Dresses, $36-$88; blouses, $26-$55; jeans, $24-$32; pantyhose, $3-$6; maternity bras, $8-$11.50; bathing suits, $30-$48; leotards, $18; tights, $6. Wide range of sport clothes.

Lady Madonna Maternity Boutique, 1647 Wisconsin Ave. NW, and White Flint Mall. Pioneers in making maternity clothes fashionable and fun, with top-name brands in addition to their own line. Dresses, $60-$100; jumpers, $48-$70; blouses, $28-$50; jeans, $28-$40; pantyhose, $3; maternity and nursing bras, $11; bathing suits, $38-$50; running suits, $66-$72. Good selection of sports clothes.

Mothercare, Laurel (Md.) Centre. Basic selection and prices. Dresses, $29-$45; jumpers, from $22; blouses, $20-$35; jeans, $16-$28; slacks, $15-$25; pantyhose, $3.75; maternity bras, $10; bathing suits, about $30.

Nontraditional

Georgetown Cotton, 1410 Wisconsin Ave. NW, and Tysons Corner Mall. Lots of free-floating cotton clothes. Some favorites: black and red cotton tunic with batik design, $27; bi-color cotton sailor dress, $40; mirror-embroidered cotton smock dress, $33; Indian cotton print dresses, $40.

Laura Ashley, 3213 M St. NW. All-cotton, signature classics with room to grow in. Soft prints, bright stripes, stitched yokes, ruffled and sailor collars. Day dresses, $65-$95; white smock tops with tuxedo ruffle, $65; pastel-striped jumpsuit with tie shoulders, $60;

The Phoenix, 1514 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Loose, all natural "ethnic" clothes, handmade from l00% Mexican fabric. All-cotton hand-embroidered caftans, $100-$200; tunic-style all cotton dresses (with matching belts for afterwards), $60-$125; full smock tops, $45-70.

Cornelia Wickens Liberty, 1513 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Shepherd's Purse wool jumpers, $150 and $180. For warmer weather, blue and white stripe "nightshirts" with matching belts, $185; antique white lace and cotton dresses, $170.

Nuevo Mundo, 313 Cameron St., Alexandria. Good selection for day and evening. Tunic top with Tyrolean ribbon detailing, $72; black silk wrap dress, $144; multicolor English country-print dresses piped in gold, $98; red or gray cotton smock tops with 3 detachable collars, $39.

Design 2, 5420 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase. Ample stock of classic Marimekko dresses, to be worn during and after, most with matching belts, $120-$150; striped long T-shirt dresses, $62; tuxedo-pleated tops, $66-$70.

Toast and Strawberries, 2009 R St. NW. Many full-cut dresses and tops to wear during and after. Cotton hopsack dresses in many colors, $43-$50; classic tuck-front cotton shirtwaist dresses, $29.95; silk print imports from India, $76.95; hand tie-dyed American silk dresses, $90 and up; smock tops in cotton, rayon, silk, $25-$90.

Batik Walla, 600 New Hampshire Ave. NW, and 1054 31st St. NW. Variety of natural-fabric clothes from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. Long caftans, $20-$120; heavy voile short dresses with matching belts, $32-$56; tunic tops in cotton and rayon, $16-$36.

Secondhand

Many secondhand stores in the area offer good buys. Two suggestions:

Modern Mothers' Exchange, 8402 Fenton St., Silver Spring. Secondhand and new maternity clothes with a range of styles comparable to those of traditional maternity shops. New clothes often priced lower than maternity shops. Secondhand: dresses, $15-$40; blouses, $5-$14; slacks, $10-$14; jeans, $14; bathing suits, $10-20; maternity coats and capes, about $30; evening dresses, from $40. Used clothes accepted for sale on consignment.

Once Is Not Enough, 4830 MacArthur Blvd. NW. Special maternity section with new clothes at reduced prices and secondhand merchandise (supply varies). Among new: dresses, $18-$25; blouses, $6-$10; slacks, $12; nursing bras, $3-$4.

Department and Specialty Stores

While many large department and speciality stores feature maternity sections, more than one woman recommends Saks 5th Avenue for quality and choice. At the Chevy Chase store: dresses, $54-$80; jumpers, $72-$80; blouses, $40-$60; jeans, $34-$42; slacks, $35-$55; maternity and nursing bras, $9-$13; bathing suits, $43-$55; running suits, $72. Plus a wide range of sports clothes, sundresses and evening wear.