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So you’re pregnant and your body is about to change size and shape. You don’t want to spend too much money on clothes that you will only wear for a few months, but you also don’t want to be showing too much skin when your baby bump starts to show. Many women want to hold on to their normal clothes for as long as possible, but eventually realize that they need the extra room and comfort that maternity clothes provide.
Generally, pregnant women will start wearing maternity clothes when they start to feel uncomfortable in their normal clothes. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as the waistband of their pants feeling too tight, or their breasts becoming too large for their regular bras. Some women switch to maternity clothes as soon as they find out they are pregnant, while others wait until they are further along in their pregnancy.
Having been pregnant a few times I have some pointers for you and your upcoming maternity wardrobe! If you’re still wondering what to do, read on!
Is it too early to wear maternity clothes?
To be honest, there is no right answer to this question. Some women feel more comfortable in their regular clothes for as long as possible, while others want to switch to maternity clothes as soon as they start showing. I have been both of these in my pregnancies! If you are on the fence about when to make the switch, here are a few things to consider:
- Do you feel comfortable in your regular clothes? Perhaps you are starting to feel uncomfortable or self-conscious in your regular clothes.
- Is your clothing starting to feel too tight? You might be noticing that your clothes are fitting more snugly than usual, it might be time to make the switch.
- Are you starting to show? Maternity styles may be more accommodating for your changing shape. (And in some cases can buy you more time before having to announce if you’re not ready!)
At the end of the day it is up to you when to start wearing maternity clothes, and there are so many options available for those of us moms who are hoping to stay a little bit fashionable, too. One of the tops I bought to wear during pregnancy and breastfeeding is still in my standard rotation. Don’t tell anyone! Ultimately it is just about wearing what is most comfortable for you – pregnant or not. As soon as the items in your own closet don’t fit anymore, look after your body by starting to build your maternity wardrobe.
What maternity clothes should I start with?
If the time has come to buy maternity clothes and you’re not sure where to start shopping, here are a few key pieces that will help you get through your pregnancy in comfort:
A neutrally coloured pair of maternity pants
A good pair of maternity pants will have a stretchy waistband that can be worn over or under your belly. They should also have some give in the fabric so that they can accommodate your growing belly, and may even come with an additional patch of fabric that stretches over the top part of your belly. If you like to layer your clothing, consider a pair of maternity leggings, too.
A few maternity tops
A maternity top should have some extra room in the bust and a waistline that falls below your belly. Many maternity tops come with breastfeeding access too, which means you’ll get more use out of them. Start with a basic sleeved style and a singlet that you can layer.
A maternity dress or skirt
Look for a dress with a stretchy fabric and an empire waistline, or a skirt with a waistband that is elasticated. Before I started buying maternity clothes I found a fantastic full-length skirt that I wore under my belly with some outfits, and above my belly when I wanted to mix things up! Super versatile!
A maternity bra
As your breasts start grow during pregnancy you will need a good supportive maternity bra, and eventually a few pairs! Look for one with wide, adjustable straps. If you purchase from a specific maternity brand you may have more luck finding one which is also suitable for use after your baby’s arrival, saving you some money on buying dedicated nursing bras, too.
A pair of comfortable shoes
During pregnancy, your feet may swell and you may find that your shoes are starting to feel tighter than usual. Invest in a comfortable pair of shoes that will see you through the next few months, and make sure to give yourself a break from heels when you can!
There are plenty of options for inexpensive maternity clothes, so you can feel confident to try different styles and find what suits you best as your pregnancy progresses. Perhaps you find that button-down shirts are your favorite, or you discover a beautiful maxi dress that makes you feel comfortable all summer. Maternity items don’t have to be expensive, but you may find it is worthwhile investing in a few more significant pieces that could also be worn in subsequent pregnancies.
Do I need maternity clothes in the first trimester?
Usually you don’t need maternity clothes in the first trimester. Most women don’t even know they are pregnant during this time and their baby bump is still very small. You can probably get away with wearing your regular clothes for a little while longer. Just be sure to pay attention to your body and how you are feeling. If you start to feel uncomfortable in your clothes, it might be time to start buying maternity clothes.
Women in the first trimester who are suffering from conditions such as morning sickness might want to consider switching to loose-fitting clothes that are more comfortable. If you do make the switch to maternity clothes, you can always go back to your regular clothes when you start to feel better.
How far along should I start wearing maternity clothes?
Every woman and every pregnancy is different. Some women can wear their normal clothes throughout their entire pregnancy, while others need to switch to maternity clothes as soon as they find out they are pregnant. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution and make the switch sooner rather than later. This way, you will have more time to enjoy your maternity clothes and feel comfortable in them.
With my first pregnancy I got all excited and started looking for clothes straight away. I ended up with a few cute tops and a dress, but I didn’t wear them for a while. (including one I didn’t wear at all!) If you have any family members or friends who have had babies recently, I highly recommend asking them for what they found useful. Who knows, they might even have some of their maternity wear still that you could try on to get a feel for them!
What are some signs that I need to start wearing maternity clothes?
There are a few signs that you might need to start looking for maternity clothes.
Your regular clothes are starting to feel tight or uncomfortable
A bit of bloating or swelling is normal in the early days, but if it starts to become more constant, you might want to consider maternity clothes.
You are starting to show a little bit of a baby bump
This is usually the most obvious sign that you need to make the switch to maternity clothes. If your tum is starting to look less like a big lunch and more like baby, now could be the time to get into some alternative clothing.
Your regular clothes are starting to ride up when you sit down or bend over
If you are finding that your clothes are no longer staying in place when you move around, it might be time to get some maternity wear. Maternity clothes are designed to accommodate a growing belly, so they will stay put no matter how much you move around.
You are starting to feel self-conscious about your body
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a time when you feel self-conscious about your body. If you are feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious in your regular clothes, maternity clothes might be the way to go. Maternity clothes are designed to make you feel comfortable and stylish at the same time.
You feel like you need the extra support and comfort that maternity clothes provide
Maternity clothes can provide extra support and comfort to your body during pregnancy. If you are starting to feel like you need a little extra help, maternity clothes might be the answer. Maternity bras, for example, can provide much-needed support to your breasts during pregnancy.
How long can I keep wearing my existing wardrobe during pregnancy?
This is a difficult question to answer, as every woman and every pregnancy is different. Some women find that they can wear their non maternity clothes throughout their entire pregnancy! I had some luck with some of my more stretchy or flowing clothes. If you’re hoping to avoid buying too many new clothes for your changing body, there may be a few pieces you already own that you can put into your pregnancy wardrobe!
Some non-maternity pieces to look for in your existing wardrobe include:
Dresses that are crossed over and are tied give you lots of flexibility as your body shape changes. You might even have some luck with a regular dress that has an empire waist.
Tunic tops are a great option as they are usually loose fitting and can be worn over leggings or jeggings as your belly grows.
These are perfect for when you need to cover up your legs but still want to show off your cute maternity tops. Empire waist dresses are generally winners in to the second trimester.
Jeans with a stretchy waistband
If you’re hoping to avoid spending too much money on new clothes, stick with your regular jeans and buy a couple of pairs with a stretchy waistband to get you through the early days of pregnancy.
Loose fitting blouses
As your breasts grow, you might find that regular blouses start to feel a bit tight. Opt for a loose fitting blouse in a stretchy material instead. You can always wear a cami underneath if you need a bit of extra coverage, or try a belly band to bridge the gap between your top and bottom.
Leggings are a pregnancy wardrobe staple. They are comfortable, can be dressed up or down, and will grow with you throughout your pregnancy.