Maternity Clothes 101: A Buying Guide for Mothers-to-Be

For many women, the news of a pregnancy is met with sheer excitement. But this period can be anxiety inducing and completely draining, too. In 2016, there were approximately 3,945,875 births across the United States, signaling millions of moms who welcomed their bundles of joy into the world. But before your little one is born, you’ll experience approximately 40 weeks of pregnancy.

While this time can be very magical, it’s not all fun and games. Women are more likely to become moms now than they were a decade ago, which means you’re certainly not alone on this journey. During your pregnancy, your loved ones may comment that you have a beautiful glow. But if you’re wearing uncomfortable and ill-fitting clothing, you may not feel that way. There’s no reason you shouldn’t feel confident, capable, and even sexy during your pregnancy. Finding the right maternity clothes is key, and here are a few tips to help.

Know when to start

Some moms-to-be might put off shopping for maternity clothes, especially if they’re slow to show. But you can likely start sooner than you’d think. These pieces are meant to be worn as soon as your normal clothes no longer fit you correctly. For many women, that’s within the end of the first trimester, or within the three-to-four month range. However, every woman is different, so you should make this decision based on how your own clothes currently fit you.

If you feel constantly bloated, or if you can no longer button your pants or flannel shirts and you’re resorting to stretchy yoga pants and sweatpants, it’s probably time to start shopping. Because the uterus typically reaches navel level at 20 weeks, you’ll certainly want to get your wardrobe set by then so you aren’t in a rush. But some experts say you should hold off purchasing anything prior to the 12-week mark. Your body will change rapidly during that time, so it can be tough to assess the size you really need.

Don’t impulse buy or overspend

Before pregnancy, maybe you had no qualms about purchasing an item just because it’s cute and cheap, even if the quality wasn’t great or it didn’t go with anything in your closet. You might have to rethink your shopping habits once you’re with child. Not only do you need to save money for baby essentials, but you also need to be smart about the kinds of clothing pieces you buy.

By 2023, the global maternity apparel market is expected to reach $7 billion. Now, more than ever, there are stylish options that will catch your eye and make you feel stunning. But that doesn’t mean you should buy everything in sight and forget about creating full outfits. You’ll fare better by looking for versatile options that can easily be mixed and matched, rather than statement pieces that you might wear only once.

Instead of prowling for wild prints or impractical pieces, you want to hunt for a good bargain. Don’t get too caught up in trying to find something trendy. You won’t be pregnant forever, after all. Since you’ll probably end up donating them or loaning them to a friend anyway, do you really want to spend a boatload on clothes you’ll only wear for seven months or so?

Focus on fit instead of size

It’s so easy to get caught up in how your changing body makes you feel. It’s not always a positive experience for many women. Although they’re thrilled to be eating for two, the fact is that they probably don’t want to look like it all the time. If you’re the type to obsess over the tag on your jeans or the size of your dress, you might want to switch up your approach when you’re shopping as a pregnant woman.

It can be intimidating to find the correct size when you’re shopping in the maternity section. Because every woman carries differently and gains pregnancy weight in different ways, the process can be overwhelming at best. But don’t focus much on the size. Instead, zero in on what really fits you comfortably and go with that.

When shopping, start with the maternity equivalent of your normal size and go from there. If you’re normally a size eight, try a maternity size eight and assess whether sizing up or down might provide a better fit. Steer clear of sheer fabrics, make sure there’s stretch, and look for ruched features for a flattering look. If you can find maternity clothes that are also nursing-friendly, all the better. Keep in mind that lower-rise pants are typically more comfortable, as added pressure on your belly won’t be comfortable later on in your pregnancy.

Get all the basics

Wardrobe staples often change once you get pregnant. You’ll likely switch out your form-fitting black dress for ultra-comfortable maternity dresses that still flatter your figure. You’re going to need maternity jeans, leggings, tunic tops, longer tanks, loungewear, maternity underwear, belly bands, and some supportive bras. You may need to buy more bras later on in your pregnancy, as well.

If you’ll be working throughout your pregnancy, consider investing in some slightly higher-end pieces that you can comfortably wear to the office. Maxi skirts, jackets, and dressier tops with lots of stretch can be your saving grace. Ideally, you’ll have a good mix of casual and formal pieces that you can potentially mix and match as you please. It’ll just be a more condensed and easier-to-wear version of your current wardrobe.

Speak Your Mind

*