Tips on shopping for maternity clothes

Shopping for maternity clothes while you’re pregnant can be an exciting task with the right knowledge and mindset. Here’s a few tips on dressing for confidence and comfort during your pregnancy.

Get the timing down. If you’re carrying a single pregnancy, you probably won’t start to show until the second trimester. For the first three months, most of your clothes (except the tightest ones) will continue to fit. When you do start to need larger clothing, the best strategy overall is to buy what you need as you need it.

  • If your spouse or partner is larger than you are, consider borrowing a few of their pieces to bridge the time between fitting into your regular clothes and needing maternity pieces. Men’s button-up shirts can be a comfortable option for expectant mothers.
  • Consider keeping a few maternity items on-hand in case you experience a sudden growth spurt about the second trimester (for a single-baby pregnancy). You will need to have enough clothing to at least get by until you can go shopping.

Know what to look for. You can shop at specialty maternity stores, which are likely to have a larger selection of styles and sizes. This can also be bought 2nd hand with wide selection of gently-used, still-trendy items at local markets.

  • Remember that most sizes are based on your pre-pregnancy size, but brands will vary. When in doubt, go larger.
  • Fabrics such as cotton jersey and Lycra are designed to stretch. Pieces in materials like this will last you through several stages of the pregnancy.
  • As awkward as it might be, attempt to try on anything you’re considering for purchase. If it feels itchy, sticky or otherwise uncomfortable, leave it!
  • Consider buying layers. As your hormones fluctuate, your body temperature can go from too hot to too cold several times a day. Build your wardrobe so that you can peel off or add clothing with little hassle.
  • Select several different styles and fits to try on. Pants, in particular, come with many different types of stretch panels, and will often fit and feel different. Also, as you progress in your pregnancy, it may not be only your stomach that grows, but also your posterior and hips.
  • Most women find themselves with larger feet when they’re pregnant. Find a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes that you can slip on without bending over.
  • Don’t forget about undergarments! Because most women experience an increase in breast size during pregnancy, you’ll probably need a few new bras. For underpants, you can either purchase maternity briefs that will come up over the belly, or simply buy your usual cut and fit in a larger size and wear under the belly.

Dress with confidence. There’s no need to hide in the tent-like dresses and sweaters your mother and grandmother might have worn. Embrace styles that will flatter your new, glowing-with-life form.

  • Highlight your favorite features. Buy a cute skirt to show off trim legs, a cap-sleeved top to draw attention to toned arms, or a top with an eye-catching neckline to flatter a pretty throat.
  • Seek out pieces that blend comfort with easy style, like a well-made sweater or detailed, flat-soled boots.
  • Buy a few accessories, such as scarves and jewelry, to complement your new maternity clothes. Select pieces you can see yourself wearing with your normal wardrobe after the pregnancy.

If you’re planning on nursing, buy ahead. Recovering from childbirth and nursing a newborn can be exhausting, and the last thing you’ll want to do is make a time and energy consuming shopping expedition. Purchasing some nursing items ahead of time, in your second or third trimester, can save you some trouble.

  • Buy nursing bras. These are bras that allow you to uncover one breast at a time if you are planning on breastfeeding. They are convenient and easy to use in public places.
  • Nursing clothes (usually shirts, but also camisoles and dresses) have openings that make it easier to nurse, especially in public. Nursing sleepwear likewise makes for less disrobing at nighttime feedings.
  • Try to guess how your existing clothes might work before spending too much money on specialized nursing items. They may be able to accommodate breastfeeding discreetly.

Finally, consider hiring or borrowing clothing from friends who aren’t currently pregnant as an option if such options exist for you.

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