What if you’re pregnant and you’re unsure when to begin shopping for your maternity clothes? Check out our style advice for expectant mothers and a list of must-haves for new moms…
It amazed us how early many of our moms started buying maternity clothes when we asked them when they started wearing them.
“I guess I started wearing certain maternity pieces, particularly jeans, about 9 weeks,” MrsKP said.
“I went to work in maternity pants at 10 weeks – purely for the comfort,” Snugglenush exclaimed.
Buying maternity clothes in the early stages of pregnancy may appear enormous, but don’t buy too little: you can even use a small pillow when trying on garments to get a sense of how you’ll look in your third trimester.
Look for garments with additions like embroidery or embellishment.
- elasticized sections around the bust and waist
- elasticized waistbands
You’ll have more room to grow if you do all of that. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out our roundup of the greatest maternity clothing options.
You’ll get more wear out of your maternity clothes if you choose softer materials like cotton jersey or a little spandex.
When Do You Wear Maternity Clothes?
If you’re asking yourself, “When will I need maternity clothes?” then read on. Know that maternity clothing is not usually a priority when pregnant. It’s not uncommon for women in their first trimester to start thinking about maternity or larger-size clothing. When you should start wearing maternity clothes depends on a variety of circumstances.
Size of the Growing Uterus
Preparing for maternity wear might be made easier if you are aware of the typical increase in uterine size.
- The uterus reaches the top of your pubic bone at 12 weeks of pregnancy.
- As about 14 weeks old, it stands roughly 2 inches above the bone.’
- At 16 weeks, your pubic bone and belly button are about equal distances apart.
- It’s at the belly button at 20 weeks.
- The size of your upper belly will increase over the next 20 weeks, affecting the type of clothing you can wear.
Consider the following as your uterus grows:
- If you have a preexisting tendency for fat deposition on your abdomen, which begins in the first trimester of pregnancy, you may notice some rounding and protruding of your stomach and discomfort in your clothing.
- The uterus is still not visible to others at 14 weeks, but you may begin to feel its presence in your lower belly. At this time, if it hasn’t already, your clothing may start to tighten around your waist. Pregnant women often begin wearing maternity trousers at this point in their pregnancies because they are more comfortable and provide a better fit, making you appear pregnant rather than just gaining weight.
- At around 16 weeks, some women begin to “show” as the uterus grows and additional fat deposits protrude. It is common for women to transition to larger clothing at this time.
- The majority of women will be wearing maternity or looser clothing by the time they reach 20 weeks.
Differences in Weight and Body Shape
Some women may not begin to feel uncomfortable in their pre-pregnancy clothes until after 16 weeks of pregnancy due to variances in body shapes, pre-pregnancy weight, and pre-pregnancy clothing designs.
Just as they do before, pregnant women’s bellies come in diverse forms and sizes. Because of your shorter belly, if you’re tall, you may notice that your abdomen protrudes earlier than usual.
Some women may not “show” as early as others because of their pre-pregnancy weight gain or the fact that they tend to carry more of their weight around their midsection. However, due of their eating habits, obese women are more likely than skinny women to gain weight during pregnancy.
Weight Gain and Bloating
If your pre-pregnancy weight is normal or overweight, expect your clothes to get tighter before the second trimester if you acquire a lot of weight early in pregnancy. Pregnancy weight growth may be more important than the size of your uterus in determining when to buy new clothing.
- Weight gain occurs in a variety of ways for different women. As a pregnant woman, you may need maternity clothing based on the amount of fat that accumulates on your tummy.
- During the first trimester, if you gain weight due to water retention, you may find that you are unable to wear standard clothing due to discomfort in the midsection. Many women begin wearing maternity pants because of this.
- Pregnant women may experience constipation and gas-related bloating due to the slowing effect of the progesterone hormone on the bowels. As a result, maternity clothing may be required as early as the first trimester.
While your uterus is expanding, so are your breasts. Your breasts will enlarge and become heavier as a result of the elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body.
Depending on the rate of growth you may start needing increasingly larger cup and bras sizes, and larger tops from the first trimester. Thankfully, maternity bras have multiple rows of hooks for extending the width as your chest circumference grows.
Number of Babies on Board
Depending on the rate of growth you may start needing increasingly larger cup and bras sizes, and larger tops from the first trimester. Thankfully, maternity bras have multiple rows of hooks for extending the width as your chest circumference grows.
Primigravida vs Multigravida
From the first trimester onward, you may need gradually larger bra and cup sizes, as well as larger tops, depending on the rate of expansion. You may easily expand the width of your maternity bras by using the multiple rows of hooks that are available.
Weight loss can occur early in the first trimester as a result of morning sickness or its crueler sibling, hyperemesis gravidarum. The necessity for maternity clothing may arise later in the second trimester because to the lower fat deposit in the belly.
Maternity Clothes and Sizes
Maternity clothing sizes are designed to accommodate a developing belly. In general, the sizes correspond to those of non-pregnant women. So, unless you acquire a significant amount of weight during pregnancy, if you normally wear a size 8, you may anticipate wearing the same size during your pregnancy.
When your uterus reaches a height of 20 weeks, depending on your weight gain, you may have to go up a size.
In addition to business attire and formal attire, there are a variety of pregnancy styles to pick from.
Alternatives to Maternity Clothes
For whatever reason, some women aren’t ready to start wearing maternity clothes until much later in their pregnancy. Pregnant women may choose to wear larger or looser regular clothing, rather than maternity clothing, throughout their pregnancy. There are some styles that can meet a pregnant woman’s fluctuating size needs throughout her pregnancy, such as:
- Flared dresses in the A-line style.
- dresses with empire waistlines that do not fit over the lower abdomen
- Dresses with a flared waist and pleats.
- Flowy, sleeveless sheath dresses made of flexible fabrics that cinch in the middle
- Pants or skirts with an elasticized waist, in instance, can be worn in a variety of ways depending on the situation.
- In the late second and third trimester, you should go up a size or more in your regular clothing.
- An oversize shirt is an excellent choice for the first three months of pregnancy since it allows you to accommodate the growing breast size.
- In the latter half of the second trimester, and especially in the third, loose, billowy clothes will be more accommodating to your expanding bust and belly.
Deciding When to Start Buying Maternity clothes
Pre-pregnancy weight, body shape, developing uterus and breasts, and pregnancy weight increase are some of the primary characteristics that determine when you should begin wearing maternity clothing (or not). To help you decide when to start and what to wear while pregnant, consider how comfortable you are in your clothing.
How much maternity clothing to invest in
Pregnancy wardrobe staples are a smart place to start, depending on the season you’re due and how your body evolves. A good pair of maternity jeans (in a wash that goes with everything) and a pair of basic black leggings are must-haves for expecting moms, and you’ll be wearing them long after the baby is born, too. At least three to five pregnant T-shirts or tanks in colors that work nicely with your current wardrobe should be purchased if you don’t already have a few longer tees and tanks that can stretch over your bump. Under a nice coat, jacket, or fashionable cardigan they’re perfect. Two to three dresses that can be dressed up or down, for business or play, are a wise investment. In the latter stages of your pregnancy, you may also prefer a more formal attire for a wedding, maternity photoshoot, or baby shower. Beyond that, you may only require items that are specific to the time of year (such as a winter coat that may be worn while pregnant or a maternity swimsuit).
Maternity clothing essentials
You’ll hear “basics” and “essentials” over and over again when it comes to maternity apparel. Some of the pieces in your maternity wardrobe will sound familiar from your pre-pregnancy wardrobe, but there are other maternity wardrobe basics that are specifically designed to accommodate and complement your growing belly.
Every T-shirt. Stretchy pregnant T-shirts in white, gray, and black are essential for a healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is the best way to finish off a pair of (maternity) pants.
• I’d like to wear my mom’s jeans. You’ll be relieved to know that despite all the changes to your body, you can still slip into a pair of jeans. And if you’ve never worn pregnancy pants before, you might never want to go back.
• Leggings all day, every day. Keeping a few pairs of leggings on hand is a smart idea. They conform to your body, making them the most comfortable alternative.
• Don’t undervalue the importance of your pants. Invest in supportive bras that look good and feel good, as well as comfy undergarments. If you’re on a budget, consider a maternity bra that also serves as a nursing bra. This most intimate layer of clothes sets the tone for the rest of your wardrobe if you take it seriously.
Assist from Maxi, of course! Wearing this classic dress in a more form-fitting style may help you feel more youthful as your body and silhouette evolve.
If you want to win, your best bet is to wear a long, flowing dress. Little black dresses are essential for a variety of occasions, from weddings and showers to after-work parties.
• Dress in blazers to make a good impression. You can never have too many blazers in your wardrobe. It’ll look great on you no matter how much weight you gain during your pregnancy.
Tips for what to look for in maternity clothes
When shopping for maternity clothing, keep these suggestions in mind to maximize your savings. There are some smart purchases that can even last you through the hump.
• Is it pliable? According to Greenstein, you don’t know how much weight you’ll gain during each trimester, so pay attention to the fabric of the maternity garments you’re purchasing. Flexibility can be increased by wearing clothing made of a flex, stretch, or jersey fabric, according to the expert.
• Do a sheerness test. Ask the fitting room attendant whether she’s able to see anything that she shouldn’t be. According to Brown, “Maternity clothes tends to have a lot of stretch, so it’s crucial to look at it in motion..” When shopping for maternity wear, avoid anything that become sheer when stretched.
Consider using ruching. With this feature, your maternity garments may stretch and expand with your growing belly. “It works with any single body type,” Greenstein claims. There’s no need to worry about bumps when you buy ruching-embellished clothing throughout your first trimester.
Think about your life after the birth of your child. She finds it “very convenient” when pregnancy brands include built-in nursing capabilities. Pregnancy clothing that make you look and feel good throughout the nine months and beyond are an excellent investment if you plan to breastfeed.
Where to Buy Maternity Clothes
You’re going through a lot of physical and emotional changes during your pregnancy, which can make it feel like you’re going through adolescence all over again—unless you have a few maternity apparel brands recommended by maternity stylists in your back pocket.
Here is a list of the greatest retail outlets and e-commerce sites recommended by stylists so that you can maintain your sense of fashion during this major move.
For on-trend style
Most of us have a good sense of what’s in style for the current season, and this doesn’t change while you’re pregnant. There are fashionable maternity garments available at these four fashion retailers.
- Collection of Hatches
- Hana, the faithful
- This is Isabella Oliver
- There is an interracial couple named Ingrid and Isabel.
For maternity work clothes
Dressing for work when you’re pregnant can be difficult: Effortless elegance is important, but so is ease of movement. To get you through the day and into the evening, Brown suggests wearing tried-and-true maternity attire. Here are a few places you might want to check out:
- A Pod of Peas
- ROSIE POPE
For inexpensive maternity clothes
Since you’ll only be wearing these outfits for a short period of time, you may wish to save money on your maternity wardrobe. If you want to appear stylish this season without spending a lot of money, here are our favorite places to shop for affordable maternity wear that still looks expensive.
- New Era, Old Fashioned
For plus-size maternity clothes
Pregnant and plus-sized? When it comes to showing off your bump, there are plenty of fashionable and comfy options.
- Maternity as a Motherhood
- Clothes by Yours
For petite maternity clothes
Keep your belly out of the way by opting for maternity basics that are customized to your smaller frame rather than opting for bigger styles that hide your pregnancy. Styles in small sizes are available in a variety of pregnancy wear alternatives.
- Maternity LOFT
For comfortable maternity clothes
- Bravely Kindred
- Beyond the Yoga
Where to Rent Maternity Clothes
If you’d want to put these fashion suggestions into action but don’t want to invest on a new wardrobe, renting clothes is an excellent option.
Over 450 designers and brands are included in Rent the Runway’s subscription service for pregnancy and postpartum-friendly clothes. Although you get four new items each month with both a basic ($89/month) and unlimited ($159/month) subscription, the unlimited subscription allows you to swap them out whenever you want and to keep them for however long you like.
You may also choose your favorite styles from Le Tote’s maternity subscription and wear them as many times as you wish. Once you’re ready to receive a new tote of fresh looks, simply return everything in the pre-paid envelope. If you’re a member, you’ll be able to keep an item at a reduced price for as long as you like (up to 50 percent off retail). Starting at $79 per month, maternity subscriptions are available.
What To Do In Early Pregnancy If Pregnancy Clothes Don’t Fit?
Pregnancy is a time when most women’s wardrobes go through a strange phase when their bump first starts to outgrow their clothes.
Your usual clothes, but isn’t yet noticeable enough for most maternity clothing. Here are a few recommendations to help you get through the first few weeks of your new life:
- Make the switch to maternity trousers with the help of a belly band, such as the popular Bellaband. The top portion of your jeans are held in place by belly bands that glide over your abdomen. If your usual pants are unbuttoned, you don’t have to worry about them sliding down or exposing your tummy. Despite the fact that it may sound unusual, it’s actually rather cozy! Wear a cami under your belly band if your jeans fit snugly so the unsecured zipper doesn’t irritate your skin.
- Choosing the proper look – is essential. You can cover your increasing baby bulge by wearing shirts that aren’t too clingy, such as flowy or bulky ones that aren’t too tight.
- When you’re pregnant, it’s best to keep your tummy disguised by layering vests and cardigans over top of your maternity clothes.
While having a good self-image is important, don’t let it get to your head if you have a few days where nothing fits. In the end, the most important thing to remember is that you are growing and supporting a precious new life within your body. Pregnancy clothing issues will be forgotten as soon as you have your new bundle of joy in your arms.
Tips for Buying Maternity Clothes
Don’t start shopping too early!
As soon as you learn that you’re expecting a baby, it may be tempting to go on a shopping spree. Until your baby grows, it’s difficult to know how your body will alter during pregnancy. Despite the fact that many things and brands claim to be based on your pre-pregnancy size, women’s bodies vary in a variety of ways. It’s not just your baby bump that changes the way your clothes fit; you may also notice an increase in your chest or hips.
Plan for returns
Preparing a few essentials in advance is preferable to starting your shopping too early. To be safe, if your purchases don’t wind up fitting well, retain all of your receipts if you start shopping ahead of time.
Maternity clothing in-store selections are sometimes smaller than those available online, which makes internet buying more enticing. Free return shipping can save you money in the long run. Unless the store where you’re purchasing from offers free returns, Amazon is a good place to look if you’re looking for Motherhood Maternity products and other maternity wear.
Keep it simple
With a few pairs of high-quality slacks or jeans and a number of t-shirts, it’s easy to make sure you have all the clothing you’ll need for your pregnancy. Having a few “special” items might be fun, but if they aren’t extremely adaptable, you may start to feel like you’re wearing the same outfit every day.
Maternity clothing can be dressed up simply by accessorizing! To make things even better, you don’t even have to buy anything new. It’s a good idea to think about the accessories you currently own while shopping for maternity wear.
Is it too early to wear maternity clothes?
It’s best to go by how your regular clothing is fitting when it comes to maternity wear…. There are a number of reasons why it’s best to stock up on maternity clothing early on, including the fact that you are less likely to end up with something that’s either overpriced or unappealing.
Is 6 weeks too early for maternity clothes?
Most pregnant women don’t need to start wearing maternity clothes until they’re between 12 and 18 weeks along, which is when most women begin to show.
How many sizes do you go up during pregnancy?
Our recommendation for bridesmaid dresses is to get a size higher if you’re not pregnant at the time of purchase but are attempting to get pregnant. Even if you do become pregnant, your wedding gown will still fit you comfortably when the time comes.
When should I start wearing a maternity belly band?
During the first few months of pregnancy, many women prefer to wear belly bands because they don’t need as much support. While readjusting to their pre-pregnancy wardrobe, women can also benefit from the use of belly bands in the months following childbirth.
How do I know what size maternity to buy?
Sizes in maternity apparel are the same as those in non-maternity clothing, so you’ll be the same size in both. If you usually wear a small, you’ll be a maternity small as well. In terms of numerical sizes, a regular 6 or 28 is the same size as maternity 6 or 28.
What should I wear at 12 weeks pregnant?
A little stretchy cotton will do the trick at 12 weeks. In terms of versatility, nothing beats a T-shirt dress since it can grow with you as your hormones do. It’s always a good idea to wear a denim jacket over a stretch dress on the weekends, because you’re going to be cold at some point.
How can I look stylish during pregnancy?
Get an extra inch or two of height by wearing high heels with wedges or platforms.
As opposed to flattening out your breasts, a strapless bra will lift them instead, making it easier for you to show off your best side under fitting shirts and gowns.
Avoid cutting into your uterus by wearing loose-fitting clothing around the waist.
-Even though there isn’t much room left for your growing belly, loose fabrics like silk jerseys make you feel amazing.
For the nine months of pregnancy, you’ll want to wear maternity pants that are both comfortable and fashionable. Jeans without buttons on one side are so versatile that you’ll wear them long after the birth of your child….
If your top is getting too tight around your stomach, consider switching to maternity pants. They’re not just for pregnant ladies.
What should a pregnant woman wear in winter?
Don loose-fitting apparel such as large coats and shawls.
Keep your body warm by wearing woollen clothing. Avoid wearing white clothing at all costs. Because they don’t show dirt as readily, they’re easier to clean in the winter when you’ve had a muddy day out with your infant.
-Select shoes that cover your entire foot and at least half of the length of your legs so that heat may be locked inside. Sneakers are good for this purpose but avoid heels or else it could be difficult for you to walk fast on icy roads!
What to wear for winter maternity photos
The best way to keep your feet warm is to wear shoes that cover them up to at least half the length of your legs. Sneakers are appropriate for this reason but avoid heels or else it could be tough for you to move rapidly on ice roads!
The best way to keep your feet warm is to wear shoes that cover them up to at least half the length of your thighs. It’s best to wear sneakers for this, but stay away from high heels because they make it harder to move quickly on slippery roads!
Wearing maternity leggings while pregnant (I love these from Target) The H&M maternity line is my go-to for bigger sweaters and sweatshirts. -if it’s not too windy, flat boots with a tiny heel are preferable.
Check out the weather in your area before deciding whether or not you should wear heels or boots in the snow! Wide-legged pants, like as this pair from H&M, would also work well and keep your legs toasty.
Wide-leg jeans or sweatpants coupled with booties look adorable with thick socks. If they feel too casual, use black stockings below them. Jacket or hoodie that isn’t too heavy.
Lip balm, pom keychain, whatever you like, as long as it fits in your bag and isn’t bulky, will do! When he kisses away the windburn from spending so much time outside, he needs some sort of lip color or gloss (my favourite is this one from Sephora).
Lotion is a must because your skin will become extremely dry, and I can attest to this! Even though I have always been pretty good about moisturizing my skin daily, pregnancy has dried out my face like never before!
Hats with ear flaps, such as those from Target, fold up into their own pocket and are great for keeping the cold at bay. Just in case it turns chilly at night after skating (and also excellent if we go tubing later this month!).
Despite their attractiveness, these hats do not give the impression that I am wearing a watermelon on my head.
How much does the average pregnant woman spend on maternity clothes?
Pregnancy is a joyous time in a woman’s life, one to be loved and savored. Pregnancy brings many blessings, but it also comes with a slew of additional costs.
During this time, the cost of medical care can significantly increase, and you may end up spending more than usual on doctor visits, tests, and ultrasounds.
To top it all off, buying maternity apparel is an unexpected bill that many women don’t anticipate until their baby bump starts to appear. As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll quickly realize how much money you’ll need to spend on new clothing for each stage.
When Do I Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?
Pregnancy is a unique experience for each woman, but there are a few common challenges that nearly all women face. Dressing for your changing physique is one of those things! When major shifts occur, it’s not uncommon for fashion and comfort to suffer. Fortunately, we have all the answers you need.
The short answer is that most women begin wearing maternity clothing when they begin to feel uneasy in their regular attire after becoming pregnant. Every woman will reach this point at a different time, but there are a few things to keep in mind when weighing the pros and cons of making the leap.
The uterus is one organ that will continue to expand in all women. Pregnancy growth phases and how they affect the uterus might be useful in determining where you are in the process and what will be most comfortable for you. Listed below is a breakdown of when and where your uterus should be located (usually).
The uterus is right above your pubic bone at this point.
Your pubic bone should be around two inches above your belly button at this point.
Halfway between your pubic bone and belly button, your uterus is now at 16 weeks.
It reaches your belly button at the end of the 20th week.
While pregnant, you’ll notice that your uterus is getting bigger and bigger over time. In the 14th week of pregnancy, you may begin to notice that your abdomen has grown a little, but most women don’t begin to show until around 16 weeks. Most expectant mothers will be wearing maternity or loose-fitting clothing by week 20.
Before you are pregnant, your body type or shape will give you a decent idea of how quickly you’ll need to change your outfit to be comfortable. A shorter person’s belly may protrude earlier than someone with a longer torso, for example. The longer you’ve been pregnant, the more time you’ll have to show. Being familiar with your own physical characteristics might help you anticipate the changes that will occur, but you should expect the unexpected.
This changes from woman to woman during the course of the pregnancy. There are some women who put on a lot of weight during pregnancy regardless of their pre-pregnancy weight. When it comes to fat distribution, women tend to gain weight in different parts of their bodies, which might have an impact on the clothes they desire to wear. Maternity clothing may not be necessary if you tend to gain weight in your face or legs.
If you’re feeling particularly bloated during your first trimester, it’s possible that you’ll need to switch to a different formula sooner rather than later.
During pregnancy, your body’s progesterone and estrogen levels rise, causing your breasts to quickly enlarge and bulk up. Maternity clothing for your chest could be necessary before you buy maternity clothing for your abdomen. Because of this, you don’t need to buy a new maternity bra every time your cup size changes, as is the case with many other types of bras.
It’s obvious that your timeline will be drastically altered if you’re expecting more than one child, and it will move at a rate roughly twice as fast. However, you should keep these elements in mind when planning your wardrobe.
Early in your pregnancy, you may actually lose weight before gaining it if you have a lot of morning sickness. For a longer time, you won’t need to buy maternity apparel (at least for your abdomen area).
Pregnant women must have developed maternity wear, as they are remarkably easy to convert to your size! Maternity clothing sizes are often the same as pre-pregnancy sizes.
For those who have put off purchasing new clothing, there are still items that can be worn well into the third trimester. Dresses with an empire waist, a-line dresses that flare out, or sheath dresses made of elastic fabric are all good options. Consider pants or skirts with elastic waistlines, so you can wear them above or below your abdomen, depending on what you require. Wearing loose-fitting, flowy tops is also beneficial to your breast area.
While many women’s transitions to maternity clothing may be unique, keep in mind that it’s all about your own comfort. When it’s time, you’ll know it’s time!
It’s a good idea to plan ahead when, where, and how you’ll buy your maternity clothes so that you don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed. Even if there isn’t a magic number for when you should start wearing maternity clothes, planning out what you’ll need and how you’ll put it all together is a great way to get ready to shop for maternity clothes. In the meantime, a belly band and a few baggy blouses can do the trick!