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Your guide to buying maternity clothes

You’re going to have a baby, yay! But now what to do about your clothes? As soon as you begin to show the slightest hint of a baby bump, you may begin to browse the latest in maternity fashion, and may have even come across that Instagram fashionista with the perfectly shaped bump who makes dressing her pregnancy belly look effortless. In reality, finding maternity clothes that fit comfortably and flatter your blossoming belly can be a challenge for many expectant moms. Here is your guide to buying maternity clothes.

When should you buy maternity clothes?

No two women experience pregnancy the same way. That means if you’re wondering when to start shopping for maternity clothes, it depends on your preference. If you do some research, you’ll discover that moms-to-be start wearing maternity clothing at all varying phases of their pregnancy. Here are some general guidelines that may help you determine when to buy maternity clothing:

  • Spandex has become your go-to clothing material. 
  • You have a hard time buttoning your shirts all the way down
  • You need to unbutton the top button of your pants to feel comfortable
  • You constantly feel bloated
  • Your burgeoning belly starts to peek out of your tops

These indications go hand-in-hand with your little one’s growth in utero. Many women begin showing at around the 20 week mark, as the uterus at this stage is typically at the level of the navel. That said, there is variability depending on the expectant mum’s body type and height, number of babies in utero, weight gain, and whether or not it is a first pregnancy. 

For first pregnancy, the belly typically shows a bit later than in subsequent pregnancies. As a first-time mom, you may want to show off your bump even in the early stages, but you may to hold off on buying maternity clothes especially in the first 12weeks of pregnancy when your body is still adjusting to the changes taking place.

How to get started buying maternity clothes

Here are some tips on the basics you should look for in your maternity wardrobe.

  • What size maternity clothes should you buy?

If this is your first time being pregnant, you’ll find that it’s almost impossible to figure out how your body will change as your pregnancy journey progresses. This can make it quite difficult to estimate what size maternity wear you’ll want to go for.

Maternity sizes go hand-in-hand with regular clothing sizes. That means that if you’re a regular size “small”, you’ll likely be a small in maternity sizes as well. This is also the case with sizes that come in numbers: if you were an 8 prior to your pregnancy, look for maternity items in that size.

When it comes to items like jeans, particularly varieties that are labeled by waist size (for example, 30-inch), you’ll still want to go for a pair in that size – just the maternity version. 

It might be tempting to choose non-maternity clothes that are a size or two larger than what you typically wear, as if you’re sizing up to accommodate weight gain. However, this is not recommended as you will end up with ill-fitting clothes that won’t flatter your new figure. Maternity clothes are designed with details and extra fabric that will not only ensure you’re comfortable, but also flatter your body.

  • What are some must-have items in your maternity wardrobe?

While you may already have some of these items in your pre-pregnancy wardrobe, others are unique to maternity wardrobes as they are meant to not only be comfortable but also to flatter your bump.

1. T-shirts

You’ll want to invest in a couple of stretchy maternity T-shirts in different colors. T-shirts are incredibly versatile – they can be worn over jeans, under cardigans on chilly days, used as a layering piece under dresses and jumpsuits, and styled with leggings and sneakers.

2. Good fitting jeans and/or trousers

When it comes to styling your bump, jeans are one wardrobe staple that you don’t have to give up. An important feature of maternity jeans is the bump support – you can either to go for the over-the-bump or under-the-bump support panel. There many styles to choose from, including the skinny leg, the straight leg, and the classic wide leg.

3. Leggings

Leggings are a must-have essential pregnancy staple due to their undeniable versatility – they can be worn as your base layer for long line shirts, dresses, blouses, and loungewear tops. Choose leggings that come in weighted fabrics so that they look and feel significantly more comfortable, as well as give you full coverage.

4. Underwear

Don’t forget your underwear! Here are some guidelines on choosing underwear at different stages of your pregnancy:

  • 0-3 months

Go for a soft, stretchy and supportive non-wired bra to accommodate your breasts comfortably.

  • 3-9 months

Choose any well-designed nursing bra at this stage. A quality nursing bra should have six eyes and hooks for maximum support and extension.

5. Dresses

You have several options when it comes to maternity dresses:

  • Maxi dresses

A form-fitting design of this type of dress may help you feel more confidents as your body shape changes.

  • Shirt dresses

Upgrade your maternity wardrobe with a stylish shirt dress that you can wear on its own or over leggings.

  • LBDs

Whether you prefer a form-fitting number or a cocktail version of this item, a little black dress is a must-have for when you have to go to a baby shower, wedding, or an after-work event.

Factors to consider when buying maternity clothes

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when buying maternity clothes:

1. Season

Yes, that lightweight baby doll maternity dress will look great on you when you hit the 8-month mark, but will you reach that milestone in the summer or will it be winter by then? The weather is an important consideration especially with season-specific clothing.

2. Personal style

Consider your usual style and our favorite items in your wardrobe, and then buy similar maternity items. You’ll be more comfortable if you step out in the maternity style of what you normally wear.

3. Function

If you intend to continue working in a corporate environment until your due date, you might not need multiple pairs of maternity jeans. Choose maternity clothing based on what you’re going to be doing during your pregnancy.

Final thoughts

As your body begins to change and your bump grows, you will find that you have to make some changes when it comes to how you dress. Above anything else, maternity clothes should always be comfortable, for you and your baby’s sake.

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