pregnant woman in orange dress shopping for maternity clothes

When to Start Wearing Maternity Clothes: Guide for New Moms

Hey there, mama-to-be! Pregnancy is an incredibly exciting and transformative time in our lives, but it can also bring about some unique challenges. 

One of these challenges involves knowing when it’s the right time to start wearing maternity clothes. Just because we are growing a human baby does not mean we’re ready to give up our skinny jeans and LBDs, am I right?

But as your body undergoes remarkable changes to accommodate the growing baby bump, finding comfortable and stylish clothing becomes increasingly important. Let’s go over the signs that indicate it may be time to invest in some maternity wear, ensuring you stay both fashionable and comfortable throughout your pregnancy journey.

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Early Signs and Symptoms

As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll begin to notice certain changes that indicate it might be time to switch to maternity clothes for comfort and adaptability.

Changes in Body Shape and Size

Body Shape: During the early stages of pregnancy, you may notice your body starting to change shape, particularly around the midsection, obviously!

  • Belly: A growing belly, though not yet a pronounced baby bump, can hint at the need for more room.
  • Breasts: Your breasts are likely to increase in size, causing regular bras to feel restrictive.

Weight Gain and Bloating:

  • Weight Gain: A slight weight gain is natural as your body prepares for the baby, leading to a snug fit in your usual clothing.
  • Bloating: Even before significant weight gain, bloating can be a sign that your body is changing.

Discomfort Caused by Regular Clothes

  • Tight Clothing: As your body changes, you may find that your regular clothes become tight and uncomfortable, especially around the waist.
  • Stretch: Lack of stretch in your clothing may cause discomfort, indicating the potential need for maternity wear with extra give.
  • Maternity Bras: Consider switching to maternity bras to provide better support and comfort for your changing breasts.

Fit: Pay attention to how your clothes fit you:

  • If buttons are harder to close and seams are stretching, it’s a sign to embrace maternity styles.
  • If your jeans or skirts leave impressions on your skin, consider maternity options with adjustable waistbands.

Comfort is key in early pregnancy, and adapting your wardrobe to include maternity clothes can alleviate discomfort caused by regular clothing. Remember, each person’s experience is unique, and it’s your personal preference that should ultimately guide when you make the transition to maternity wear.

pregnant woman putting on jeans

Factors to Consider When Buying Maternity Clothes

When deciding to start wearing maternity clothes, it is important to base your decision on personal comfort and how your body is changing. These aren’t one-size-fits-all guidelines; listening to your body is key.

Your pregnancy is as individual as you are. While some women need to start wearing maternity clothes relatively early, others may find their usual wardrobe fits comfortably for longer. Here are specific details to help you evaluate when it might be time for you to make the switch:

  • Body Shape: Your pre-pregnancy body shape can affect how your clothes fit during pregnancy. If you typically carry weight in your midsection, you may feel the need for maternity clothes sooner.
  • Weight Gain: Pay attention to where and how you gain weight. An overall gentle increase in weight might not require a switch to maternity clothes as urgently as more concentrated weight gain in the belly area.
  • Pregnancy Changes: Everyone’s pregnancy journey differs. Monitor how your body feels and changes week by week. Increased breast size, a growing belly, and other bodily changes are indicators that it might be time to consider maternity clothes for comfort.
  • Comfort: Comfort is paramount during pregnancy. If you’re finding your clothes restrictive or uncomfortable, it may be a sign that it’s time to explore maternity options.
  • Personal Preferences: Do you prefer clothing that is fitted or loose? Your personal style will inform the types of maternity clothes you’ll feel best in. Remember, there’s a wide range of options to suit your taste.

Choosing when to start wearing maternity clothes is a decision guided by the unique way your body adapts to pregnancy. Always aim for comfort and styles that make you feel confident and at ease.

pregnant woman window shopping for maternity clothes

When to Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

Transitioning to maternity clothes is a personal experience, and the timing can vary. Let’s go over a guideline of what to expect during each trimester and our recommendations on what (if any) maternity clothes to start wearing.

First Trimester (0-12 Weeks)

During the first trimester, you may not need to buy maternity clothes just yet. Many women opt for loose-fitting clothes they already own to accommodate initial changes. However, a belly band can be a great investment early on, providing extra support and extending the life of your pre-pregnancy pants.

Second Trimester (13-27 Weeks)

By the second trimester, your baby bump becomes more prominent and this is often when women find it necessary to invest in some maternity clothes for comfort. Consider starting with essential maternity pants and a few tops, as your belly will need more room and support. The increase in weeks brings a noticeable growth in belly size, signaling a good time to enhance your maternity wardrobe.

Third Trimester (28 Weeks Onwards)

The third trimester is when you will likely feel the most benefit from a full maternity wardrobe. Maternity clothes during these weeks offer necessary support for your growing baby bump and belly. It’s also a period where personal preference plays a significant role; you may prioritize items like dresses or supportive leggings, depending on what feels most comfortable for your body’s changes as well as the season.

pregnant woman shopping for maternity clothes

Tips for Choosing Maternity Clothes

Selecting maternity clothes involves more than just accommodating a growing belly. It’s about finding pieces that provide comfort, adaptability, and support.

Choose Versatility

It’s wise to invest in maternity clothes that are versatile enough to wear from the first trimester to post-partum. Look for items like tops with ruched sides or dresses with empire waists, which can both flatter your changing figure and ensure prolonged use. Building a capsule wardrobe with a few key pieces can save you money and make daily outfit choices simpler.

Opt for Breathable Fabrics

When shopping for maternity clothes, prioritize breathable and stretchy fabrics like cotton and spandex. These materials not only support your body as it changes but also help to maintain comfort. A good fit is one that can expand but is secure enough to offer support where needed, especially in maternity bottoms and dresses.

Consider the Weather

Your maternity wardrobe should reflect the seasons to keep you comfortable year-round. In warmer months, light, airy fabrics will keep you cool, while layers are your best friend during colder months. Don’t underestimate accessories like maternity tights or light scarves, as they can enhance both comfort and style.

Don’t Forget About Undergarments!

Maternity undergarments are essential for maximizing comfort. Investing in well-fitting maternity bras and underwear can make a significant difference in your daily comfort. Look for bras without underwire, but with wider straps and soft, stretchable fabric. Likewise, maternity underwear should sit comfortably below your belly, be breathable, and stretchy enough to accommodate changing shapes.

pregnant woman wearing maternity jeans with stretchy band

Other Options for Maternity Clothes

When expanding your wardrobe for pregnancy, you don’t have to buy everything new; there are cost-efficient and flexible options available to you.

Maternity Wear Rental or Borrowing from Friends/Family

Renting maternity clothes can be an excellent way to access high-quality, fashionable maternity pieces without the full expense of purchasing them. Services typically work on a subscription basis, offering you the flexibility to swap out garments as your body changes. Borrowing from friends or family is another budget-friendly choice. By reusing their maternity clothes, you can alleviate the need to spend money on items you’ll wear for a limited time.

  • Key Benefits:
    • Save money by avoiding full purchase prices
    • Access to a variety of styles and sizes
    • Environmentally friendly by reusing resources
  • Considerations:
    • Ensure rental terms fit within your budget
    • Check the condition of borrowed items
    • Confirm the availability of sizes to accommodate your changing body

Consignment Shops or Online Marketplaces for Affordable Options

Consignment shops and online marketplaces represent treasure troves for maternity wear at reduced prices. You’ll often find gently used clothing that is perfect for a maternity wardrobe on a budget. Leggings, stretchy tops, and versatile dresses are commonly available and can complement your existing wardrobe.

  • How to Find Deals:
    • Search for local consignment shops specializing in maternity wear
    • Use online platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or specialized maternity resale sites
    • Set up alerts for particular items you’re looking for
  • Tips for Shopping:
    • Look for quality brands known for their durability
    • Focus on essential maternity pieces that offer the most versatility and comfort
    • Always check return policies in case items don’t fit or meet your expectations

Remember, you can stay stylish and comfortable without overspending on maternity clothes—alternative options are there to expand your maternity wardrobe creatively and affordably.

pregnant woman taking a break while shopping in mall for maternity clothes

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the world of maternity clothes might seem tricky, but listening to your body’s changing needs will guide you. Let’s address some common questions you might have.

pregnant woman shopping on a laptop for maternity clothes

Final Thoughts

The decision of when to start wearing maternity clothes ultimately depends on individual comfort and body changes. While some women may choose to embrace these specialized garments early on in their pregnancy journey, others may find that their regular clothing accommodates their changing bodies for a longer period. 

It is important to prioritize comfort and support during this transformative time, and investing in maternity wear can provide both physical relief and emotional reassurance. By understanding the signs of needing additional support and considering personal preferences, expectant mothers can confidently navigate the world of maternity fashion with ease. 

Remember, there is no right or wrong time to start wearing maternity clothes – it’s all about what feels best for you!

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