Maternity wear is now as cute as any junior’s section, and sometimes just as affordable! But not all bumps are created equal— some moms-to-be won’t be showing much until their 3rd trimester, so unless you have an unlimited budget for clothing you can only wear for a few months, a good rule of thumb is to go slowly, start with basics, and shop your closet first!
Even though every pregnancy is different, comfort is tough to come by for just about every mama during this time. We face different wardrobe dilemmas at different times, so there is no single formula for what will work best for you. Whatever issues you feel plagued by during these ten months are specific to you, and your comfort levels will vary from any and every other woman.
At least for the Millennial Mom, finding clothing to suit your comfort needs and style isn’t really an issue! Your biggest problem may just be the temptation to snatch up all the cute maternity clothes you see online and in stores! But the reality is, you probably won’t need all of these items, so take a deep breath, focus on your needs, and flex your wish list before checking out!
Belly-Easing Maternity Pants
Whether or not you’re showing in your first and second trimesters, you may want to invest in at least a pair or two of maternity pants to accommodate the bloating and discomfort you’ll feel around your waist as your organs adjust to your growing uterus. Having looser fit and softer waistlines may ease your morning sickness as well.
Thankfully, maternity pants come in so many different styles, appropriate for both work and play. Most are better suited for larger bellies (providing ample third trimester support), but some maternity pants feature soft, elastic bands around the waist to allow for growth and comfort in earlier stages of pregnancy as well.
Of course, you can get away with wearing old sweat pants or over-sized slacks, but finding a pair of super cute maternity denim jeans, work slacks, yoga pants, overalls or shorts will revive your sense of style, confidence, and general happiness, which isn’t just for you— it helps your baby feel good too, as he absorbs your thoughts and feelings as his own!
Respectable Yet Stylish Work Attire
Again, first on your list in this department should be belly-easing maternity slacks that provide the comfort you need at all stages of your pregnancy. Many Working-Mamas-in-the-Making don’t intend on clueing in their co-workers or boss to their pregnancy until they have to, so finding comfortable work attire to ease and hide their growing belly is extremely important. Especially if you suffer from morning sickness, you’ll want a pair of maternity slacks early on to keep you sitting comfortably at your desk throughout the day.
As you pass through your second trimester and into your third, finding tops to cover your belly may become more difficult, so you’ll want to invest in some long layers to keep your tummy from peeking out the bottom of your shirt. Start with a belly-supporting tank top that will be sure to offer coverage no matter which way you bend. How you layer over that depends on your belly size, and how hot you run (despite what the thermostat is set at). Some women complain of feeling extremely warm throughout their pregnancy, so dressing in layers may be the best way to stay comfortable throughout a long day at the office.
The Formal Belly-Draping Evening Gown
This dress is strictly optional, and most likely only pertains to those whose lifestyle requires a formal evening gown. Best for second and third trimesters, the formal maternity gown is a sophisticated and elegant addition to your wardrobe for holiday parties, galas, black tie weddings, and formal occasions (like attending the orchestra, or the Oscars).
The Pregnancy-Announcing Dress
This is one optional piece of attire that does not need to be maternity-specific. However, when the time comes to announce your pregnancy to friends and family (or followers online), sometimes just sporting a “maternity dress” will make it feel all the more real— and exciting!
Plus these dresses are great to wear to just about any occasion, from brunch with girl friends, to visiting family, to hitting up the farmers market, or date night with your partner. One or two cute dresses that show off your baby bump will keep you feeling confident, proud, and beautiful throughout your pregnancy. With this piece of clothing, its all about having fun!
The Baby Shower Dress
This is time for Mama to show off her personal style! Traditionally, baby shower dresses are meant to enhance a woman's femininity and fertility, but that doesn't have to apply to you! You can choose to be as feminine or as form-fitting as you like, there are thousands of styles out there accommodating every kind of mom-to-be. You'll be with your friends and family, so wear what you want!
The Majestic Maternity Shoot Gown
Another totally optional dress, this is only for those wishing to memorialize their majestic belly in all its third trimester glory against an incredible natural landscape or other glorious backdrop. Of course, not every maternity shoot requires this style of photography, and you will be just as amazing in more typical clothing, shot indoors or in your yard with your husband holding your hand, or kissing your tummy! To each their own with this one!
If you do choose to go the majestic maternity gown route for your photography, the key is confidence, and choosing a dress to help capture your inner goddess! Fewer times in life are we more connected to the universe than when we’re carrying a child within us.
The Belly Accommodating Maternity Top
You might be in your third trimester when… even your t-shirts and sweaters expose your tummy underneath! At this point you may already be wearing a long tank top under your regular tops, but by the third trimester you are most likely in a place where its just looking silly without a little help from the maternity department. Its time for belly-accommodating tops of all kinds— blouses, sweaters, t-shirts, flannels… whatever is weather-appropriate and getting you out of the house with a bit of dignity!
One great thing about maternity-specific tops is that they tend to be made of softer, more breathable fabrics than typical tops, which makes all the difference when you’re otherwise trapped in on-going discomfort.
The Bump-Accommodating Winter Coat
Obviously, this one may only be necessary if you’re rocking a major baby bump during the dead of winter in a snowy climate. Many winter coats already come with enough room to zip up over a healthy belly, but in case yours doesn’t, there are options for maternity coats, giving you extra space! Avoid a long, cold, uncomfortable winter and invest in this piece that will get you out of the house, even during a blistery blizzard!
The Belly-Flattering Bathing Suit
Obviously, this is an optional piece of clothing, unless of course you live poolside or at the beach (or baby mooning there!). Whether or not your suit is maternity-specific depends on your style and size of your tummy— its totally acceptable to be bare-bellied in all your glory in a teeny bikini! Even if you prefer a higher waist, there are plenty of swimsuit styles to accommodate that look as well— a maternity swimsuit may only be necessary if you’re needing the extra space for your waist, say, during your third trimester.
The good news is that a belly-flattering suit will continue to be fashionable for postpartum belly support all summer long. There is no need to “bounce back” from your baby weight— give yourself ample time for recovery and ride the new mommy/ new belly wave with pride!
Mommy Undies to Keep You Feeling Fresh
There are really two kinds of maternity underwear— those that are merely soft-banded around the waist and legs with temperature controlling fabric to keep you feeling as comfortable as possible, and those that come with leakage protection for sneezes, coughs, and kicks in the bladder from your little bundle of love. Some women may have no problem with this, but many women will face the embarrassment of regular bladder leakage during their pregnancy… and postpartum! So a few pairs of these may last a lot longer than you’d hope them to!
It may seem like a lot of new clothing, but truth be told, many of these pieces are optional, many are very affordable, and many can be borrowed from a mama you know who recently gave birth. More importantly, you might be able to get through most of your pregnancy without needing any new clothes, depending on the size of your current closet and your typical style. Boho maxi dresses are perfect for comfortable days in the sun, just as relaxed track pants can get you through cooler winter weather.
And it all depends on your belly! Some of us stay rather small and make get by with our regular clothes for most of the ten months, whereas others outgrow everything by 6 months in!
Do you have other recommendations for maternity wear, not covered here?
Do you have a favorite shop to buy maternity wear from?
Leave a comment below, and please share this article with an expecting mom you know!