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How to Dress During Pregnancy

Updated on March 2, 2017
ThePracticalMommy profile image

Marissa is a writer and a stay-at-home mom to four. She has experienced 4 c-section births and wants to share her knowledge and experience.

When to Buy Maternity Clothes

If you just discovered your pregnancy (excluding those who just discovered pregnancy at 40 weeks….), you are probably not even close to ‘showing’ yet. You may have a small belly bulge at about 8 weeks, but guess what: you can still fit into your regular clothes!

Best time to buy maternity clothes is around 5-7 months, when the belly is too round to fit into anything else.

Tip: Buy or find clothes as you need them.

You may think you know what size you'll be in the upcoming season, but you may be surprised when the clothing you bought doesn't fit or you end up not wearing it at all. With my firstborn, I bought large maternity clothing ahead of time for the winter, only to find out that I wasn't showing enough to wear them. With my second born, I didn't even get to wear my winter maternity clothing since she was born three weeks early and winter hadn't even begun.

How to Dress When Pregnant

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I bet you're excited about this new adventure, thinking about the maternity clothes you'll soon be wearing. Do you know where to start?

Buying maternity clothes can get to be quite expensive, especially when you buy pieces that are only good for one season. What I did for both of my pregnancies was to find items that I could wear year-round without spending too much money. They were items that could be layered and mix-and-matched so they could be suitable for the weather and the occasion.

Finding clothing to wear during pregnancy doesn't have to be difficult. Here you will find suggestions about what to wear as well as how to find or buy the clothing.

When did you buy maternity clothes?

When did you first purchase any maternity clothes?

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How to Buy Maternity Clothes

Here’s the next tip you’ll appreciate:

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on maternity clothes.

Yup. That’s right! Maternity clothes are rather expensive, especially if you purchase them at specialty stores or boutiques. There are a few ways you can save on maternity clothes:

  • Buy a few pieces of maternity clothing that can be mixed and matched. Mixing and matching is a great way to keep a small wardrobe fresh.
  • Buy clothing in solid colors to make mixing and matching easier. Solid colors makes mix-and-matching clothing items easier. Solid colors are also great across all seasons.
  • Buy from regular clothing sections. You don't need to shop in the maternity section for clothing! Regular clothing sections have clothes that can be worn during pregnancy.
  • Add a few cardigans or sweaters to your wardrobe to wear maternity clothing in any season. Your sleeveless clothing items can be worn in all seasons if you have a sweater or cardigan to wear to keep you warm or to take off when warm.
  • Find lots of maternity clothes on eBay. Women who no longer need their maternity clothing turn to eBay to sell what they have. Search for 'lots' of maternity clothing to get a few pieces at a fraction of the cost of buying them separately in a store!
  • Shop the clearance racks. Some of my best maternity purchases came from the clearance racks. One of my special occasion maternity dresses came from a specialty store and only cost me $2.00 since it was on clearance!

Trendy Maternity Clothes

Gone are the days of large, flowery, flowing maternity clothes that our mothers or grandmothers wore. Today's maternity fashions are much more trendy and stylish. Much of the maternity clothing out there mimics the regular sized clothing so that you can't even tell the difference.

Liz Lange offers some great advice about trendy, fashionable maternity clothing in the video below.

Where Do You Buy Maternity Clothes?

You can find maternity clothes in specialty stores, boutiques, department stores, consignment shops or online. In specialty stores or boutiques, the price tag for maternity clothes is pretty expensive. Department stores offer a good selection of trendy maternity clothes (like the Liz Lange collection at Target) that are affordable.

Shopping online might be a little tricky due to sizing limitations, but there is plenty of maternity clothing to be found, both new and used. On eBay, you might be able to bid on a lot of maternity clothes and get a few pieces for a small price. Amazon carries many new pieces and trendy pieces that you would find in stores. Make sure to look at all available sizing charts to determine if clothing will fit you once it arrives.

Maternity Clothing Stores

Maternity Stores
Stores with Maternity Sections
Online Maternity Stores
Motherhood Maternity
A Pea in the Pod
Pickles and Ice Cream
JC Penney's
Destination Maternity
Sweet Pea
NINE Maternity
Old Navy
BellaBlu Maternity
Ann Taylor LOFT
Babies R' Us

Clothes for Pregnancy

Did you buy all of your maternity clothes or borrow from relative/friend?

See results

Free Maternity Clothes

Best way to save money on maternity clothes is to get them for free! How can you do that?

  • Use clothes that you already have and adapt for growing belly. So many pieces in your current wardrobe (or those in your spouse's/ partner's wardrobe) can be used during your pregnancy. If you have any large shirts, use a belt to cinch them above your belly. Use a belly band to keep up your pants instead of buttoning them.
  • Borrow maternity clothing from a friend. Chances are, you may know someone who already has all of the maternity clothing you'll need. I actually exchanges pregnancy clothes with my sister-in-law and received gently used items from my mom and an aunt and had to buy very few new pieces. It saved me so much money!
  • Ask for clothing from charitable organizations if needed. If you are unable to purchase any clothing on your own, you can ask various charitable organizations, like a church group or a pregnancy help center, for free clothing.

Pregnancy Fashion

Maternity Tops

Click thumbnail to view full-size
These shirts have empire waists. I wore them all during pregnancy even though two of them are not maternity! These shirts have embellishments around the waist to make an emphasis of the smallest part of the torso or to disguise a growing belly.
These shirts have empire waists. I wore them all during pregnancy even though two of them are not maternity!
These shirts have empire waists. I wore them all during pregnancy even though two of them are not maternity! | Source
These shirts have embellishments around the waist to make an emphasis of the smallest part of the torso or to disguise a growing belly.
These shirts have embellishments around the waist to make an emphasis of the smallest part of the torso or to disguise a growing belly. | Source

Maternity Tops and Shirts

  • Find tops that define the smallest part of you, fitted between your chest and your belly.
  • Straight cut items may make you seem bigger than you actually are. Wearing empire waist clothing emphasizes the smallest part of you while giving you space for the baby bump.
  • Also, having a flowing bottom around your torso helps you to stay cooler in the warmest months.

Tip: Some of these tops can be found in the regular women's section of stores and can be cheaper than maternity tops. Those that are not maternity can be worn after giving birth until you fit into your regular clothes again. Use a belt to make the waistline smaller after birth.

Maternity Dresses

Dresses I wore during and after my pregnancies.
Dresses I wore during and after my pregnancies. | Source

Maternity Dresses and Skirts

  • Wear or find skirts with elastic waist bands that are comfortable to wear right below your growing belly.
  • As with all other clothing, it is possible to simply wear stretchy, comfortable and empire waist dresses that you can find in a regular store or in the maternity section.

Summer Pregnancy Dresses

Maternity Pants

For as long as you can, wear your regular pants. You may need to use a belly band or other method (rubber band, hair tie) to keep them up without buttoning or zippering them. When you need maternity pants, choose a stretchy material with a comfortable built in belly band.

Shoes During Pregnancy

Shoes are other items that don’t need to come from a special store. For most of your pregnancy, and for some of you all of your pregnancy, you can wear your regular shoes that are comfortable and safe to wear (think: heels or flip-flops).

While high heels or stilettos are not recommended due to discomfort and possible injury, many women wear them throughout pregnancy. Don’t feel like you need to because the stars do! Find a suitable shoe with a comfortable heel that is still stylish to wear.

Maternity Undergarments

You don’t need to go out and purchase a bunch of Granny panties. Wear your current collection until you potentially need a larger size. Bikini cut are very comfortable right under your belly.

As for bras, wear yours until it no longer fits and get one or two in a larger size. Wait until right before birth to purchase nursing bras so that you know what size to buy.

Winter Coat During Pregnancy

If you are going to be 7-9 months along during the winter, it may be a good idea to purchase a maternity coat. Maternity coats, while a tad more expensive than a regular coat, give a pregnant woman more space in the bust and belly areas.

I tried to get away with a regular winter coat during my second pregnancy, but after a while I just wasn't able to close the buttons. I gave in a purchased a red maternity pea coat, and it fit fabulously! It definitely was worth the money.

Clothes During Pregnancy

I hope you enjoy building and adapting your wardrobe during your pregnancy. Best of luck!


Sources and Music

Most of this information comes from my own experience, but I did reference on of my favorite sources: What to Expect When You're Expecting .

Music in Video: Into Thy Heart Instrumental Track by Ivan Chew CCBY 3.0


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    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      teaches12345, the options do make the experience more enjoyable. I don't think I could have worn the baggy, flowing, flowery maternity clothes of yesteryear!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am past this stage of life, but glad that there are so many options for moms in dressing with style. It's something that makes it all so much more enjoyable. Great post and lots of helpful advice on dressing during this time of life.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      RTalloni, I could only imagine how those outfits were! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      I'm laughing because you have reminded me of some maternity "outfits" I've seen lately (the misfitting clothes were pitifully comical), but this is a great hub with practical tips and that video is tops. Have to say this is an important work that covers the topic. :)

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      jpcmc, there are definitely more options for pregnant women these days. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      There are so many clothes and fashion options for pregnant women now than before. In stead of getting oversized shirts or sifting through your husband's closet, moms and moms-to-be have more alternatives.