7 Essential Maternity Clothing Pieces For Your Pregnancy
Do you really need to buy maternity clothes? I remember asking myself the very same question during my first pregnancy. I didn’t want to spend extra money on clothing I would only wear for only a few months. Fast forward a few years later, I realized why there are some key maternity pieces that are must-haves in my wardrobe, however temporary.
If you’re like most pregnant women, you might be wondering whether it’s worth investing in a whole new wardrobe over the next 9 months. The good news is, you don’t have to invest in a whole new wardrobe.
When you’re pregnant and carrying a baby for nearly 9 months, this is the time to prioritize your health and maximize comfort. Whether in the clothes you wear or how you sleep at night, the right products specifically designed for the demands of early motherhood can make all the difference. And with some strategic planning, you can build a collection of a few key pieces of affordable, cute maternity clothes that can take you from your first to your last pregnancy in comfort and style.
Things To Consider When Shopping For Maternity clothes
Before you start filling your shopping cart with pregnancy outfits, you may want to consider a few factors.
Think Long Term
First, think about your specific pregnancy. How far along are you? Do you plan on having more children in the future?
Early in your pregnancy you probably won’t need to wear maternity clothes. In fact, most women in their first pregnancies only start showing at about 3-4 months. But you can start to experience early signs like bloating. In this case, purchasing clothing that is stretchy or looser around the waist will help keep you comfortable. You can also extend the life of your regular jeans with a jeans extender that allows extends the fastener of your jeans when you’re in that in between stage and not quite ready for maternity pants. Most women are ready for maternity clothes in their second and third trimester.
Also, if there’s even a slight chance of future pregnancies, you can plan on long-term use of any clothes you buy now, especially if you stick with more timeless styles and classic pieces like jeans, khakis, and simple tops.
What Season Will You Be Pregnant?
Will you be showing or sporting a bigger belly in the winter months or summer?
My babies were born in the spring, which meant I wasn’t really showing those first couple of months until the winter season when my belly “popped.” And during that time, I was able to get away with large, comfy sweaters without having to invest in too much else early on.
However, if your belly is bigger in the spring or summer, it’s harder to squeeze into jeans or hide behind sweats. You need breathable clothing that actually fits well and maximizes comfort with a growing belly.
Consider What Outfits You Really Need
If you work outside of the home, what type of clothing do you normally wear? Can you get away with wearing stretchy leggings for your everyday clothes? If you need to dress professionally with business-casual attire, then investing in maternity clothes will most likely be necessary.
Maternity Clothes Essentials
Ready to shop maternity wear? Below are the top pieces of clothing I recommend for pregnant women who want to focus on the essentials.
If you aren’t sure what size to get when shopping maternity, stick to your pre-pregnant size. Maternity clothes are designed to match your current size and accommodate your growing belly with stretchy fabrics and a proportioned, flattering fit.
1. Maternity Leggings and Jeans
Let’s face it: getting comfortable in your clothes with a growing belly will only get harder with each passing week. Maternity leggings and jeans are some of those maternity staples worth the investment. I like to choose pieces made from durable fabrics with ample stretch and around the belly comfort.
Maternity leggings, especially, are ideal for your growing bump and come in various styles. Most feature a stretchy elastic waistband that can be pulled over your belly for maximum comfort with fabric that conforms to your body. Other styles are designed to fit right below the bump in an underbelly crisscross design, all while still stretching and accommodating your growing belly.
Standard leggings can only get you so far. As your waist expands, they tend to become snug at the waist and restrict. Plus, you just won’t get added support or coverage your body needs.
Maternity leggings can be really essential when you want to feel and look your best. Plus, you can wear them throughout your entire pregnancy and even postpartum recovery.
2. Waistband extender
Another must-have item to include in your maternity wardrobe is a waistband extender sucy as the Belly Belt brand. This piece of maternity clothing helps extend usage of your pre-pregnancy clothing. When you can no longer button your favorite jeans or pants, but aren’t quite ready for maternity pants, a wasteband extender adds another button or more’s length and conceals the top portion of your pants so you can wear them a little longer. They are also relatively affordable and can easily become a go-to option early on in pregnancy before it’s time to size up or find maternity pants.
3. Maternity and Nursing Bras
With a bigger belly and typical pregnancy weight gain, this also brings changes in breast sizes. Although it vary, your breasts will grow, especially when you start to produce milk within the milk ducts. Having a maternity or nursing bra ready now, whether you plan to breastfeed or not, will help you get as comfortable as possible.
Maternity and nursing bras are essential maternity items for breastfeeding moms. They will go through a lot of stretching and washing and therefore should also be of high-quality. They can come in a variety of styles for the different needs and comfort, whether you’re nursing at night, pumping, or feeding baby around the clock.
Some my favorite nursing bra styles are:
- Pump and Nurse Bra
- Cotton or Lace Nursing Bra
- Seamless Nursing Bra
- Wireless Maternity Bra
- Stretchy Nursing Sleep Bra
Many nursing bras are wireless and stretchy for easy access for feeding. They’re non-constrictive and designed to provide optimal support through pregnancy and breastfeeding postpartum.
4. Comfy Sleepwear and Bedtime Essentials
From tossing and turning and getting up at night to use the bathroom, sleeping comfortably during pregnancy can take a lot of trial and error, often becoming more challenging as your due date approaches.
Pajama sets and nightgowns in cooling fabrics – as well as body pillows, wedges, and eye masks – top my list of favorite bedtime maternity essentials. These items all help me comfortably unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
5. Maternity Dresses
Although you can probably get away without buying a ton of maternity dresses during pregnancy, it’s still a nice option to have one or two on hand. When you become pregnant, you are pregnant for most of the year. During that time, it’s likely that you will have a special occasion or formal event to attend. With a maternity dress on hand, you won’t have to spend last-minute rummaging through your closet for creative alternatives.
Also, as a mom who’s been pregnant three times, I regret not having more maternity dresses, especially full-length maxi-style dresses. These dresses create an elegant look and make for beautiful maternity photoshoots.
6. Comfy Maternity Shoes
As a mom, you will spend hours on your feet caring for little ones — add to that the swelling, water retention and extra weight you might carry during pregnancy. It’s quite common to experience some discomfort when wearing your typical shoes. Many moms report going up at least a half of a shoe size during (and sometimes after) their pregnancy.
There is no better time than early motherhood to size-up and add to your collection.
Comfort is key: from slippers to sneakers, look for shoes that works for you and offers the support and give you need. Comfortable BOC sandals were my go-to-pair of sandals for being both stylish and cushioned, and I also loved lightweight and stretchy slip-ons from Tom’s.
7. Maternity Jackets
My final recommendation when it comes to must-have maternity clothing, especially for moms during the colder months, is a specifically designed jacket or coat to accommodate a pregnant body.
You might initially think of just sizing up for this, but I can tell you from experience that isn’t always the best idea. Buying a large or extra-large coat for someone who typically wears medium may seem reasonable but can actually just make a pregnant woman look frumpy and much bigger than you actually are. Your belly bulges in the middle section, leaving a big opening at the very bottom, thus exposing you to cold air.
I tried this for my first pregnancy, and it was not very flattering. Just imagine how a 7-month baby bump looks and feels in a coat designed for a pre-pregnant body.
While it might be tempting to avoid buying maternity clothes and just wear whatever you already have hanging in your closet at home, remember there are a number of factors to consider during pregnancy. The most important of all is your comfort. You need stretchy, comfortable clothes that fit well, are easy to move around in, and help you look and feel your best during the long months ahead. You got this, mama.
This post was updated April 13, 2022