What to Wear During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings on many changes to the body, not the least of these is the change in the clothing you can wear and what feels good. Luckily, maternity clothing has become much more fashionable and accessible with cute options in almost any department store. Once upon a time, it seemed you had to forego comfort is order to wear confident, stylish clothing; however, now you can hand the best of both.


First of all, don’t rush to the store right away to buy new clothes you think will fit your baby bump. If you go buy maternity clothes too soon you may underestimate or overestimate your size, hoping you’ll grow into it. Usually, you can wear your current clothes for awhile before considering new clothes, even through the first two trimesters. Wear clothes that are flowing and flattering, maybe a size bigger than you usually wear. Some women never need to buy maternity clothing because they either wear sizes and styles that leave room for the baby or they borrow and share clothes with family or friends. Most women start wearing maternity clothing around five to six months.

When trying to find the right size in maternity clothes, stick to your original size. Most maternity clothing companies take your size before you’re pregnant and estimate what your size will be while you’re pregnant. So, if you’re a size 10 before pregnancy, look for size 10 while your pregnant. You’ll also want to get clothes that are just bigger than what you are; this will give you more room to grow into them. Look for clothes that can be used for many occasions and can go with a variety of outfits. Some women recommend buying several pairs of maternity pants with a high elastic strap—this helps keep your pants from falling down—before you begin to buy other articles of clothing. It can also be easier to find non-maternity tops that fit your belly than it is to find non-maternity pants that fit and are comfortable.

Getting bras that are comfortable and supportive during pregnancy is extremely important. Because of the changes in your breasts during pregnancy, you’ll need to be sure that your breasts are supported. If they’re not, it’s likely they’ll sag after pregnancy. When looking for a good bra, be sure the straps are thick and there is a wide band beneath the cups. You’ll need to get larger sizes further along in your pregnancy to accommodate your growing breasts, so only buy a couple, expecting to buy more in larger sizes later on.


Because of the increased circulation of blood in the body, you’ll likely heat up more quickly. Wearing lightweight clothing can help keep you cool, and layering will give you more freedom to adjust depending on how hot or cool you’re feeling. Maxi dresses and skirts are great options for maternity wear—they’re light, they stretch, and can even be worn before and after pregnancy. Dresses and shirts that have an empire waist are more comfortable and allow for more stretch room for your belly.

A note on shoes: Your feet can grow during pregnancy. If your feet feel tight in your normal shoes, try going a half size up and see if it makes a difference. When your belly gets bigger you also may feel more unbalanced. Wear shoes that are comfortable and help you keep balanced.

Ways to Save on Maternity Clothing:

  • Share clothes with family and friends who still have their maternity wear. Many women have maternity clothing that they aren’t currently wearing and would be glad to share.
  • Shop for normal clothes that are a few sizes bigger instead of rushing to the maternity section.
  • Shop at thrift stores. Many of these clothes haven’t been used very much because their previous owner could have only worn them for three to four months.
  • Try the plus-size section of department stores.
  • Wear clothes that have elastic waistbands to better incorporate your growing belly.
  • Try wearing your jeans, but use a rubber band or hair tie to loop through the hole then attach it to the button. This will give you several more inches to grow. Then wear longer shirts that cover it up.
  • Most department stores have maternity sections; shop here instead of going to stores that exclusively sell maternity clothes. Usually, you department stores will save you money.

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Stoppard, Miriam. "Dr. Miriam Stoppard’s New Pregnancy and Birth Book.” Ballantine Books. 2009. Stoppard, Miriam. “Conception Pregnancy and Birth.” DK Publishing. 2008. Weiss, Robin Elise. “The Guide to Having a Baby.” F+W Publications, Inc. 2006.