The Ultimate Guide to Maternity Clothes Shopping
Explore our comprehensive guide to maternity clothes. Embrace this unique journey with confidence and style!
Maternity clothes are essential for comfort and style during pregnancy. In this buying guide, we have covered everything you need about maternity clothes.
What are maternity clothes?
Maternity clothes are designed specifically for the comfort and needs of pregnant women. They are crafted to adapt to the continuous body changes during pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
Maternity clothes are made with soft, breathable and stretchy fabrics that accommodate a growing belly, breasts, and hips. They are supportive, comfortable, flexible and functional.
With the recent increase in demand for maternity clothing, maternity brands are putting in a lot of effort to create supportive and adaptable garments for expecting mothers.
Like regular clothes, pregnancy clothes come in various styles, from casual to formal, and are available in different sizes, from petite to plus-size.
Why Should You Buy Maternity Clothes?
Maternity clothes will keep you comfortable, stylish, and confident as your body changes during pregnancy. As per research, women feel more confident with maternity clothes.
Here are some of the reasons why maternity wear are essential:
- Comfort: Pregnancy brings a lot of physical changes, such as weight gain, a growing belly, and larger breasts. You need clothes that support and accommodate your growing bump at that time. Maternity wear are specially designed to adapt to your changing body and keep you comfortable and stylish throughout the pregnancy.
- Health: As per many researches, wearing tight or restrictive clothing during pregnancy can be uncomfortable and harmful. Maternity wear allow freedom of movement without putting extra pressure on your tender belly and regulate body temperature.
- Confidence: During pregnancy, many women struggle with their changing body size. Moreover, wearing tight or ill-fitted clothes can affect their confidence. Maternity clothes are designed to fit and flatter the pregnant body and are available in various styles and sizes so that you can find them as per requirement and style.
- Functional/Versatile: Pregnancy clothes are no longer for 3-4 months. Much research has been done to make adaptable and functional clothes for women to wear during pregnancy and even post-pregnancy. These clothes can adapt to your changing body shape during and after pregnancy and have nursing-friendly access, like hidden zippers, for easy breastfeeding access.
In short, maternity clothes are comfortable, stylish, and functional. They can make the transition to motherhood a little easier.
Maternity Clothes and Regular Clothes
How maternity clothes are different from Regular clothes
The significant difference between maternity clothes and regular clothes is pregnancy clothes are designed to accommodate the constantly changing pregnant body and growing baby bump.
Here are some of the key differences between maternity clothes and regular clothes:
- Stretchy and breathable fabric: Maternity wear are typically made from natural materials such as cotton and denim, with some spandex for elasticity. They can expand as the belly grows without losing their shape. As they are natural, so skin-friendly and can regulate the body temperature. Regular clothes use all sorts of fabric, from natural to synthetic and may have less stretch.
- Belly band: Maternity bottom wears, such as pants and underwear, often have a 4-way stretchy belly band that covers the belly for full coverage and support. Regular pants may not have this feature, which can pressure the pregnant belly. Learn more in our maternity pants buying guide.
- Sewing technique: Maternity wear use different sewing techniques than regular clothes. Ruching, Smocking, Godet, Placket, etc., create comfortable and functional pregnancy clothing that can adapt to a pregnant woman's changing body throughout the pregnancy.
- Nursing access: Most maternity clothes are designed with easy nursing access, such as hidden zippers, drop-down, Lift-up or button front. It allows easy and discrete breastfeeding access post-delivery. Regular clothes may not have this feature, making breastfeeding more complex and less discreet. Overall, maternity clothes provide comfort and support to the pregnant mom, while regular clothes are not designed for changing body size.
Overall, maternity clothes provide comfort and support to the pregnant mom, while regular clothes are not designed for changing body size.
Can I Buy Regular Clothes in bigger Sizes?
Buying regular clothes in a bigger size could be an easy and cost-effective solution. But, they will not provide the same comfort, support, and flexibility as maternity wear. Also, you'll only end up with ill-fitting and baggy clothes that are uncomfortable and unsupportive.
Here are some reasons why not to buy regular clothes in larger sizes during pregnancy:
- Unflattering, ill-fitted and shapeless or bulky-looking clothes. A pair of oversized pants, jeans, or leggings will be loose from the thighs and hips. A larger shirt will hang from the shoulder.
- Uncomfortable- bigger bra size, instead of providing support, can lead to breast tenderness.
- Pressure on pregnant tummy: Regular clothes may not stretch enough to accommodate a growing belly.
- Functional: Regular clothes may not have features like adjustable waistbands or nursing-friendly zippers that are more convenient for pregnancy and postpartum.
Are maternity clothes necessary?
Maternity clothes are not necessary, but they can certainly provide comfort and support to pregnant moms during pregnancy. Maternity wear are designed to accommodate a growing belly and changing body shape and can help alleviate discomfort and provide support. They are also functional, with easy nursing access for breastfeeding. Buying maternity clothes or not is a personal decision. Remember, though, that wearing tight-fitting clothing is not recommended during pregnancy. It can cause pain and discomfort, which is unsuitable for the mom and her baby.
How does maternity wear work?
Maternity clothes are thoughtfully designed for pregnant women to adapt to their changing body shape. They typically have features such as soft natural fabric, stretchy over-belly waistbands, hidden zippers, and adjustable closures.
Maternity clothes come in various styles, from casual wear to formal attire. Some common types of maternity clothes include:
- Maternity Lingerie: It includes bras & underwear. Maternity bras have wide straps, wireless style, and stretchy cotton fabric. Learn more on why every pregnant woman needs a maternity bra. Maternity underwear has an over-belly band to distribute weight and support a growing belly bump.
- Maternity bottom wear: It includes maternity pants, jeans, leggings and skirts. These often have 4-way stretchy waistbands that can sit under or over the belly and support your lower back to help relieve aches . It will expand with you throughout the pregnancy dig-in or extra pressure.
- Maternity tops, kurtas and maternity dresses: they are designed with extra fabric or ruching to accommodate a growing belly and typically have easy access to breasts for breastfeeding post-delivery. Maternity clothes are designed to hug your new curves and provide comfort, support, style, and flexibility.
Related article: How to choose the best maternity leggings
Maternity clothes are designed to hug your new curves and provide comfort, support, style, and flexibility.
How do I choose maternity clothes?
When choosing maternity clothes- comfort, correct sizing, fitting, and adaptability are essential.
Here are some tips to help while you are shopping for maternity clothing:
- Look for comfort: Comfort is critical during pregnancy, so look for clothes made from soft, stretchy, and breathable fabrics.
- Choose the right size: For well-fitted clothes, measuring yourself and comparing those measurements to the brand size chart is essential. Maternity wear are designed to adapt to your changing body size and shape throughout the pregnancy.
- Choose according to your style: To feel confident and comfortable, choose maternity wear that match your style.
- Think about the season: Lighter fabrics and loose-fitting clothes are great for summer, while warmer materials and layers are essential for winter.
- Start with maternity essentials: Create a capsule wardrobe with staple pieces that you can mix and match to create different looks.
- Choose versatile pieces: Pants with adjustable waist, tops and dresses with nursing-friendly zippers or buttons so you can wear them post-delivery.
- Consider your lifestyle: Choose clothes that fit your lifestyle, whether you need professional attire for work or casual wear for weekends.
- Buy as you go: You don't need to buy a whole new wardrobe all at once. Consider purchasing a few pieces at a time as your body changes throughout your pregnancy.
- Look for stretchability: Fabric with four-way stretch is ideal for pregnancy wear.
Shopping For Maternity Clothes
When to start wearing maternity clothes?
You can start wearing maternity clothes when your regular or pre-pregnancy clothes feel tight, uncomfortable or restrict your movement. Typically, it's around the beginning of the second trimester (13-14 weeks), but you can start wearing them as early as you want.
Here are six key signs to look for:
- Regular bras not fitting well anymore
- Pants feel tight and difficult to button
- A gap in the blouse or shirt buttons
- Clothes restrict movement and cause skin irritation
- Bump peeking out of a shirt
- Feeling bloated and short of breath all day, every day.
What maternity clothes do I need?
During pregnancy, when your body goes through continuous changes, it's best to start with a few essential maternity clothing pieces that you can mix and match and add more items as required.
Based on feedback from over 300 pregnant moms, essential pieces of maternity wear include-
- Maternity Undergarments- Bras and Underwear.
- Maternity Leggings or Jeggings (stretchy jeans).
- Basic T-shirt in neutral colours like black, white, and grey.
- Top, Shirt or Kurta.
- A couple of maternity dresses or maternity kurta set.
- Maternity Loungewear or maternity activewear.
- Poncho, Scarf, Jacket or Sweater - for layering.
- Accessories such as bags, comfortable shoes, jewellery, and sunglasses are essential to create a statement look.
You can select the above clothing items based on your lifestyle, budget, style, and weather.
Remember, the key to a successful capsule maternity wardrobe is selecting high-quality, comfortable, and versatile pieces that fit well and can be worn throughout and after your pregnancy.
What size to buy for maternity clothes?
When buying maternity clothes, go with your regular or pre-pregnancy size. If you are carrying more than one baby or gaining a lot of weight (over the average pregnancy weight gain chart), go for a bigger size in pregnancy clothes.
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Buy in your pre-pregnancy size. That's how all popular maternity brands size their clothes for easy buying.
- Figure out your current measurements. Learn more on how to take measurements for maternity clothing.
- Check the brand's size chart to ensure the best fit.
- Go up one size only if you are carrying more than one baby or gained more than recommended pregnancy weight.
- Buy as you go.
Focus on fit instead of size and buy what feels comfortable, fitted, and allows freedom of movement.
Where to buy maternity clothes?
You can buy pregnancy clothes from specialized maternity brands, online stores, and borrow or swap them with friends and family.
Here is the list of places to buy maternity clothes:
- Maternity-specific Clothing brands: Buy from specialized maternity brands such as Wobbly Walk. It's a Direct-to-consumer company, which means no middleman, so you will get high-quality clothes at fair prices.
- Department stores: Many department stores have maternity sections, including Shoppers Stop.
- Online retailers: Many online retailers offer a wide selection of maternity clothes, including Amazon and FirstCry.
- Second-hand stores: Consignment shops and thrift stores such as eBay.
- Borrow or swap with friends and family.
Can you rent maternity clothes?
Yes, you can rent maternity clothes. Some websites and companies offer this service. When renting maternity wear, it's important to read the rental policies carefully regarding the rental period, quality and brand of the products, damaged or stained policy, and shipping/return process.
Renting or buying maternity clothes
Deciding whether to rent or buy clothes depends on several factors, including your budget, lifestyle, clothing type, and use frequency.
Here are some questions to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy clothes:
How often will you wear the clothes?
Renting might be more cost-effective if you need maternity clothes only for one or two events. On the other hand, buying them is more economical if you wear them frequently.
Are you planning to have more children?
If yes, it might be more practical to buy maternity wear.
Are you planning to breastfeed?
If yes, buying maternity wear makes more sense, as you need it for a more extended period.
What's the price difference between buying and renting?
The hassle and risk associated with rental clothes only make sense if you are saving some money.
What is the type of clothing?
Maternity clothes, like formal or designer clothing, might be more practical to rent, while basics or everyday wear, such as maternity pants and dresses, might be better to buy.
Are you finding clothes in your size?
In maternity clothes, comfort and fitting are crucial. Only rent if you can get clothes which are comfortable and supportive.
How can you get discounted or free maternity clothes?
Borrowing from friends or family, signing up for sales and promotions and purchasing second-hand maternity clothes are the most popular options for discounted or free maternity clothes.
What can you wear if you don't have maternity clothes?
If you don't have maternity clothes, choose relaxed-fit clothes in stretchy and breathable fabric. Specific sewing techniques such as runching, empire waist, and pleated can also help to adapt to a pregnant body.
1. Quintero Rodriguez C, Troynikov O. The Effect of Maternity Support Garments on Alleviation of Pains and Discomforts during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review. Journal of Pregnancy. 2019 Aug 1;2019:2163790. doi:10.1155/2019/2163790