Having a baby is an exciting and a bit stressful time when everything happens for the first time: your body changes in a way you’ve never experienced before and you find yourself doing weird things such as having fixated food cravings and spending most mornings in the bathroom!
One of the major challenges for first-time moms is choosing the right type of clothes for their changing body. From maternity bras to nursing shawls and work dresses, the variety of options in maternity clothes is endless. So how do you choose from such an overwhelming range of choices?
Buying maternity clothes is like buying your first bra - there is an exhilarating feeling of achieving something that nature has always planned for you. So make it an exciting journey, get your girlfriends together and enjoy shopping with a purpose! Here are some tips that will help you find the right fit:
Why not just upsize? Why maternity clothing?
Long gone are the days when maternity clothes resemble shapeless tents with sailor inspired collars (with the ubiquitous waist tie, to add). Maternity wear designers have evolved and come a long way, where the breadth of styles and technical constructions are much more sophisticated and creative. You will find maternity clothes that come with inbuilt functionalities for breastfeeding. And then there are brands that embrace specific consciousness for natural and eco-friendly fabrication.
Many first time moms may find it tempting to upsize their regular non-maternity brands in an attempt to cover a couple of centimeters here and there. While this might have been a good strategy in the past given the lack of good looking or stylish options in motherhood clothing (afterall it’s dollars saved, isn’t it?), it does not have to be the case now.
Many first time mothers-to-be attempt to continue wearing their pre-pregnancy clothes, especially the stretchy ones. Quite often though, you will find that by the second trimester, your belly has grown to such proportions that even stretchier regular tops are getting just a tad too tight for comfort. Buying regular clothing of a larger size will most likely not fit you as well; apart from a wider waist, you will see concurrent increments in measurements such as rise, leg width and length. The resulting fit? Wide flappy pants, saggy rise and bunching at the waist. Conversely with maternity clothing, you will see adjustments to clothing measurements only where you expect growth, while keeping other specifications true to your original size. You and your baby will feel more comfortable and you will still be able to make use of them during your post-partum transition period!
Maternity clothing size
Maternity clothing sizes generally correspond to regular non-pregnant clothing sizes. If you are used to buying a size 8 before pregnancy, typically the same size applies when you shop at specialty maternity clothing stores. If you were “medium” size before pregnancy, look for the same size label at pregnancy stores. When your body changes through pregnancy, the belly and the chest may grow quiet a bit but the rest of your body and their proportions such as length of torso, legs, and shoulder widths remain as they are. With maternity clothing, you will see adjustments to measurement only where you expect growth, while keeping specifications remain true to your original size.
But what about jeans sizing? Jeans sizing follows the same logic as the rest of maternity clothes. So if you were size 30 before, you should still shop for size 30 maternity jeans, even though your waistline is now a lot larger. A good maternity clothing designer or label knows how to construct adjustable or stretchable features so that a pair of maternity pants or jeans will accommodate your growing belly.
What about bras, you ask? Bra fitting for pregnancy is always tricky and typically gets women into confusion because bras are such an important and fundamental part of your maternity wardrobe that must provide comfort, support while trying to fit your growing bust line as your body prepares for lactation. This essential wardrobe item may require change through the course of your pregnancy, as your bust grows.
There are options for stretchy and non stretchy maternity bras but as a rule of thumb, always seek non-underwired bras so you avoid impacting or compressing sensitive breast tissues.
When to begin shopping for maternity clothes?
In the first trimester, you will still be able to wear your regular clothes, but you should start thinking about buying some pregnancy outfits in your second trimester when your bump is starting to grow to the point that your pants feel constricting on your belly. Don’t attempt to overhaul your whole wardrobe in one go because you will grow progressively and you can add on as your body changes. As part of your initial purchase or building blocks of your maternity wardrobe, it is worthwhile investing in bottoms early on. You not only have the benefit of comfort right from start but also extended wear mileage for your post-partum transition period too – this will be money well spent.
Maternity pants – your best pregnancy wardrobe investment
While most other maternity clothing items (apart from maternity bras) don’t require special induction, maternity pants are a tad more technical than they appear. Specifications such as the front and back rise, the waist construction type and materials, and fabrication are expertise and know-how of a good maternity label. Maternity bottoms are designed to accommodate growth in the waist and hip during the course of your pregnancy. Getting a few maternity pants at the onstart of showing will be your best investment as you will get plenty of wear out of them!
Pregnancy brings with it a lot of changes and challenges, it is a steep learning curve to motherhood but nevertheless, it is an exciting time. There are many new things you will need to take care of with the arrival of a newborn but don’t forget about yourself. Despite your growing belly you should feel comfortable, and embrace your bodily changes with pride and confidence. Take care of your needs first so you can prepare to enjoy your pregnancy and step into Motherhood!