Everything You Need to Know About Maternity Clothes

Back when your grandmother was shopping for maternity clothes, there were not a lot of options or designers. Instead, she was forced to wear large tent-like dresses, muumuus, and other unflattering designs when her regular clothes would no longer fit. Fortunately, for today's modern mother, there are a number of designers who have embraced maternity clothing and are putting out some really cute stuff.

But, if you are a first-time mom, you may have a lot of questions about maternity clothes, like "do I really need them?" or "how do I find something to wear without breaking the bank?" Here are some tips on everything from dressing the bump to coming to terms with your changing pregnancy body.

Do You Really Need Maternity Clothing?

The simple answer is that it depends. Some first-time moms are able to wear a lot of their regular clothes, especially maxi dresses and other loose-fitting items and never really have to invest in maternity clothing. Meanwhile, other moms find that it is hard to look put together, or feel comfortable, in anything but maternity clothes. So, ultimately it comes down to a matter of personal preference and comfort. If you can find something comfortable in your closet, or your partner's, and you do not have to invest in maternity clothes, then go for it. But do not feel bad about the need to pick up a few things in order to have something to wear.

Keep in mind though, that wearing tight clothing during pregnancy is generally not recommended. Aside from feeling uncomfortable most of the time, tight clothing also can lead to a host of issues. For instance, wearing tight clothing while pregnant can cause pain in different parts of the body. It also can reduce blood circulation and may even lead to yeast infections. As a result, if your clothes are starting to feel uncomfortable and cause you discomfort, it may be time to either raid your partner's closet or shop for some maternity clothes.

Coming to Terms with Your Changing Body

For many women, the thought of gaining weight and becoming curvier as their pregnancy progresses is a difficult concept to deal with. Combined with the fact that many people feel it is OK to comment on other people's bodies with insensitive comments like "wow, you are getting big", it becomes clear why many women would try to hide their pregnancy for as long as possible. For this reason, they want to avoid maternity clothes at all costs. But, you shouldn't let the fear of getting bigger keep you from embracing your pregnancy. Here are some tips on how to come to terms with your changing body.

Give Yourself a Break

Remember, you are growing a baby inside of you! That is an amazing, wonderful gift and your protruding belly is just a reminder of the miracle that is growing inside of you.

Remind yourself that being pregnant is not always easy and that you deserve to be celebrated. Don't let fears about your size or weight gain keep you from enjoying the fact that you are giving life to another person.

Stay in the Moment

Too many times, people lament about how hard it is going to be to get back to their "pre-pregnancy body." But this kind of thinking keeps you stuck in the past. Pregnancy changes you. Yes, it changes you physically. But it also changes you mentally and emotionally. And that is a good thing. Embrace what you are experiencing right now. When you start thinking and worrying about getting back to your pre-pregnancy body, you are stuck in the past.

Instead, focus on taking care of your pregnant body. Instead of worrying about getting something back, focus on what you are getting in return. You should be in awe of what your body is doing. Having a baby is no simple task and you are doing something incredible.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Too many times women worry about how their body looks in comparison to other women. The comparison game is cruel and doesn't do you any favors. In fact, comparing yourself to others not only leads to insecurities but an overall dissatisfaction with your body. And that is the last place you want your mind going. Instead, remind yourself that this is a season in your life - one that you won't be able to repeat when you are older. So, don't spend your time comparing yourself to others. You want to be sure you are living in the moment and appreciating how your body is changing to accommodate the little life that is growing inside of you.

Practice Self-Care

When you are loving and caring toward your body, you will feel more confident and secure in the changes that are taking place. As a result, be sure you are resting when you need to. Get your nails done, schedule a massage or attend a water aerobics class. You also should focus on eating nutritious food that makes you feel balanced and healthy. The key is to do things that make you feel good and keep your body healthy.

Finding Maternity Clothes Without Breaking the Bank

Once you have come to terms with the fact that you may need to invest in some maternity clothing, especially when it comes to comfort, it can be hard to know where exactly to find things to wear. Aside from running out to Nordstrom's, Macy's or Motherhood Maternity, here are a few ideas on building your pregnancy wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Shop Your Own Closet

Before you run out and buy an entire maternity wardrobe, look through your own closet and see what might work. For instance, loose-fitting maxi dresses, flowy skirts and tops, oversized button-down shirts, large sweaters and cardigans, and jersey-style shirts and dresses that are soft and stretchy all work well on pregnant bodies sometimes clear up until delivery. Move these items to the front and build on them by adding pieces that complement them.

Borrow from Friends

If you have a friend who was recently pregnant, ask if she has any clothing that she might be able to loan you or that you can purchase from her. If this is an option for you, you can save a lot of money (and time) by wearing things that she wore during her pregnancy. You can always make them your own by pairing them with things you already have.

Look for Deals

Keep an eye out for sales, consignment stores and more. Many times, you will happen across some great bargains where you can get some of the things you need for a reduced price. You just have to be willing to shop around. It's also a good idea not to wait until the last minute. If you know you have a wedding coming up in June and it is April, start thinking about what you might like to wear and try to buy something in advance. Waiting until the last minute often means you have to spend more than you wanted to in order to have something to wear.

Keep It Simple

When you do shop for maternity clothes, stick to the basics like a pair of jeans, leggings and basic tops that can be both professional or casual. Think about the things you have at home and buy pieces that will complement those items. For instance, a nice pair of jeans with an elastic waist, a pair of black pants and a button-down shirt can be used together. You could pair the jeans with a colorful cotton tank from home and wear the button-down over it like a sweater or a cardigan.

For a more professional setting, wear the black pants with the button down and add a cardigan and some cute jewelry from home. By purchasing items that can be mixed and matched with what you already have, you will be able to expand your wardrobe. Try to avoid purchasing one-dimensional items that do not go with anything else.

Buy Items that Grow with You

When you are shopping, keep in mind that the size you are now is not the size you will be at 34 weeks. So, make sure if you are going to purchase something that you select an item that will grow with your changing body. You don't want to buy several pairs of jeans at 20 weeks and have to turn around and buy more at 30 weeks. Try to pick items that will expand or stretch as you expand and stretch.

Tips for Dressing the Bump

The thought of dressing in maternity clothes can leave many women feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. With so many changes going on in your body, it can be hard to know what to wear and what to buy. Here are a few tips on how to dress that bump and still feel good about the way you look.

Accentuate Your Features

One thing fashion experts recommend is to choose clothing that will elongate your silhouette like v-necks, button-down shirts, and dresses. The goal is to make yourself look taller. It's also a good idea to accentuate your legs. They can look longer and leaner under a growing belly with the right choice of pants.

Don't Hide Your Bump

Remember you are growing a baby inside of you. So, be proud of those curves. Now is the time to wear those soft, form-fitting shirts and jersey-like dresses that show off your growing curves. It is the one time in your life where people will not think twice about the fact that your stomach sticks out. So enjoy it while you can. 

Pick Something Comfortable

As mentioned earlier, tight-fitting and uncomfortable clothing comes with a few risks. Aside from causing pain and discomfort, tight-fitting clothes also can reduce your circulation and lead to yeast infections.

Your number one goal in selecting maternity clothes should be comfort, especially as you get later into the pregnancy. As your body grows and you get closer to delivery, you will already be feeling a little uncomfortable. Why make it worse by selecting clothes that are tight or uncomfortable?

Stick with Your Pre-Pregnancy Style

If you are not someone who normally wears floral print dresses, there is no need to start now while you are pregnant. In fact, you should be able to find maternity clothes that match your style. For instance, if you normally wear jeans and T-shirts, then invest in a pair or two of maternity jeans and a couple of fun T-shirts. And, if it is your style to wear leggings, then, by all means, purchase some leggings for your growing body. Or, if you need a more professional style at work, you can mimic that with maternity clothes just as easily. Remember, the days of the tent dresses and muumuus are over.

Don't Neglect the Footwear

Choosing the right shoes to complement your outfits is a must. When you are pregnant your feet may swell and your balance may not be quite what it was (after all you do have a few pounds protruding from the front of your body). So, you want to be sure you are choosing shoes that are not only comfortable but stable enough for you to walk in. This doesn't mean that heels are off limits. Just be sure that they are comfortable and that you can walk in them without feeling unstable.

A Word from Verywell

When it comes to maternity clothing, it certainly is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. In fact, there are plenty of ways to approach dressing your pregnant body. Whether you want to cobble together outfits from what you already own (and perhaps from what your partner owns), or you want to carefully select your maternity pieces at a clothing store nearby, the choice is yours.

And, for the first time in your life, you do not have to worry about breaking in any fashion rules. Most people are very forgiving when it comes to what a mom-to-be is wearing and would rather talk about what baby names you have picked out and whether or not you are having a boy or a girl. So, relax, have a little fun and get creative.

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