After 1 3/4 pregnancies, I somehow became the resident expert on pregnancy among my friends. Not really, but my newly pregnant friends have lots of questions about maternity clothing, pregnancy, essential baby items, etc. So I figured I would share my knowledge in a blog post. Five, actually.
This is post one of five.
I loathe the idea of spending a lot of money on maternity clothes. I'm very frugal and I don't think that maternity clothes are a good value. They can only be worn for a few months at most and a lot of them just aren't cute. I feel like I wear the same items over and over, but as a SAHM, I'm really not out to impress anyone with my extensive maternity wardrobe. I do try to look nice, but I really do wear the same things all the time.
For the early months, sometimes you don't really need maternity clothes, just a little extra room. My advice is to look for regular sized items that can be worn for early pregnancy and post-delivery. See what's already in your closet. Repurpose a dress as a maternity top over leggings. Use a belly band or use a rubber band in order to wear your prepregnancy pants a little longer.
When I was pregnant with Joey I bought a lot of cheap, ill-fitting pieces because I was going for quantity over quality. When I unpacked them for this pregnancy I really couldn't bear to wear them. I sold a lot of things on eBay. A few basic pieces, like tanks, fitted tops, and turtlenecks will go a long way when you pair them with cardigans and accessories that you already have. I would suggest buying clothes that you will enjoy wearing, since there is definitely a resale market. Buy a few trendy pieces and consign them after you deliver. You'll at least feel good wearing them. When your whole body is changing it's important to do something to feel good about your appearance.
When buying maternity clothes online, be sure to check the size guide. Most companies tell you to buy your prepregnancy size. But if you buy premium denim, for instance, you'll need to go one to two sizes larger than normal. Toward the end of your pregnancy, you might need to buy pants a size larger than your prepregnancy size. With the exception of leggings, you probably won't be able to wear the same pants throughout your entire pregnancy. Maternity pants also come with a variety of waistbands: adjustable waist, demi-panel, full-panel, back-panel, under-belly, over-belly, etc. It may take a little trial and error to figure out what is comfortable for you. Different styles are suggested for different stages of pregnancy.
Here are some of my favorite maternity clothing items/stores:
Maternity Jeggings. These look like skinny jeans, but feel like leggings. Enough said. I ordered mine from Old Navy.
Milan Maternity. I cannot vouch for the quality of the clothing, but I stumbled upon this site and the clothing is cute and reasonably priced. They sell a lot of ruched tops, which accentuate the growing belly. A lot of maternity tops fit like a tent and just make you look, well, fat. These tops scream, "I'm pregnant, not fat!"
Gap Maternity. Gap quality and style, with room for a baby bump. Some of my favorite maternity pieces come from Gap, and they often will offer coupons.
Gilt Groupe. Every once in a while Gilt will have a maternity boutique and will sell higher end clothing for up to 70% retail. They will also sell nursing bras and nightgowns on occasion.
Zulily. This flash sale site, geared toward moms and kids, often has maternity and nursing boutiques.
Rue La La. Yet another flash sale site, but this one is great for finding premium denim.
Stuff for Mom
Stuff for Baby
What to Bring to the Hospital
Where to Find a Deal