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Choosing Maternity Clothes
When you’re pregnant, the whole notion of “does this outfit make me look fat” takes on a whole new meaning. Not only do we not want to look fat, we want to look beautifully pregnant without looking like we’re putting on extra weight. We want curves to show in the right places, but we don’t want our bottom to look as big as our belly! More than ever, this is a time in a woman’s life where smart shopping is key to building a stylish, functional and flattering maternity wardrobe.
The average weight for a pregnant woman is between 25-35 pounds. This weight gain starts happening in the middle of your first trimester, unless you have severe morning sickness, and continues until the day you deliver your baby. Not only do you gain weight overall, your weight gain could shift to new places on your body like your arms, thighs and even feet! Almost every pregnant woman finds her bust size increases by a cup during pregnancy and often more during breastfeeding. Women who have never gained weight in their bottom or hips suddenly find they have to deal with more than just an expanding belly. On the bright side, being pregnant can have great shopping benefits because now is the time when you have the license to buy yourself a new wardrobe, so why not have fun with it!
If you want to find great fashion that’s comfortable and doesn’t break the bank, shop first for some good basic mix and match pieces. Here are some tips to keep in mind when building your wardrobe:
-The sooner you start your maternity wardrobe, the more mileage you will get out of it and the more comfortable you will be in your clothes. Once you stop trying to squeeze into your seemingly shrinking regular clothes with ever-tighter belts, you’ll no longer feel bloated and overweight. Others will also recognize that you are pregnant and stop worrying about your weight too! Also, you’re less likely to feel morning sickness because of comfortably fitting maternity clothes.
-Remember that maternity sizes should be roughly equivalent to your normal pre-pregnancy size. Consider your weight though. If you find that you are gaining faster than average, you may find that going up a size is more comfortable. Often foreign brands like Ripe Maternity and Noppies Maternity will run slightly smaller than many American brands like Japan Weekend and Mother America. If you’re shopping online, it’s a good idea to check the size chart and description to see if there’s any note about the item being large or small. You can also call or email customer support for brand-appropriate information.
-When in doubt, always go bigger. Now is not the time to measure vanity. You are pregnant and expect to gain weight and you will be much more comfortable in a size that fits you with room to grow. If you buy an item that barely fits you today with little room to grow, you’ll find yourself staring at it in your closet for the rest of your pregnancy. Remember you will get bigger until the day you give birth to your baby, you will not diet while you are pregnant! Look for comfortable elastic waistbands that have the same colored waistband as the rest of the pants.
-Never buy a tight maternity or bra or underwear. Not only will a maternity or nursing bra be uncomfortable, if it’s too tight it can also lead to blocked milk ducts and mastitis when you’re breastfeeding. Also, your breasts need to have room to grow even after giving birth to your baby. Some women add another cup after their milk comes in.
-Invest in good maternal jazz. There are stylish and comfortable maternity jeans at every price point. If you want to splurge a little on one item, do it on a pair of well-fitting maternity jeans, especially if you’re a jeans person. Aside from sleepwear, this is one fashion item you’ll get the most mileage out of, so it’s worth spending a few extra bucks to find a pair that will last and stretch you throughout your pregnancy. Many maternity jeans, like the Noppies 4 Pocket Jean, look like regular jeans because it doesn’t have an elastic maternity band and fits under the belly with an internal waist adjuster. This type of jeans can also be worn as a transitional jeans after the baby.
-In cold weather dress in layers. Buy lighter clothes than you would normally wear as you will find your overall body temperature higher when you are pregnant. Even in the winter months, and especially in places like an office, an overdressed pregnant woman can easily overheat. By dressing in lighter layers you can shed or add clothing as needed.
-Don’t wear restrictive clothing, if you must wear pantyhose, buy maternity tights, such as Noppies Maternity Tights. Maternity tights will allow for tummy support and allow for better circulation. Maternity leggings are a good non-restrictive and trendy option over tights. Japan Weekend, Mother America and 1 in the Oven all make high quality leggings in a variety of styles and colors to choose from. Leggings look great under a maternity tunic, dress or skirt!
-When shopping, look for similar color families that can be easily mixed and matched and are layer-friendly. Tanks and camisoles make a great first layer because they are comfortable and add a light layer of warmth. Also, camisoles and tanks can be worn alone in the warmer weather and many are made with supportive bras. There are also many transitional camis and tanks out there, such as the Glamourmom maternity tank, that can be worn for maternity as well as for breastfeeding after the baby is born.
-Look for transitional maternity tops and maternity dresses that can double as nursing tops and clothes that can be worn after baby. There is now a wide variety of fashions available for transitional clothing. Japan Weekend has a great selection of transitional clothing for nursing tops including a very versatile office-friendly Cross Over Top Maternity/Nursing top. Miami has a whole line of transitional clothing including their super soft yoga pants that can be worn throughout pregnancy and beyond. The Mother America Nursing Dress is a beautiful new dress from Mother America that can be worn throughout your pregnancy and doesn’t look like a nursing dress.
-Buy all-purpose black pants that are comfortable to wear. Black goes with everything and is slimming too, so don’t forget to stock up on this basic. Also, make sure you have comfortable dress pants for the house. 1 in the Furnace’s Super Soft Ruched Fold Over Pant and Corduroy Lounge Pants are stylish enough to wear outside the house. They are so comfortable that you want to live in them.
-Make sure you spice up your wardrobe with some fun patterns and flirty dresses. Remember that you will be living in this garment for at least 6 months. If you’re planning to get pregnant again in the future, you may be eyeing many of these same maternity clothes in your closet. Make sure you have fun and mix in some trendy pieces that you will enjoy wearing. Solids are important to your wardrobe, but they can get boring pretty quickly if that’s the only thing you wear every day!
Shopping is supposed to be fun, not a chore. So, have fun with the wide selection of maternity fashions out there. You have a whole new and evolving way to dress, so try new looks, show some cleavage and have fun shopping!
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