Buy Maternity Clothes While Pregnant
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Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times of a woman's life, but it can be difficult to find clothes that you feel good wearing as your pregnancy progresses. There are some important things to keep in mind when you are purchasing maternity clothes.
- Hold off on purchasing maternity clothes until about your second trimester. Sure, you are excited as anything about the pregnancy but for the majority of women, you will not start to show until the second trimester. For the first three months, most of your clothes except the tightest ones, will continue to fit perfectly well. If you are having multiples, however, you may need to shop earlier.
- Buy at least a few maternity pants or skirts before you need them, however. Often, there is a sudden growth spurt about the second trimester (for a single-baby pregnancy) in which in the span of a few days or a week, your usual pants will suddenly not fit. You will need to have enough clothing to at least get by until you can go shopping.
- Use a "belly button". Even before you rush out to buy maternity clothes, it is good idea to purchase a belly button, which is a simple device consisting of elastic with buttons. It enables you to widen jeans and skirts a little (or a lot later on) and then you can pull these on over the growing bump. Cover with a long shirt, top or t-shirt and nobody will be any the wiser. (The "belly button" may not allow you to wear non-maternity clothes indefinitely, however, so start thinking about buying real maternity clothes!)
- Shop at maternity clothing stores. These stores are more likely to have knowledgeable staff, quality maternity clothing, and so on than other retail stores. Also, if you're a petite, a plus-size, tall, or otherwise hard to fit you'll be more likely to find clothes in a maternity clothing store than at a general clothing retail store. Most sizes are based on your pre-pregnancy size but brands will vary.
- Be aware that good quality maternity wear is designed to last through the nine months of a pregnancy and will stretch with you. It is better to buy two very good items than a dozen cheap ones to ensure this long-lived durability and quality.
- Visit your favorite clothing or department store with a maternity line. Chances are excellent that you will like and fit the maternity lines as well.
- Experiment with clothing styles. Your body is changing and so is what you will look good wearing.
- Choose clothes for their stretch capacity without the fabric appearing that it is stretched.
- Wear maternity clothes that look and feel good. Maternity clothes have come a long way in fashion since your mother's pregnancy; you don't need to wear ugly clothing just because you're a mother-to-be.
- Avoid itchy or synthetic items where possible as your hormones will only help you feel itchier, stickier and hotter than normal! Most maternity clothes will contain lycra or spandex for stretch capacity, but be sure whenever possible choose clothing with a natural fabric blend.
- If in any way an article of clothing doesn't feel comfortable, don't purchase it.
- Purchase the same size that you were pre-pregnancy. If that size doesn't seem to fit, trust your judgment and buy a size larger or smaller. (However, if in doubt, go larger!)
- Select several different styles and fits to try on. Pants, in particular, come with many different types of stretch panels, and will often fit and feel different. Also, as you progress in your pregnancy, it may not be only your stomach that grows, but also your posterior and hips.
- Ask if the store has a "prosthetic tummy." This is a pillow-like object that you can wear under the maternity clothes to check the fit. It isn't a perfect indicator, but will help you in buying maternity clothes to wear later on. If one isn't available, try using a shopping bag with one or two clothing items in it--it works surprisingly well!
- Buy or make nursing bras (a bra that allows you to uncover one breast at a time) around the last trimester if you are planning on breastfeeding. They are convenient and easy to use in public places. Make sure when pregnant to go to a lingerie store and get measured a couple of times as your bra size will flunctuate during your pregnancy, this will give you the most comfortable maternity bra.
- Consider nursing clothes for the breast-feeding mother-to-be. These items (usually shirts, but also camisoles and dresses) have openings that make it easier to nurse, especially in public. Nursing sleepwear likewise makes for less disrobing at nighttime feedings. However, it is best to see how your existing clothes work before spending too much money on these specialized items - many modern clothes work well without special features.
- Repeat as necessary: as you progress into your pregnancy, you may discover some purchases simply didn't work out as you thought. There's several reason for this, including how you're carrying your baby and how your body changes during pregnancy. It's hard to predict these things weeks or months in advance. Don't think you somehow failed in shopping if a pair of pants that was comfortable for weeks suddenly becomes uncomfortable. So be careful not to think you'll finish all your shopping in one weekend, or otherwise buy all your wardrobe at once.
- Sometimes the plus-sized woman's section can offer clothing that is quite suitable--at least for a couple of months. Maternity clothes are generally best for fit, but sometimes gems can be found in this section. Be careful about buying pants in this section, however--a pregnant woman's stomach is different than a non-pregnant plus-sized woman.
- If you can borrow maternity clothes from friends or relatives, or find them in thrift stores, website like Craig's List or eBay it can often save a lot of money. Many stores that sell consignment children's gear also offer consignment maternity clothes.
- Buy a lot of staple wardrobe items that will go with everything: black, brown, gray, khaki, black, white, denim, other neutrals and/or colors you wear frequently. Mix in pieces that have patterns and colors for variety.
- Other key accessory items a pregnant woman's wardrobe needs: comfortable, supportive shoes (see below), maternity pantyhose, maternity underwear (see below), maternity pajamas (keep in mind that's what you may be wearing for your child's first photograph!), at least "dressy" outfit. You may also need a maternity bathing suit and workout clothes for exercise.
- Comfortable, supportive shoes are extremely important. Not only are you going to be putting a lot of stress on your feet, but they also may swell later in pregnancy. For office or formal wear, invest in flats or "kitten heels", and seek out shoes that offer support and arch support. Also have a few shoes without shoelaces or buckles...in later pregnancy it's a relief to be able to slip on shoes.
- Maternity underwear comes in just as wide a variety of style, patterns, and fabric as regular women's underwear--another change for the better in women's maternity wear! Unfortunately, this isn't something you can try on in the store. Read the sizing guide carefully before buying. In general, pick the style you wore pre-pregnancy. If in doubt, try bikini-style.
- Because your wardrobe may be limited, indulge in accessories like scarves, jewelry, and the like to give more variety.
- You can use a rubber band in order hold your pant tops open while your belly grows. (It's the primitive version of the "belly button" mentioned above.)
- Embrace maternity wear; accept that you need to wear it for now. Your body is changing and you will need to give it room. Besides, it's simply more comfortable, and that's increasingly more important as your pregnancy goes on.
- Don't use low-cut pants - they won't stay up once the bump starts growing!
- Don't leave your belly uncovered unless you're at the beach. Be proud of your bump, but a fashionable woman wears maternity clothes that fit every part of her.
- A woman who gives birth will not be out of maternity clothes immediately. It usually takes several months to shrink back down, so be aware that your "maternity wardrobe" also covers up to nine months or more afterwards.
- Don't buy an item just because it fits or is inexpensive, if it looks bad on you, is uncomfortable, or it just isn't your style. It's not so difficult to find classy maternity clothes that fit well.
- AVOID buying maternity clothes that don't go together cohesively. As a rule of thumb, any separates (tops, pants, skirts) should coordinate with at least two other items in your wardrobe. You will save money and get the most value out of your clothing budget.
- Avoid novelty maternity T-Shirts. (Such as the "Baby on Board" T-Shirt). One or two may be fun, but too many just isn't a wardrobe for a sophisticated grown-up.
- Avoid any trend of actually dressing like an infant with babyish prints. You are a woman. Dressing like your baby (ie, childish prints, unsophisticated ruffles, etc.) never looks flattering.
- Don't be ashamed to wear maternity clothes! Trying to fit into your favorite pre-pregnancy jeans even though you can't breathe is silly--you won't be doing yourself or your child any good!
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