It’s actually quite liberating shopping for maternity clothes, as it’s allowed and even expected you gain a little weight during pregnancy. Due to the advent of online shopping, it’s never been less embarrassing to find chic, stylish pregnancy clothing. For me, clothes shopping pre-bump was never as much fun as during pregnancy. The unsightly bulge here and unwanted fold there in the harsh light of the changing room mirror was enough to make a girl run screaming for the nearest exit.
Clothes for pregnant women are designed to be flattering however, so that little muffin top that usually appears above the jeans line is flattened by the forgiving over-belly band. The soft layers of a flowing maternity top mercifully allow for that pre-baby baby belly.
Another fantastic thing about pregnancy clothes is they are made to accentuate your bump rather than hide it. It’s obvious where the few extra pounds have come from, and no-one and nothing can blame you for it.
Here are my top 5 must-have clothing items in pregnancy and beyond.
Good black maternity pants
Nothing goes with a wide variety of pregnancy tops like a decent pair of black maternity pants. I practically live in black pregnancy pants and a variety of comfortable maternity tops. Find comfortable yet stylish pants with a decent amount of stretch in the waist. If you choose an over-belly style, make sure the expandable waistband will accommodate your growing girth.
A decent pair of maternity jeans
If you’re more of a jeans wearer, investing in one decent pair of pregnancy jeans is all you will need. Make sure the belly band is not too tight, while still being tight enough to make sure you aren’t embarrassed while crossing a busy street. A secret fit over-belly band will flatten out any muffin top that may have snuck onto your waist during pregnancy as well, which is nice.
A selection of nice maternity tops
Because I felt enormous during all my pregnancies, I preferred styles that showed my bump, but kept chubby bits under wraps or beneath layers of fabric. Due to the fact I was pregnant, breastfeeding, and now pregnant again for the third consecutive summer, I try to choose natural, breathable fibres to help stay cool.
The basic tee: Try to find yourself at least one basic tee that you feel comfortable in. Find something stylish and functional that can double as a top for both work and play.
Keep the sleeves as long as you are comfortable with, either just covering the tops of your arms, or down to ¾.
Nursing tops: To avoid buying a selection of maternity tops then having to do the same thing again when nursing, try to find comfortable, stylish nursing tops that are stretchy and will accommodate both pregnancy and post-partum bump.
Choose flattering, cross cut designs that are stylish for pregnancy, and pull open in the front to make them easy to nurse in as well.
Comfortable dress tops: Choose stretchy, comfortable dress tops that have a slightly longer cut sleeve and simple embellishments that show off your bump. Gathering at the sides are a nice touch to layer over any sideways bulges. Try a button down number if you haven’t popped out in the bust area so much. Keep necklines rounded rather than plunging if you are trying not to draw attention to an overly ample cleavage.
Wrap tops: By far my most favorite style, wrap tops are simple, elegant and most importantly, flattering to the pregnant and post-partum figure. I love wrap-around tops that can be tied to fit any size or shape, also cross over tops with false fronts so they can be pulled up when nursing.
Summer tunic or dress: Find yourself one nice dress or tunic that you can wear over comfortable tights or black pants. A dress with a band around your hips will accentuate your bump while hiding any weight that has leapt onto this area when you weren’t looking. A stylish tunic can be worn over tights or black pants, Choose a style that is either straight or gathered under your bust to further accentuate your bump.
Breathable maternity sleepwear
Choose maternity sleepwear made from soft cotton fabric, as natural fibres will let skin breathe. Cotton allows for natural ventilation by absorbing perspiration and releasing it into the air, whereas synthetic fibres won’t, leaving the sweat trapped against your skin. This makes cotton the best choice for health and comfort.
Choose a low cut waist that will sit comfortably under your belly and if possible, a cross over top that will take you through into your breastfeeding phase. Try to find a flattering fit that you will feel comfortable in should unexpected guests arrive (it happens much more often than you think after the birth!).
A good, comfortable nursing bra
I found by the third month my breasts had grown to the point where I wasn’t fitting into any of my bras. I knew then it was time to find something that was going to last me for the rest of my pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding.
I didn’t see the point in spending a bunch of money on a maternity bra, then investing in a nursing bra as well when the baby was born. If you’re anything like me, your breasts may start leaking relatively early as well, and having the added protection of a good nursing bra was a godsend.
So at 3 months pregnant and a good 2 cup sizes bigger, I got myself a couple of good comfortable nursing bras to see me through. I read your boobs usually don’t get much bigger after 3 months, and thankfully mine only got ½ cup size bigger. Luckily the design of the nursing bra I chose accommodated this addition to my already ample bosom.
I found a nursing bra design that was seamless and comfortable for my growing cleavage and had snap clips in the front for future breastfeeding. Find one with a band that hugs your body under your breasts rather than an under-wire, especially if you are pregnant during summer. This supports your breasts, keeping them off your chest which prevents sweat and heat rash. Some allow you to place nursing pads right inside them, which helps keep them in place when you are breastfeeding.
So don’t shy away from shopping when pregnant, embrace the opportunity to show off your precious cargo. Go forth and shop with your bump on board, and be thankful that for a few, wonderful, gratifying months, no-one is going to frown at you having a few extra curves here and there.