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When Do I Need To Buy Maternity Clothes?

When Do I Need To Buy Maternity Clothes?

Sam C’s may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content.


Are you wondering if it's too soon to start buying maternity clothes?

It can be overwhelming if you're hearing women say all sorts of different things! 

So, when should you make that first purchase?

The simple answer: When you start to get uncomfortable.

Listen up, there really is no "right" time, so if you're buying new clothes in the first couple of weeks of pregnancy, that does not mean you are gaining weight too fast or that you are abnormal.

Yes, some women will say, "I still fit in my skinny jeans at 15 weeks pregnant!" ...and that's their journey. Everyone's is different, and none are wrong. 

Some people spend the first 3 months puking their brains out, so they don't gain much weight. Not to mention, everyone carries differently, so it's not just person-to-person that differs, but pregnancy-to-pregnancy. 

My advice is buy a little at a time, since your body is changing so quickly. Here is a rough breakdown of what you'll need in the next 40 weeks to keep up with the beautiful baby growing inside of you:

pregnant happy woman

1st Trimester:

Within the first few weeks of my pregnancy, my boobs and my butt were both bigger. Although I had no bump, I was already uncomfortable in my bras and underwear. I was a 34A and so I bought a couple of new bras in 34B and 36B. I also bought new underwear in the size up. I purchased a pair of normal jeans and normal slacks for work that were bigger as well. I went from a size 6 to a size 10. My leggings were still fitting fine, so I didn't need to buy anymore of those, and I was able to get away with my loose fitting shirts most of the time!

In summary, I bought the followingjust in a bigger size, not maternity:

  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Regular Jeans
  • Regular Slacks

early pregnancy

2nd Trimester:

This part is exciting because you can actually tell people you're pregnant and show off your bump! Once my belly started to show, I invested in some flowy tops, long dressy shirts, and leggings. The new pants I bought were not fitting as nicely as before. I felt fine as soon as I got dressed in the morning, but after a meal, I would be painfully bloated. To help with this, I bought a belly band. Basically, once your pants are too tight to button, you can use a belly band to bridge the gap. It does a nice job at covering the fact that your pants are undone and also gives your belly bump a soft, round, flattering look. When this trick gets old, invest in some maternity pants. It's all about what makes you feel your best. At about 22 weeks pregnant, I became uncomfortable in my favorite t-shirts because they were too tight! I bought some men's large and x-large graphic tees at Target because they are just as cute as the women's and they are cozy!

In summary, I bought:

maternity clothes

3rd Trimester: 

For the homestretch, I was basically over pants all together. I wore dresses every day (during the summer). If it were me in winter, it would be leggings and long tops. On some days I would actually wear old dresses I owned (short, cute ones) and wore them as shirts with leggings. I bought myself a new pair of shoes that were more comfortable and that I didn't mind stretching out. If you are having a baby shower, you should splurge on a pretty dress that makes you feel beautiful! I also bought more underwear. Granny panties to be exact. I knew I needed some for postpartum, but I'm so glad I bought them ahead of time because I made great use out of them in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Also, while prepping for D-day, I was looking at comfy nightgowns and ended up buying a couple to wear while still pregnant. They personally helped me sleep better at night!

In summary:

  • Comfy shoes
  • Big underwear
  • Maternity dresses (summer)
  • Maternity leggings (winter)
  • Maternity Shirts
  • Nightgown

*Side note: If you're pregnant during the summer (and live near the beach or own a pool), you can buy a maternity bathing suit! Don't be afraid to show off your bump though... you don't necessarily need a maternity bathing suit, just one that is comfortable and you feel confident in.

pregnant woman

4th Trimester:

Wait, what?

I'm talking postpartum, mamas. If you are nursing, you will need to invest in nursing bras and pumping bras. They are two different things, who knew?! There are also a lot of great nursing clothes out there, like shirts, dresses, and tanks depending on how long you plan to breastfeed. 

Other than that, most of the clothes you bought along the way should suffice while you are recovering. 

nursing baby


What size in maternity clothes do I buy?

Whatever size you were before! If you were a medium before, you will be a medium again. If you were a size 12, you'll be a size 12 in maternity clothes. HOWEVER, just like with regular clothes, some stores run big or small, so try on the clothes before you buy if you are concerned. 

Where do I buy maternity clothes?

We are actually very lucky to be pregnant these days compared to the generation before us. There are so many more places that sell maternity clothes, whereas my motherwho was pregnant in the 80'sbasically only had one store to shop at. 

Here are my favorite places to shop maternity (and don't be afraid to buy used!):

  • Target
  • ThredUp
  • Old Navy
  • H&M
  • Ebay
  • Loft
  • Macy's
  • Kohl's
  • Asos
  • Nordstrom
  • Motherhood Maternity
  • Amazon

Let me know in the comments if you've found somewhere else that's great to shop!

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  • Samantha Colandrea
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