In preparation for writing this, I asked my mum and sister for their thoughts. My mum had five pregnancies, of which my sister was the first and I (a decade later) was the last and it’s amazing how much maternity-wear has changed in 40-odd years.
My mum made lots of her maternity clothes, wore gym slips in the 60s when she was pregnant with my sister and shared clothes among friends by the time she was pregnant with me. All three of us could easily pick our favourites; the same is true of my friends.
Open blazers for work, loose fitting dresses and anything with a bit of lycra.
Funnily enough, it wasn’t always genuine maternity pieces we picked. What we all had in common is that we’d looked for hacks as well as items that were comfortable, cheap, casual and stylish.
So, if you’re looking for some advice, here’s my round-up.
The Great Eight
1. Wait to see how your body shape changes before you start shopping for maternity clothes. In the meantime…
2. Go through your wardrobe and pick out items that can carry you through. You’ll be surprised, how many pregnancy-friendly pieces you already have: open blazers for work; loose fitting dresses, jumpers and blouses (great if your bump grows before you’re ready to share your exciting news); longer tops and skirts that cope well with the rise in hemline that your growing bump will create; and anything with a bit of lycra.
Blouses are great if your bump grows before you’re ready to share your exciting news.
3. Cheat. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t frustrated by that in-between stage where lots of your clothes don’t fit but you’re not ready for maternity clothes. Get past it by popping a vest or sports bra under blouses and button as far as you can, loop a hair tie around button waist trousers and skirts or invest in a trouser extender.
4. Know your style. It doesn’t change just because you’re pregnant so shop around until you find what you’re looking for. The thought of pounding the pavements is unlikely to appeal so search online and for companies that offer free and easy returns, then order in different sizes and try them on the comfort of your own home. You want a selection of clothes that you’ll miss when you box them up, not ones you’ve been uncomfortable in for the best part of a year.
Spending money on clothes that we’ll only wear for a short time is difficult to stomach.
5. Smart or casual? First time around, my focus was on looking smart for work, so I built a capsule wardrobe around that and included some items that would work for evenings and weekends (including comfy clothes for lounging at home). I was still on maternity leave when I was pregnant with my second (I know), so it was all about skinny over-the-bump jeans.
6. Swap. So many of us are reluctant to buy maternity clothes as it, somehow, seems extravagant: our bank balance is taking a hit getting ready for the arrival of a newborn so spending money on clothes that we’ll only wear for a short time is difficult to stomach. My box of maternity clothes has done the rounds and you’ll, no doubt, have friends and family who can loan you some of theirs.
My maternity jeans were a no-go as they rubbed on the scar.
7. Think about what you’ll wear post-birth. Our second baby was breech, so I had to have a c-section. I knew about it the week before so had time to work out which clothes would be the most comfortable. I was glad of my over-the-bump maternity leggings, but soon realised my maternity jeans were a no-go as they rubbed on the scar.
8. Declutter. I emptied my wardrobe of anything that wasn’t pregnancy-friendly and it made getting ready so much easier.
As an English teacher, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve always wanted to write. Finally finding myself with something to share, I started my blog while in the final trimester with our first (he caught us off-guard by arriving 1 month early and just in time for Christmas). Our daughter was born this spring so we’re now fully-fledged members of the crazy two under two club – there’s 15 months between them! Add an excitable pup to the mix and life is pretty hectic, but that’s how we like it, I think!