When Should I Buy & Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

When Start Wearing Maternity Clothes when should i buy maternity clothes

Medically reviewed by Raye Mariano – RN, BSN, BA

If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, then you’ve probably got a lot of things on your mind.

The expected arrival of a new baby comes with many decisions to be made. From choosing the right OBGYN, getting all the must-have baby items to coming up with a name for your new bundle of joy. You’ll soon realize that figuring out how to dress your growing and changing body is just another step along your pregnancy journey.

Even before you get a real baby bump, your body might start going through other changes that can make you feel uncomfortable in your normal clothes, like bloating or an increase in breast size. At some point you will inevitably experience weight gain and that noticeable baby bump.

The thing is, all expectant mothers experience these things at different times.

With all these upcoming changes, you might naturally be thinking about when you should start buying maternity clothes, or wondering when you’re supposed to start wearing maternity clothing.

Maybe you are unsure whether maternity clothes are one of the pregnancy must-haves or you’re hesitating what types of clothes to get in general? Which ones will look flattering on your baby bump and, most importantly, feel comfortable on your pregnant body?

Keep on reading to find out that navigating this next chapter might be easier than you think.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice or consultation

Do I Really Need Maternity Clothes?

If it’s your first pregnancy, you might be wondering if you even need to purchase maternity clothes at all. While it’s unnecessary to buy an entire new pregnancy wardrobe, you will definitely want to get a few staple maternity pieces.

If you’re thinking you can just get away with dressing in your regular clothes all throughout your pregnancy, then when the time comes that you do feel uncomfortable you will totally wish you stocked up on some maternity clothes.

I mean, they were literally designed for you. Maternity clothes are made to accommodate your growing body (especially belly). There are also so many cute and stylish options available to make you feel confident and comfortable. So, why not treat yourself to some new pregnancy clothes that will only benefit you in the long run? You deserve it!

How To Know When To Start Wearing Maternity Clothes

When To Buy Maternity Clothes?

It’s really never too soon to start buying maternity clothes. Even if you don’t need them yet, at some point it’s inevitable that you will, whether that’s tomorrow or even into the third trimester.

If you start looking to buy maternity clothes now, then you’ll have outfits in your maternity wardrobe that you actually love. On the other hand, if you wait until the last minute then you might get stuck buying something too expensive or something you don’t even really like.

When To Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

Another thing to consider is when to make the switch from your regular clothes to maternity wear. I’ve been asked a lot, “what month did you start wearing maternity clothes?” And to be honest the answer is not that straightforward.

Since every woman is different and every pregnancy is different, there’s no right answer. This means it completely depends on you and your body. Ultimately, the time will be when you don’t feel comfortable in your regular clothes anymore. It’s impossible to predict when that will happen, so you might as well start preparing now.

How To Know When To Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

There are many factors that come into play that can determine when you’ll need to start wearing maternity clothes. Varying body shape, weight distribution, and breast size are different for all pregnant women and it will affect the rate of your growth and how you carry your pregnancy1.

If its not your first pregnancy then you will also show a lot sooner because you have already had your abdominal muscles stretched. Or, if you are having multiples, then you will usually show much sooner as well.

With that said, the time to start wearing maternity clothes completely depends on your preference. Listen to your body and use comfort to guide you. If you find yourself unbuttoning your jeans to stay comfortable or maybe its becoming more difficult to bend and move around easily or even breathe freely in your clothes then its time to make the switch to maternity wear. You’ll be happy that you did.

Is 12 Weeks Too Early For Maternity Clothes

Is 10 Weeks Too Early To Wear Maternity Clothes?

Even though you probably don’t look pregnant yet at 10 weeks, your body will start changing before you know it. Even before you “pop”, you might experience other body changes that might make you want to adjust some things in your wardrobe.

For one, you might have noticed an increase in the size and density of your breasts due to pregnancy hormones. If your regular bras are uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to get some maternity bras.

In the first few weeks it’s also common to become gassy or constipated making you look and feel bloated. So, you might feel more comfy in the looser, comfier clothes in your closet.

Most women can get away with wearing their non maternity clothes throughout the whole first trimester, but obviously this isn’t the case for everyone. Don’t hesitate to rock those maternity clothes if you’re bloated or gaining weight quicker than expected. Especially if its your second pregnancy, third, fourth (etc.)

Is 12 Weeks Too Early For Maternity Clothes?

At 12 weeks you are at the very end of the first trimester and some women do start showing in the belly area. By this time your uterus starts protruding into the abdomen because it can no longer hide behind your pubic bone2.

Around this time, most women will opt to wear larger clothes or looser clothes from their existing wardrobe for now. If you can still fit nicely in your regular clothes, go for it.

Again, you’ll want to switch to maternity clothes whenever the time is right for you. Even if you’re still wearing your pre pregnancy clothes into the second trimester that doesn’t mean you can’t at least buy some maternity clothes. You an always have some cute and comfortable new clothes ready in your closet for when you need them.

Can I Wear Maternity Clothes At 13 Weeks?

Technically 13 weeks is considered the second trimester and this is around the time that many women find their clothes feel tight and switch to maternity ones.

From this time forward, you will likely be experiencing weight gain at a faster rate. According to the American Pregnancy Association, once you’re in the second trimester you could be gaining one to two pounds per week3!

What Maternity Clothes Should I Buy?

  • Maternity T-Shirts

Tees and tanks are great staple items because you can wear them with anything. From lounging around the house or dressing it up more if you want to go out somewhere. Look for t-shirts that are stretchy or have ruching at the sides to fit your body nicely. Also, check that it’s a thick enough material to not be see-through.

My tip: invest in some 2in1 maternity and nursing tank tops with easy breastfeeding access. I’m pretty sure this will be one of your favorite piece of clothing to wear during postpartum, especially in the summer!

  • Yoga Pants Or Maternity Leggings

Leggings are a must-have for comfort for every woman’s wardrobe, especially when you’re pregnant. In early pregnancy you can get away with a high waistline or even folding down the top of the leggings at the waistline. But as your belly grows, you’ll probably prefer the maternity ones with a super stretchy elastic waistband. Lots of these elastic leggings are also comfortable during postpartum!

  • Maternity Jeans Or Jean Shorts

If you want to still feel like your regular pre-pregnant self but don’t fit in your regular jeans, throw on a pair of maternity jeans. You most likely won’t want to wear jeans all the time but it’s nice to have at least one or two pairs of basic maternity jeans

  • Joggers

Another option for comfortable maternity pants that won’t constrict your pelvic area. Look for ones with elastic waist or with an adjustable drawstring!

  • Maternity Dresses

Think A-line, empire waist, or wrap dresses. These styles are super flattering during pregnancy because its tighter in the bust area and loose fitting throughout. They are light and flowy so you’re not feeling hot or smothered in your clothes. You can also dress them up if you have an event like a wedding or baby shower.

  • Underwear

You might need a larger bra as your breasts grow. Get some 2in1 maternity and nursing bras so you can use them during pregnancy and then also throughout postpartum period if you’re breastfeeding. Also, wearing bump-friendly undies on the bottom will make you feel so much more comfortable than your regular ones.

What To Look Out For In Maternity Clothes

  • Everything stretchy, of course.
  • Breathable and lightweight fabrics so you can stay cool.
  • Not sheer or see through! Don’t want to show your belly button poking through.
  • Ruching allows your clothing to accommodate your growing bump.
  • Elastic waistbands so you aren’t feeling constricted.
  • Drawstring bottoms so that you can adjust the width of your pants as needed.
  • A-line or empire waist dresses that will flatter your body and you can dress up or down.

What Size Maternity Clothes Should I Buy?

The good thing here is that they try to keep it very straightforward. When shopping for maternity wear, you just buy whatever your regular pre-pregnancy size is. This is generally the case, however since every body is different you might have to go down or up a size to find the right fit for you3.

When To Start Buying Maternity Clothes

Tips For Finding Fashionable Maternity Clothes When You’re On Tight Budget

  • Take a look at your existing wardrobe. You might have things you can get away with wearing and so you might not have to purchase as much as you think.
  • Shop when there’s sales going on or look at the clearance section.
  • Switch up basic outfits by wearing different jewelry or shoes and you can wear them more often.
  • Borrow maternity clothes from a friend or family member.
  • Buy gently used clothes! There are plenty websites where you can buy second-hand maternity clothes in good condition!

Why You Should Invest In Some Higher Quality Clothes

If you think you plan to have more than one baby, then it’s definitely a good idea to invest in a few higher quality, maybe more expensive, outfits. When the quality is there then it will last you throughout subsequent pregnancies and it’ll be so worth it in the long run.

Wrap Up

While some women can get away with wearing their regular clothes for as long as possible into their pregnancy, other women might need to upgrade to maternity clothes a lot sooner. Since it’s impossible to know when that time will come, it won’t hurt to start looking at maternity clothing early on.

Listen to your body and you’ll know when the time is right for you. Don’t forget that you don’t need to go out and get a whole new wardrobe. Just buy the essentials to add to your existing regular wardrobe and you’ll be set. Remember, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t be comfortable and stylish while growing a baby.

Article By Raye Mariano, RN, BSN, BA

Raye Mariano is a Registered Nurse who worked for years as a labor and delivery nurse and mother/baby nurse. Now, as a stay-at-home mom to 3 kids, ages 4 and under, she remains passionate about all things pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.






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About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

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