Stuff: Maternity wear

You might need maternity clothes if you’re growing your own baby, but what kind really depends on what kind of clothes you normally wear.

What is it?

Pregnancy is your time to be comfortable, and accept that this is going to be priority now..

What if my look is important to me?

I’m not suggesting you stop taking pride in your appearance, particularly if it’s an important part of your identity. (For example, I’ve just heard of a great new site, Butchbaby & Co, which is ‘The first ever alternity wear for pregnant masculine, transgender and queer individuals.’ The site’s not quite launched yet, but I’ll try and post more details when I have them, and in the meantime you can follow them on Twitter @butchbabyco.)

But if you’re normally someone who wears tight trousers and stilettos, you’ll probably need to rethink your style. It’s about working out how to be comfy and still be you.

After a few months of parenthood, you’ll just be proud there are no visible wee stains on your shirt.

Do I need one?

Tights and leggings – this is the one area I’d say investment is worthwhile. Team a floaty dress with supportive maternity leggings and you’ve got yourself a great core maternity outfit. I never stopped wearing maternity leggings, and I know women who’ve worn them for years after giving birth – they are super super comfy.

Underwear – I always wear big pants anyway, so these fitted comfortably over my bump for most of my pregnancy, and under it towards the end. There doesn’t seem to be such a thing as maternity knickers. You will want to wear a wireless bra though – padded crop tops do the job quite nicely. (I say, as a 34G. Women with bigger boobs than that might well want to invest in a couple of ultra-supportive maternity bras.)

Trousers – if you wear a lot of trousers you will need to get special ones from quite early on – 3 or 4 months if it’s your first baby. Maternity trousers essentially have a top panel that fits over your bump, and an elasticated waist. You’ll therefore need tops that flare at the bottom too, though you might not need these until a bit further along. For making ordinary trousers last longer, fishermen style trousers and elasticated waists will be a bit more flexible.

Dresses – Many styles of dress will do you through the first couple of trimesters, with a couple  of larger sizes or maternity cuts being regularly washed through the later months.

Jumpers – I’d recommend large comfy cardigans as an alternative to jumpers, depending on the weather. Most normal jumpers may well fit you until 6-7 months anyway, so buying something specially for such a short time might seem a waste.

Coats – What you need here depends on the weather, again. If you’re due in the summer months, you can probably make do with a cardi. Picking up something massive from a charity shop (larger sizes tend to be more freely available) will probably work out to be warmer than buying a cheap (therefore thinner) ‘maternity coat’.

Shoes – Maternity shoes? Well, not exactly. But you’ll be likely to have slightly swollen feet,  and in the later months will wobble like a weevil, so make sure you’ve got some proper cosy shoes – again, it’s worth buying new here as they’ll last for years.

Pyjamas – Mmmmm pyjamas. Old pyjamas bottom with overstretched elastic, with a cosy overlarge top and a MASSIVE dressing gown. And a bowl of icecream. It might look like I’ve diverted there, but spend the later months of pregnancy being as lazy as you possibly can be; it’s your last real chance.

Piercings – you might find it more comfy to remove a belly button piercing as you grow. Genital piercings are best taken out before you actually give birth’ but not before unless you’re uncomfortable. Advice I’ve read is to take out nipple piercings pretty early on though, especially if you’re breastfeeding. It’s also not a good idea to get anything new pierced, but otherwise you’re fine to keep whatever you’ve got going on. (Remember your baby might pull on various adornments once they’re out!)

What size do I need?

Theoretically, you just get your normal size, but go up a size if in doubt, as you’ll put weight on in other places to as your body prepares to feed a baby.

How do I get one?

If you’ve not managed to get any hand-me-downs, from friends or Freegle, you best bet for maternity specific clothes is to get eBay bundles.

Charity shops rarely do maternity wear, but what they are great for is big clothes and/or clothes you can adjust.

How much are they?

Look out for eBay bundles and you can probably get a bunch of clothes for £2-3 per item.

What makes some more expensive?

The same factors as for normal clothes.

What are the safety considerations?

You need to wear comfortable and supportive clothing when you’re pregnant. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight, in particular. Tight clothes won’t hurt the baby, but they’ll be hella uncomfortable.

What’s the alternative?

 Floaty clothes; big clothes; spending as much time  as possible in a giant dressing gown.
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