maternity clothes, are they worth it?

My Experience

I found out I was pregnant when I was already six weeks along and up to that point had only noticed that my boobs looked bigger until I had to try on formal dresses for my husbands surprise 40th birthday.  It wasn’t until then when you are trying on tight-fitting garments with unforgiving fabric that you notice your body has changed ever so slightly but enough that things no longer look flattering.  To be honest if I hadn’t taken the pregnancy test the night before I tried on these dresses then I would have just felt depressed about my recent Christmas indulgence and blamed it on me not having gone to the gym in months and looking flabby.

Two days after the party I was bedridden for 2 months (read my first trimester for more) so maternity clothes were not something I needed to worry about.  Once I returned back to work I was still fortunate enough to fit into all of my own clothes (3 months).  However I knew at some point this wasn’t going to be possible so I started trying to research maternity clothes to see what people recommended.  With all of my effort there was little info I could find beyond where to buy clothes.  Yes there is some sporadic info on Pinterest but nothing that really helped guide me on staples and things to avoid.

Because I could still fit into my own clothes AND I just had this weird hang up about buying them.  I didn’t want to buy maternity clothes because they are really expensive, you don’t need them for very long plus a bunch of my friends didn’t end up needing them until 5, 6, or 7 months into their first pregnancy (apparently subsequent pregnancies you pop earlier – probably because your stomach muscles/skin know what to do) so how can one predict when you’ll need them and what you’ll need until you actually need them?

The other prohibiting factor was that I live in the UK where clothes are already more expensive AND all of the maternity clothes that I liked and could justify spending money on were in the US (like Old Navy & Target). This coupled with the fact that my last trimester would be summertime I thought I’d wait longer until I went home in May and see how I felt then.

Luckily I did.  I didn’t show until May (26 weeks).  Right before this business trip to NYC I was at home in Pittsburgh looking around my local mall for maternity clothes.  Again I felt this hang-up that I didn’t want to waste money on clothes I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be able to wear them or if at all (so many friends said they bought too much and still had tags on many items).

So instead I ventured into Forever 21.  Yes I know I’m waay too old for this store but it is CHEAP, has comfortable clothes and can be stylish.  So I ended up buying stretchy cotton long and short dresses that would stretch with me in my regular non-pregnant size or one slightly larger depending on the material and the armpit opening.

Then I bought myself 4 pairs of their flip-flops in fun bright colors and a handful of their cami’s that are soo cheap like $2 or something ridiculous in size L when I normally wear a size S.  I also bought the pants I’m wearing in this photo which were super comfortable with a wide elastic waistband and ties which I could place below my belly as I got bigger and the material on the joggers was so soft.

I am wearing my normal J Crew shirt in size XS as well and continued to wear these shirts until the end. The only maternity clothes I actually ended up buying were 2 pairs of linen fold-over pants in navy and grey and 2 maternity tanks with shirring on the sides in black and white.  I wore the linen pants and t-shirts and dresses every day my last trimester because it was hot and they were easy to dress up or down for work.  I also bought 2 Bellabands in white and black to wear with my jeans but I never used them because I fit into my jeans until it was warm enough to wear dresses.

Underwear – I could fit into my regular ones the entire pregnancy.

Bras – some people say not to wear underwire when you are pregnant because it can affect your breast tissue.  Well I never had a problem with my milk and I wore my same underwire bras my pregnancy.  I wouldn’t say they fit amazing as I definitely got bigger in the bust but not the band so I continued to wear my own again because I didn’t want to waste money.  The last trimester I wore bandeau bras from Forever 21 under stretchy dresses because they were comfortable and great for when it was hot.

Swimwear – again I didn’t want to wear a maternity one-piece suit that would be something I may wear for a week and never again.  Instead I bought a Victorias Secret bathing suit that I liked in two sizes larger than normal (xs to medium).

HOWEVER after I delivered I needed clothes to wear while breastfeeding (easy access) and the fact that I still was not back to my normal size (my uterus took longer to shrink so I was still 5 months pregnant size two weeks after) I needed different clothes.  I found out that basically I needed to buy maternity clothes that also doubled up for breastfeeding so I bought a couple sweaters, long sleeve tops, and two dressier black shirts.  I bought everything from Seraphine .  I just wore my own stretchy pants until I could fit into my own jeans six weeks after delivery.  Hopefully I will use these same clothes for my next pregnancy and/or after.

 What I bought: 

Old Navy Shirred Tank, Forever 21 Pj’s, Forever 21 Bandeau, Forever 21 Bodycon Dress, Forever 21 Cami, J Crew Denim Jacket

So in total this is what I bought for my last trimester (June – Sep) and actually wore

  • 3 long stretchy dresses (Forever 21 & Target)
  • 3 short stretchy dresses (Forever 21 and J Crew)
  • 3 cami’s (Forever 21)
  • 2 cute t-shirts (Forever 21)
  • 3 long sleeve cotton shirts (Victorias Secret)
  • 1 pair of joggers (Forever 21)
  • 2 pairs linen fold-over maternity pants (Old Navy)
  • 2 maternity tanks (Old Navy)
  • 1 jean jacket to wear open (J Crew)
  • 4 pairs flip-flops (Forever 21)
  • 2 bandeau bras (Forever 21)
  • 1 bathing suit (Victorias Secret)
  • 2 pairs pj’s loose tank with boxers (Forever 21)

In total I gained about 30lbs so even if I had gained more the dresses and pants still would have fit.  I would totally do this again if I got pregnant again. The only difference would be if I was in my third trimester in fall or winter I would have to invest in some different pieces but I still think you can wear stretchy non-maternity clothes no matter the season if you look carefully.


Do you have any other clothes or brands that you used for maternity wear that weren’t maternity clothes?  Or any maternity brands that you think are worth the spend?  Let me know below . . .


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