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What Size Maternity Clothes Should I Buy? – Choose the Best Size for You!

Pregnancy is a beautiful and miraculous time in your life, but finding the right kind of maternity clothes can sometimes be a headache. Most people aren’t aware of how maternity sizing works, and there aren’t always maternity stores around that you can easily reach to try clothes on and find your size. Additionally, not many women that are pregnant for the first time are sure how to plan for or purchase maternity clothes. Because of this, the question on most pregnant women’s mind is: What size maternity clothes should I buy?

Choosing the Right Size Maternity Clothes

A maternity size 10 will fit someone who wore a size 10 previously.

That said, there are some discrepancies because everyone’s body is different, and some women’s bodies grow differently during pregnancy. Because of this, it is important to first physically try on maternity clothes in order to find out if you need to size up or size down to get a proper fit. Most maternity stores will have fake bellies on hand that you can strap on to see how clothes will fit your once your belly grows.

Do not stress about buying maternity clothes right away, though. For the most part, your first trimester won’t see much difference in belly growth, so you don’t need to start buying maternity clothes until your 2nd trimester, which begins in the 13th week of pregnancy. This is the time you should be considering what size of maternity clothes to buy.

How to Find the Right Size Maternity Clothing

As stated before, most maternity clothing manufacturers make sizing easy for you to understand by keeping the maternity size of clothes the same as the pre-pregnancy size of the clothes – the only difference is that the maternity clothes are made with specific additions that make them adaptable to a growing baby bump.

If you are looking for your perfect size, you should measure yourself in three specific places: your bust, your waist/bump, and your hips. To do this properly, follow these steps:

  1. Measuring Your Bust – Fully relax your arms on the sides of your body and have someone measure around the fullest part of your chest.
  2. Measuring Your Waist or Bump – Measure around the fullest part of your waist or baby bump.
  3. Measuring Your Hips – Stand up straight and measure the fullest part of your hips which is usually located about 20 centimeters below your waist.

If you are looking for a maternity sizing chart once you have your measurements, you can use this size chart from Motherhood Maternity for reference:

Letter Size



US Size

Pants Size


























1X – Plus





2X – Plus





3X – Plus





How to Buy a Bigger Size Instead of Wearing Maternity Clothes

Some women don’t feel the desire to buy clothes labeled as maternity clothes and simply buy clothes in a bigger size to wear during their pregnancy. This requires a delicate balance because you can easily end up with ill-fitting clothes that make you look frumpy. However, there are tips that you can use that will help you maximize your pre-pregnancy wardrobe and make sure you find clothes that fit even if they aren’t maternity.

To maximize your current wardrobe for maternity use, you can do the following:

  • Wear your longer-fitting shirts. This can include certain blouses, tunics, and stretchy tanks and t-shirts.
  • Wear your skirts a little higher on your stomach to keep pressure off of your growing bump.
  • Have your loosest fitting pants and flowy tops handy.
  • Use a rubber band or ponytail looped around the buttonhole and button on your jeans to help them be worn for longer.

Non-maternity clothes (and a few tips) that can be lifesavers for those who choose regular clothes over maternity clothes are:

  1. Bottoms that have elastic waistbands or drawstrings.
  2. Soft knits because they usually contain elastic and they are very forgiving.
  3. Unbuttoned blazers and cardigans (for working moms that need a bit of formality).
  4. Regular clothes that are 1 or 2 sizes larger than your normal size. These clothes are great for post-pregnancy size adjusting as well.
  5. Low-rise pants that sit bellow your belly.
  6. Clothes made from Lycra or Spandex.
  7. Steal your partner’s clothes!
  8. Make holes by the zipper on your pants and use things like ribbon to lace them up to allow them to grow with you.
  9. Purchase a Bella Band to wear over your bottoms that cover all undone zippers or buttons and keep your bottoms in place.

How Many Dress Sizes Should You go up When Pregnant?

Once of the most difficult sizing issues you can face while pregnant happens when you are asked to be a bridesmaid for a wedding during your pregnancy. Because you have no idea how your body will grow, there are many precautions that should be taken to ensure that your dress fits you when that special day arrives.

Some precautions you should take include:

  1. Take your measurements differently. Waist measurements will be completely useless in the beginning. So, measure your bust and hips and add a couple of inches to both in order to allow for future growth.
  2. Consider the timing. Usually, you will order a bridesmaid dress about 5 to 6 months before the actual wedding date. Wait as long as you possibly can before taking your final measurements and making final alterations in order to make sure that your dress fits the best that it can.
  3. Get a seamstress that has experience in tailoring dresses to fit pregnant women.
  4. Consider how pregnant you will be when you will wear the dress.
    • If you will be under four months pregnant, you are probably safe wearing the same dress as everyone else. You can order your dress in a size or two larger and alter it when the wedding is closer. Most dresses can be altered down a maximum of two sizes without changing the dress.
    • If you can choose your own style of dress, then choose an empire waist dress or a dress with chiffon fabric. Both of these styles are very forgiving for a pregnant woman.
    • If you will be more than 5 months pregnant, it is highly recommended to order a maternity bridesmaid dress. You may not be able to wear the same style as the other women, but you will be able to match the color.
  5. If you can, order your dress with extra length so your belly doesn’t raise your hemline too much and avoid any ruching because it is very difficult to alter.

Maternity Essentials

Buying maternity clothes can get expensive, so it’s a good practice to know what pieces are essential to have during pregnancy. Not only do you need to know what size of maternity clothes to buy, but you should also know which maternity clothes are staples in any pregnancy wardrobe. This will help you cover all of the style basics you need and save money. The following chart outlines maternity essentials in general and for specific seasons.



In General

-maxi dresses

-stretchy t-shirts

-maternity jeans



-a little black dress

-an oversize blazer


-maternity jeans

-pants that you can wear with a belly band

-light jacket

-stretchy or side-ruched tops

-maternity skirts and sundresses


-light dresses: stretchy, maternity, side-ruched

-maternity shorts

-shorts that can be worn with a belly band

-flowing and stretchy tanks and t-shirts

-maternity swimsuit


-maternity jeans


-long, roomy light sweaters

-stretchy, maternity tights

-maternity skirts

-empire waist dresses


-layering tops

-sweater dresses

-low-waist or maternity waist trousers or joggers

-lined tights or leggings

-a warm, roomy winter coat

Another consideration when dressing for pregnancy that is commonly overlooked but is incredibly important is comfortable shoes. There are some shoes that are recommended for pregnant women because they can accommodate swollen feet while providing support.

For a closed-toe, light comfortable flat shoe, you can try TOMS Women’s Espadrilles. For no-lace sneakers that are lightweight and incredibly supportive, you can try Skechers Performance Women’s Go Walk shoe. If you need a shoe that is accommodating to pregnant feet and suitable for the office, you can try the Franco Sarto Sela Mule.

In Conclusion…

As you can see, maternity fashion is as much of a personal choice as your everyday fashion. While it may be challenging to find your perfect fit or plan for wearing a dress months in advance, it is entirely possible with a bit of determination and imagination. The one thing you should always look for in maternity fashion is comfort. After all, you are creating a human!

what size maternity clothes should you wear?

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