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When to Start Wearing Maternity Clothes + Tips From My First Pregnancy

Finding out you are pregnant will likely fill your mind with an entire list of questions you may never have thought about before, one of which is when to start wearing maternity clothes. For women who love shopping, this may be an exciting excuse to head to the mall as soon as possible, while others may find the prospect of putting together a new wardrobe a bit daunting. Regardless of where you fall on the love-of-shopping spectrum, keep reading to ensure you are as prepared as possible to stay comfortable and classy throughout your pregnancy. 

When Should You Start Shopping For Maternity Clothes?

First Pregnancy

On average, women carrying their first baby will be ready to start wearing maternity clothes sometime in the second trimester, usually around 16-20 weeks. However, it is important to remember that everyone is different and there are a variety of factors that may affect when you, personally, will need to buy maternity clothes. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It’s not a bad thing if you find that you need maternity clothes earlier on! Being comfortable is way more important than making it to a particular date with your regular clothes. (It’s also not something to worry about if you are one of the few women who never end up needing them.)
  • If you are carrying multiples, you will likely need maternity clothes sooner.
  • If your wardrobe already includes several loose-fitting pieces, you may be able to wait a while longer to make the switch to official maternity clothing. 

In general, it is a good idea to buy some basic maternity clothes as you are entering your second trimester (14 weeks) so that you are prepared when you need them. 

Check out this post on 13 First Trimester Must Haves

Second Pregnancy

Typically, you will need to make the switch to maternity clothes earlier on in your second and any subsequent pregnancies. This is because your abdominal muscles have already been stretched out at least once before, causing your baby bump to show up sooner. In your second pregnancy, you may find that you need maternity clothes between the middle and end of your first trimester, around 8-12 weeks

If you’ve been pregnant before, you very possibly have some maternity clothes from your first pregnancy, but there are still a few important things to consider when deciding if and when to buy more maternity clothes. 

  • Every Pregnancy is Different – While some women’s bodies carry their babies similarly in every pregnancy, others may have a very different experience the second time around. Oftentimes, your baby bump may be higher or lower than in your first pregnancy, in which case you may find that the flattering maternity clothes waiting in your closet no longer fit well. 
  • Seasonal Differences – Unless you are due at the same time of year, your maternity wardrobe will likely need some additional pieces to fit the weather!
  • Have Fun – Even if you have everything that you need, adding a few new pieces to your maternity clothes collection can be an easy way to bring some extra enjoyment to your pregnancy. 

In your second pregnancy it is crucial not to have too many expectations since every pregnancy is different. As long as you have a few basics, you can probably wait to buy the majority of your new clothes until you find that you need them. This way you will have a better idea of what will and won’t work from your current collection. 

When do your pants start to feel tight when you’re pregnant?

Keep in mind that your pants can start to feel tight early on in pregnancy, even if it is your first time having a baby! Oftentimes, bloating is an early pregnancy symptom due to changes in hormones. This can cause jeans, especially, to grow uncomfortable before you may expect.  

When should you stop wearing pre-pregnancy jeans?

As soon as your pre-pregnancy jeans are uncomfortable, it’s time to pack them away! While pregnancy is a beautiful miracle, it also comes with its fair share of discomforts, and there is no need to add to those discomforts with pants that don’t fit anymore.

There are lots of great maternity jeans that will look as stylish as your regular jeans, but help you to stay significantly more comfortable. Bottoms like pajamas, joggers, and leggings may last you to the end of pregnancy, but maternity jeans are a must have for almost every pregnant woman, and should be one of the first items you start looking for when you are ready to buy maternity clothes. 

What To Do In Early Pregnancy If Pregnancy Clothes Don’t Fit?

Most women will find that pregnancy brings a bit of a weird time for your wardrobe when your bump first starts to outgrow some of your regular clothes but isn’t yet prominent enough for most maternity clothes. Here are a few tips to make it through those few transition weeks while still feeling and looking put together:

  • Use a belly band – Belly bands, such as the Bellaband, are a great way to transition from your regular pants to maternity pants. Belly bands slide over your abdomen, securing the top portion of your pants. This makes it possible for you to keep your regular pants unbuttoned without worrying about them falling down or letting your belly hang out. Though it may sound a bit strange, it really can be quite comfortable! Depending on the fit of your jeans, you may need to wear a cami under the belly band to keep your unfastened zipper from irritating your skin.
  • Pick the right style – Wearing flowy or bulky shirts that aren’t too clingy can help hide your bump during the awkward time where your growing little one may be mistaken for a food baby. 
  • Layer – Simple layering pieces like vests and oversized cardigans can be the perfect way to keep your belly hidden until it fills out your maternity shirts a little bit better. 

While looking great absolutely helps you to feel great, if you have a few days that nothing fits, try not to stress it too much! After all, the most important thing is you are growing and sustaining a precious, new life inside your body. Once you have your little one in your arms, any memories of pregnancy wardrobe problems will likely fade away. 

Tips for Buying Maternity Clothes

Don’t start shopping too early!

If you love to shop, it might be tempting to go splurge on new items as soon as you find out you are pregnant. However, it can be hard to predict how your body will change during pregnancy until your bump actually starts to grow. While sizing for a lot of items and brands is said to match your pre-pregnancy size, different women will find their bodies change in different ways. Aside from your baby bump itself, you may experience a great deal of growth in your chest or hips that affects the way your clothes fit! 

Plan for returns

While you don’t want to start shopping too early, it can be nice to have a few items ready to go. If you do start shopping ahead of time, be sure to keep all of your receipts in case your purchases don’t end up fitting quite right. 

For many stores, you will find that the in-store selection of maternity clothes is much smaller than the online offerings, making online shopping more appealing than ever. To keep from ending up with extra costs, check for free return shipping. If the store you are ordering from doesn’t offer free returns, look on Amazonas they often carry Motherhood Maternity items, as well as maternity clothing from other online retailers. 

Keep it simple

The easiest way to ensure you have the clothes you need for pregnancy, is to focus on a few pairs of high quality pants or jeans and lots of t-shirts that you can layer with sweaters and jackets, as needed. It can be fun to get a few “special” items but if they aren’t very versatile, you might quickly start to feel like you are wearing the same outfit all the time. 


If you stick with the basics for maternity clothes, an easy way to dress up your look is by accessorizing! The best is, you can use your existing collection of necklaces, earrings, scarves, shoes, etc. When you are shopping for maternity clothes, it can be a good idea to keep in mind what accessories you already own and plan accordingly. 

In Conclusion…

Deciding in advance when, where, and how to buy your maternity clothes can help you to have an enjoyable, low stress experience putting together your new (temporary!) pregnancy wardrobe. While there isn’t one answer that fits all for when you will need to make the switch to maternity clothing, thinking through what you will need and how you will put it all together is a great start to getting ready to buy your maternity clothes. And in the meanwhile, a belly band and some loose-fitting tops can get you a long way! 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy…..

  • Amazing Benefits of Coconut Water While Pregnant>>> Click Here
  • 13 First Trimester Must Haves>>> Click Here
  • The BEST Pregnancy Belly Band>>> Click Here
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