Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Maternity Clothes

I decided to wear my new maternity jeans today to see if they were more comfortable than my regular ones. Even though I'm just barely showing, they have been. The big reason is that I was not wearing a belt with my old jeans to prevent it digging into me when I bent over or sat, so I was constantly pulling them up. These jeans are staying in place better, but we will see if that keeps up as I wear them for several days in a row.

Wearing maternity clothes again got me thinking about what I know on the subject.

First of all, here is some advise that sounds really good that I haven't followed:
  • There is a product, I believe its called a belly band, that is kind of like a tube top that you wear over the waist of your regular pants. It allows you to leave your pants undone so that you can wear them a little long before switching to maternity pants. A friend at work highly recommended it, but I never came across one.
  • Shopping at places like Good Will and Salvation Army is a great idea for maternity clothes, especailly pants which are the most expensive.
Okay, now for the things I've learned through experience.

  • First of all, don't buy a lot if you don't have to. You will only be wearing these clothes for a few months. Chances are that the season will change and you will have to get a couple different items later anyway. And, even if you plan to reuse them during a different pregnancy, you will probably need or want new items then. And, most importantly, it is hard to judge how things will fit later. Something that is comfortable when you start to show at 4 months, might not fit at all at 7 months depending on how you carry and where you gain weight as well as the fit and style of the garment.
  • I got by my whole first pregnancy with two pairs of dress pants, one pair of capris, one pair of shorts, and four maternity shirts. Also, a pack of new undies, three new bras, and a new pair of pajama pants. Everything else I could use from my existing wardrobe. But, I didn't switch over until about five months last time and wasn't working most of the time after that.
  • Most clothing stores have a very small maternity section. You can get a pair of jeans (or capris or shorts depending on the season), maybe some khakis, and a variety of tops. If you want something special, you will have to find a maternity clothing store. Stores like Walmart and Kmart also have maternity sections.
  • The later you get in your pregnancy, the more you are going to care about comfort. I spent as much time as possible in basically pajamas - gym shorts, light weight pj pants, and sweats. These can all easily be worn lower on your hips, so you don't need to get special maternity fashions.
  • Remember to use what you can from your existing wardrobe. Stretch waistband skirts can just be worn lower on your hips. Stretch fabric shirts often can fit over your belly, at least in the beginning. Cardigan style sweaters and hoodies can just be worn open.
  • Maternity pants go by your pre-pregnancy size. The sizes might be grouped together though. For example, a small might be 4-6, and medium 8-10.
  • The hip pockets on maternity pants, especially the jeans, feel strange at first because the are designed to be lower down and farther out on your hips.
  • Don't get buttons on the butt pockets. They are just one more uncomfortable thing which you don't need.
  • The waistlines come in three ways. There is a wide band that goes mostly under your belly. There is a much wider piece of stretchy fabric that goes all the way up to almost your bra. And there is a style that is in between which will go up to about your belly button. For me, the full coverage was most comfortable. It couldn't slide down and it was guaranteed to fit later in the pregnancy without a chance of it digging in. However, it was inconvenient to have that much extra fabric on humid summer days.
  • Depending on how stylish you want to be, maternity tops are much cheaper than pants. If you just want some simple jersey material shirts, you can get them at Walmart for about the same price as a regular shirt.
  • Again, if you are just looking for something simple, try simple, solid colored stretch jerseys in the junior (or teens) department. I wore these for most of my pregnancy, and also found them convenient for pulling up to nurse later. Juniors sizes run small, so you probably want to get larger than usual even though the size numbers are the same. You can find tees, tanks, and long sleeves depending on the season.

  • You can get a pack or two of Fruit of the Loom or Hanes low rise bikini undies for cheap and they will probably serve you just fine through the later half of your pregnancy. Spend enough money to be sure they are comfortable, but now isn't the time for Victoria Secret. You probably won't want to wear them later, and you probably won't feel comfortable passing them on to anyone else. Besides, there is a good chance you'll ruin a pair or two during labor or postpartum bleeding.
  • Get a few non-underwire bras. I went with wide straps, and stretchy cups that grow with you. They were so comfortable I could wear them all day and all night. (Breast support while pregnant is important for regaining your breast firmness, whether you plan to nurse or not).
  • Though not exactly clothes, don't forget about pantyliners. Even if you are someone who usually has very little wetness, that could change a lot during pregnancy. You get more discharge the farther along you go. I was always worried about wet spots on my clothes, especially since I worked with 14 year olds. So, consider if wearing pantyliner daily will make you feel more comfortable.
  • Similarly, you may leak colostrum near the end of your pregnancy. Buying a box of breast pads will allow you to have some on hand in case you want a little protection. I also kept an extra set of clothes hidden away at work just in case, which isn't a bad idea even when you aren't pregnant. Either way, you are going to want some on hand; even if you don't plan to nurse, your milk will come in after birth and will most likely leak.
  • In terms of shoes, being 8-9 months pregnant in the middle of the summer is a good thing. You can go around in flip flops or thong style sandals all the time, as long as your work place allows it. However, if you can't just wear flip flops, remember that you might need to get some shoes for later in your pregnancy. In fact, some woman find that their shoe size changes for good. Avoid high or thin heels, though a low wide heel can actually be better for you.
  • Depending on how you feel about your pregnant body and how often you go swimming in public, it isn't necessary to buy a maternity bathing suit. I wore a bikini with a size larger bottom. If you don't feel comfortable, buy a big man's t-shirt to through over the top.
  • Don't get new eye glasses while pregnant. Your eye sight might get slightly worse for some of your pregnancy, but should return to normal postpartum. Also, someone women find that parts of their faces swell some, so you might not like the way the frames look later either.

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