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The New Mom’s Guide to Maternity Clothing

Are you pregnant and feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of dressing your rapidly changing body for the next nine months? Fear not, as this is your complete guide to purchasing maternity clothing. Here you’ll find information from what to splurge on to items you’ll need based on your specific lifestyle. But first, let’s look at what stages of pregnancy you will need to purchase items for.

What to Expect in Each Trimester

Before you rush out and replace your entire wardrobe, here’s what to expect clothing wise through each trimester.

1st Trimester: Most women don’t start showing until they hit their second trimester. This means you can keep wearing your non-maternity clothes through most of this stage.

2nd Trimester: Some women are able to continue wearing standard clothing at this stage. You most likely are showing already, so this would be the time to invest in bottoms like maternity jeans or leggings. Looser fitting tops and dresses that you already have can still be an option at this point.

3rd Trimester: This is when you will be relying on maternity specific pieces more heavily. Women gain most of their pregnancy weight in this stage so make sure you have pieces that are comfortable and fit well before entering the third trimester.

Postpartum: Don’t get rid of your maternity clothes right when you deliver as many women find themselves getting use out of their items even after the baby comes.

What’s Your Budget?

The first step you will want to take in building your maternity wardrobe is deciding on a budget. How much are you willing to invest in clothes that have limited wearability? Also consider if this is your last pregnancy or if you plan to become pregnant again. This can help you determine how much sense it makes for you to splurge on pregnancy specific clothes. If the sky’s the limit for you, you will have no issue finding maternity clothes for every occasion in every style. It is truly possible to build an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes that don’t necessarily look like maternity clothes.

If you are more hesitant about splurging on maternity specific pieces, you can also build a substantial wardrobe from a couple basic investment pieces (like maternity jeans). Hatch Collection is our favorite maternity sight to find high-quality and well-fitting pieces to build your wardrobe around. So once you have chosen a few pieces to invest in, buying some fun tops or dresses second hand can be a great way to save money without sacrificing well fitting clothes. Also check in with any friends that have been pregnant in the past. They may have some great stuff that they are willing to part with, even if just temporarily. Also don’t forget about what’s already in your closet. You may be surprised to find that many of your non-maternity pieces can be used throughout some, if not all, stages of pregnancy.


It is important to take your lifestyle into account when planning what to purchase. Obviously, what you consider basics or staple pieces will vary from person to person. Let’s look at what staple pieces you may need based on your lifestyle.

For the Office: If you plan to work in the office until the end of your pregnancy, the items you need will differ to someone who has an in-home job. A nice pair of slacks, a button down or even a business casual dress are must have items for pregnant women who need to dress professionally. Work clothes can be some of the trickiest pieces to transition with through different stages of pregnancy. Investing in a few pieces that you can mix and match to cover the five-day work week is what we recommend for office goers.

For Working from Home: If you are not someone who has to worry about professional dress while pregnant, you may want to invest in some well-fitting lounge wear. Even sweatpants can be hard to fit into in the later stages of pregnancy so treating yourself to some stylish loungewear can get you through zoom meetings or long hours in your home office.

For the Gym: If your lifestyle is more active, and you plan to spend as much time in the gym or working out as your doctor recommends, then activewear will be an important part of your maternity wardrobe. If you thought that wearing your partners oversized tees to the gym was your only option, think again! There are some seriously cute workout sets for pregnant fitness enthusiasts. High waisted leggings that can accommodate your growing belly are a must have as they can be easily paired with any sports bras you currently own.

For Special Events: Whether it’s a wedding or birthday party or even your own baby shower, you are bound to have an event at some point during your pregnancy. If you are stressing about looking and feeling good in front of all your friends (and in pictures!) you’re going to need a great dress. We don’t recommend pre-purchasing any formalwear when you start building your pregnancy wardrobe as there is no way to estimate how you will carry or how comfortable you will be by the time your event comes. If you pre-purchase a form fitting little black dress, you may have no desire to slip into something so tight at seven months pregnant when the event comes. There is no shortage of fashion-forward maternity dress options that can hide or show off whatever parts of your body you are feeling comfortable with when the time comes.

Seasonal Wear

The last thing you should consider when purchasing maternity clothes is the time of year that you will spend wearing them. If you are hitting your third trimester during winter in New York, then finding outerwear that will keep you and your belly warm is essential. Or if you will spend your most pregnant days during summer in Florida, flowy sundresses or even swimwear may be on your must purchase list. Many women rush out and purchase maternity items right when they find out they are expecting without thinking about the season changes down the line. Make sure you are taking this into consideration so you don’t end up with a bunch of weather inappropriate clothing and nothing to wear.

Let’s Get Shopping!

Now that you’re equipped with everything you need to know about buying clothes while pregnant, it’s finally time for the fun part. Get out there and have a great time building your wardrobe for what is sure to be the most exciting time of your life!

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from and other Amazon websites.

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