Six Tips for Buying Maternity Clothes

Look for: Breathability, softness, durability and stretch are the things to look for in high-quality, comfortable maternity clothes. Natural fabrics such as cotton, modal, and bamboo will be soft and breathable -- helping you with those pregnancy hot flashes and itchiness that are so common. Blended jersey made from those natural materials together with Spandex or lycra deliver the stretchiness, support and shape retention you need to accommodate your body as it changes.

Avoid: Maternity clothes should NOT be "permanent press" or "wrinkle-free." Recent articles have shown that such fabrics are treated with chemicals like formaldehyde that are dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. You should also avoid synthetics like polyester that hold heat to the skin and any clothing with dyes that rub off when you hold them. These fabrics can make you very uncomfortable and what's the use in buying maternity clothes that are too hot or itchy to wear?

TIP 4: Essentials Are Worth the Investment

A common complaint about buying maternity clothes is price. When you shop to save, you generally encounter lower quality collections. Poorly made maternity clothes fall apart quickly in the wash, shrink or don't retain shape after laundering, pill and fray, slip down over your belly, ride up, make you too hot, and itch. Instead of shopping for quantity, shop for quality.

Determine your budget for buying maternity clothes, then set aside at least 75% of it for acquiring new, high-quality, essential pieces that will be the foundation of your daily wear. Some everyday favorites worth your investment are:

  • Basic maternity tank tops, camisoles and t-shirts
  • Maternity jeans
  • At least one maternity dress
  • A pair of black, dressy slacks
  • Maternity leggings

Combined with items from your regular wardrobe, these maternity essentials will take you through the seasons and stages of your pregnancy in comfort. Change layers as needed by simply adding sweaters, wraps, jackets, scarves and accessories from your regular wardrobe.

TIP 5: Build on a Strong Foundation

Before pregnancy you wouldn't dream of going out of the house with a poor-fitting bra, so don't do it now! Maternity lingerie is an important foundation for looking and feeling your best. Without the right bra, your tops and dresses aren't going to look as great as they could and you're going to be quite uncomfortable. Because breasts grow and change throughout pregnancy, women are often confused about how and when to buy a maternity bra -- sometimes so much so that they skip it or put it off as long as they can.

Don't.

Instead, get yourself one or two really well-made maternity bras as soon as you need them -- say a t-shirt bra and a dressier bra, or a t-shirt bra and sleep bra. High-quality bras can be underwire or soft-cup (if underwire, look for a really flexible underwire that's been approved by lactation consultants). They'll be made from a very stretchy but shape-retaining material that allows for the extra cup-room you need as your pregnancy progresses. As for your rib cage expanding and needing a larger band, you can get bra extenders to solve this problem if it arises for you.

High-quality maternity bras aren't cheap. But these are your breasts, ladies. Treat them with care throughout pregnancy (and breastfeeding) and you'll avoid suffering more pain, aching, and problems than are necessary and you'll be looking and feeling your best.

TIP 6: Experiment with Maternity Accessories

I'm not talking scarves, jewelry and bags, I’m talking about abdominal support belts, maternity belts, belly wraps, "BellaBands" and support hose.

After buying maternity clothes and wearing them for a little bit, women complain about: