Heather’s Honest Guide to Maternity Wear

Maternity fashion. It’s much better than it used to be, but it could still do with some improvement. If you haven’t got a million pounds to spend at JoJo Maman Bebe then it can be tricky. My fashion savvy friend Heather agreed to write this post for me. She managed to look absolutely scrummy through her pregnancy, possibly even MORE attractive (ignore her modest protests) and with a degree in fashion and her blunt Yorkshire ‘say-it-as-it-is’ personality, I knew she was the right girl for the job.

Maternity Wear

What to wear while you are pregnant is a much more difficult thing than you initially realise. Its not just clothing, it’s a balancing act!
You don’t want to buy too much because you will only be in it for a few months and so it is a waste of money; but then, you also don’t want to buy too little and spend the last two months of your pregnancy wearing a nightie.

I have pooled the wisdom of my own and my mummy friends’ experience to compile a short guide to the Do’s and Don’t Waste Your Money’s of maternity wear.

Jeans
Whether or not to buy maternity jeans is, in my opinion, purely a matter of what season will it be when you are in your third trimester?
If you will be heavily pregnant in winter, a pair of over-the-bump maternity jeans will be your cosy best friends. However if you are going to be heavily pregnant in the summer I would advise against buying a pair altogether, as under-the-bump maternity jeans are a pain in the bum! They fall down, constantly. Over-the-bump jeans don’t have this problem but with your internal temperature already being set to ‘tropical incubator’, adding warm weather and over-the-bump fabric will lead you to feel like a turkey in an oven.

Leggings
They may not be the most glamorous things in the world but maternity leggings are without doubt the comfiest thing you will ever wear in your entire life; and this is a time you need as much comfort as possible… go wild and buy at least three pairs!

Tops
Maternity tops for the most part fall in to two categories:
1. Loose-fitting flowy tops
2. Fitted tops with a football shaped pouch to put your bump in.
Personally I feel the loose-fitting tops are far better value for money and would recommend buying more of this kind. You can wear them in early pregnancy, late pregnancy and post pregnancy; and they look flattering during all of these stages.
The fitted style tops with built in bump pouch are really limited to being worn in the third trimester. During the second trimester when your bump is just starting to grow; and post-delivery while you are waiting for it to shrink; it’s very normal to be self conscious of your stomach and worry, “Do I look pregnant? Or do I just look fat?”. Whilst the pouch tops look lovely around a big, proud baby bump; they make a small bump look like a jelly-belly, which is generally what you will be trying to avoid.

Dresses
Dresses make for brilliant maternity wear. If you are pregnant during the summer, maternity maxi dresses are wonderful. They’re flattering, comfortable and they keep help keep you cool. If you’re pregnant in the cooler/rainer months of the year and maxi dresses are a bit impractical, shorter maternity dresses are just as comfortable. You can also wear them with maternity tights (which are, incidentally, as amazingly comfortable as maternity leggings).

Coats
Unless you have a considerable sized bump in the depths of winter, I would not bother buying a maternity coat. Your internal heating system goes into overdrive when you are pregnant: making you much hotter than normal: to the point that even if you need to put a coat on to keep the rain off. You will be plenty warm enough without fastening it up – so one of your normal coats will do just fine.

Nightwear
Maternity pyjamas and nighties are very expensive compared to standard nightwear. As you’re only wearing them for bed I personally think unless it is for a special occasion where you are wanting to look particularly glamorous/racy then they are not worth the money. Instead go to Primark and buy a few nighties in the next size up to what you would normally buy. You’ll probably want to invest in an inexpensive nightie to give birth in anyway, so it kills two birds with one stone.

Underwear

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Like maternity nightwear, maternity knickers are also very expensive in comparison to everyday knickers. Instead of forking out a lot of money for them I would instead embrace your inner Bridget Jones and invest in some lovely pairs of full briefs (the kind that come up to your belly button and your grandma would be proud of) in the next size up to what you would normally buy. These will give you the comfort you need during pregnancy. They will also be a lovely home for your maternity pad post-delivery; and, if you happen to have to have a caesarean, they will also come up above your scar -which you will need to make sure it doesn’t get irritated while it is healing.
When it comes to bras, you will probably find you need to switch to non-under wired bras once you hit the third trimester; purely for comfort. At this point it is up to you whether you buy a normal wireless bra or a maternity bra. The maternity bras are comfier but more expensive. At this stage there is no point investing a lot of money on nursing bras.
If breast feeding is not for you and you choose not to do it; or you intend to do it only for a short time, then I would suggest buying maternity bras from Primark or New Look. You can get these for less than £10 and if you don’t need longevity from them, buying cheap will be perfectly fine.
If you plan to breastfeed long term you will probably need to invest in some good quality nursing bras. These can get pricey, particularly if you want ones that don’t look too old ladyish. Because of that I would suggest not buying them until baby is born and you can have your massive, milk-filled mammaries measured! Otherwise you may find that the nursing bras you bought at 39 weeks no longer fit once your milk has come in and you have to buy all new.
Regardless of how long you spend in maternity underwear, once you get passed the stage of wearing it and return to your normal underwear, after a brief pang of grief for the loss of comfort, you will feel like an absolute sex kitten!

Footwear

During the last few months of pregnancy you will find it much harder to reach your feet and so slip on shoes are the ideal thing to wear, anything with laces or buckles will be more trouble than its worth. If however its cold and rainy, and dolly shoes / ballerina pumps are impractical; boots are the best alternative. Pregnancy is notorious for causing excessive water retention. If you suffer from this you may find your feet and legs much larger than normal meaning you are unable to fit in your normal boots. If this is the case Simply Be have a huge selection of boots available in wider feet and calf fittings that you will have no problems with.

***

Thank you H! If any of my other mama friends would like to guest blog for me, then please email at mummy rules.uk@gmail.com. I am particularly interested in/have limited knowledge of: mummy makeup (every day and night out); quick & healthy meals to cook for yourself when you are beyond tired; and how to be fit and healthy on 6 hours sleep a night. It’s not all funny stuff though: if you would like to voice your experiences on sensitive topic please contact me here too.

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