When Should I Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?


A lot of women will start wearing maternity clothes when their own clothes start to feel tight fitting and they don’t want their friends to think they are getting fat! And on the other side, there are some women who can’t wait to get into maternity clothes to show the world that they are expecting! What stage in pregnancy you start to wear maternity clothes will depend on you – your feelings, your sense of style, you will decide when the time is right for you. There aren’t any rules when it comes to choosing a day that you are going to start wearing maternity clothes, but still, there are some important factors to consider when you do plan on ‘expanding’ your wardrobe. Usually, after the first 3 months or so, a woman will start thinking about maternity wear or larger type of clothes. 

When Do You Start Wearing Maternity Clothes

 Wearing Maternity Clothes

The womb is where it all starts

Once you understand that the uterus, or womb, is going to increase in size and you will have noticed this by the time you are around 12 weeks pregnant or thereabouts, it would have increased in size to the top of your pelvic bone. By about 14 weeks of pregnancy, the womb has already expanded to about 2 inches above the pelvic bone. By 16 weeks, it has reached halfway between the pubic bone and the belly button. Around 20 weeks of pregnancy, it reaches the belly button and from 20 weeks on you can expect that your stomach size will get bigger and bigger. This will probably determine your style of clothing to accommodate the growing baby. Your clothes are definitely going to be tighter around the waist at this stage.

There are some women who are different; they don’t start ‘showing’ until they are around 16 weeks, and then only, they might only notice some extra fat is deposited. At this stage, some women will start switching over to maternity wear.

Different weights, different body shapes

Some women are built small and some are built big, some don’t weigh much while some weigh more; there are all kinds of different shapes and sizes in women and it is these factors which will also determine when a woman will start thinking about maternity wear. If women, before they become pregnant, are overweight or obese, and carry that weight around the stomach area, they might not show up with their pregnancy than the slim women would.

Other reasons women will start wearing maternity clothes earlier

Sometimes women suffer from water retention and this can cause them to feel uncomfortable already in their regular clothes and they feel the urge to start wearing maternity wear earlier because they just can’t handle the pressure around their waistline. When a woman is pregnant, the hormone, progesterone, slows down the activity of a women’s bowel and she can often feel bloated and constipated from gas. While the baby in the womb is growing, women’s breasts also start to grow, preparing for the event of childbirth when she will breastfeed her baby. Because the body is producing increased progesterone and estrogen hormones, the breasts swell and get heavier. This might be the reason a woman will think about buying larger bra sizes. Fortunately, maternity bras have been designed and made with plenty of hooks to increase and decrease the size to accommodate the increasing or decreasing chest sizes.

And what happens if you are expecting more than one baby?

You might have wondered why you are putting on more weight than usual with your pregnancy and discovered that you are expecting twins; maybe even more than two babies. Your womb will be larger each week than a woman who is expecting one baby, so you will definitely notice your clothes getting tighter sooner.  You might need to wear maternity wear earlier than normal, just so you can feel comfortable.

You might lose weight in the first trimester and not need maternity clothes for some time

It is very possible that morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum, can lead to a woman even losing weight in her first trimester and the belly might look flatter because there are less fat deposits. Morning sickness occurs in around 0.5-2% of pregnancies. These factors might bring on the need for wearing maternity clothes even later than usual; maybe in the second trimester.

Maternity Sizes You Should Know

Maternity clothes Sizes

Maternity clothes and sizes allow for a women’s stomach to expand. If you are wearing a size 8 now, the maternity clothes you need to choose will also be a size 8; they will just be for maternity wear. This will be unless you put on a huge amount of weight during your pregnancy, especially after 20 weeks – you might then have to go up a size or two to accommodate your increase in weight. However, the maternity world today caters for every woman, no matter the size, no matter the reason; no matter the season – there will be clothes to be found for the woman who still is working, for the stay at home mum, for formal and informal occasions.

Alternatives to Maternity Clothes

Alternatives to Maternity Clothes

Some women don’t want to wear traditional type maternity clothes in their first trimester. Some will just go out and buy bigger clothes that are not classified as ‘maternity wear’. A-line dresses that usually flare at the top will be worn, or some pleated dresses that flare more at the waist are examples. Some women wear elasticized pants with oversize T-shirts.

What do you want?

Once you are pregnant and a baby is on the way, your weight during pregnancy, your body shape, your growing womb, breast size, and generally normal and expected weight gain in pregnancy will all be determining factors that will influence you to start wearing maternity wear earlier or later. The main thing is to feel comfortable in your pregnancy.

Maternity clothes also mean switching over to swimwear maternity wear

Sometimes, especially in the summer, and particularly if a pregnant woman lives near the beach, she might wonder if she will still be able to enjoy all the summer fun while she is pregnant with a big tummy. But that should not hamper her, because there are beautiful maternity costumes that are made for a woman to continue enjoying herself on the beach; to see that life goes on as normal, because life’s a beach, right?

It’s your call when you decide to start wearing maternity clothes.


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