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4 of the Best "Must-Have" Maternity Wear Items You Need to Know About

by Vannessa Rhoades 31 Oct 2022
4 of the Best "Must-Have" Maternity Wear Items You Need to Know About

For many women (especially first-time moms), the excitement of showing off their baby bump will have them browsing maternity clothes online and in-store pretty early in their pregnancy. On the flip side, if you’re not quite ready to announce your pregnancy to the world, you’ll be relieved to learn that it’ll be a while before you start showing — but maybe not as long as you might think. Each and every body is different, and so is every pregnancy.

Finding maternity wear that both fits and flatters your belly can be a challenge. The right pieces, though, can help you look and feel your best as your start checking off the weeks to “labor day.” Let’s take a look at when many pregnant people start wearing maternity clothes and some helpful basics that are worth the investment.

When Will My Baby Bump Start Showing?

A number of factors can affect how early you start showing.

Typically, first-time moms won’t have a baby bump in the first trimester. The first signs of a bump usually arrive early in the second trimester, between weeks 12 and 16. If you’re on the small side, weight-wise, it may be closer to 12 weeks, whereas a larger person may show closer to 16 weeks.

If you’ve had a previous pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to start showing sooner due to weakened stomach muscles. You may start showing as early as the first trimester. This is also true for people who are pregnant with multiple babies. Your growing uterus must expand to fit more than one baby, and as a result, you could see a bump as early as 6 weeks.

When Should I Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

Each and every body is different. Not only that, every pregnancy (even for the same person) is different. When you start wearing maternity clothes is entirely up to you. Moms-to-be start wearing different pieces at different points in their pregnancies, but here are a few signs that it’s time to start stocking up on maternity wear:

  • You’re keeping your pants unbuttoned more often than not.
  • You feel puffy and bloated all the time.
  • Your tummy is poking out from beneath the bottom of your T-shirts.
  • The buttons have popped off your button-down blouses.
  • Stretchy material is your favorite new fashion statement.

Wearing constricting garments during pregnancy is generally not advised. Aside from feeling awkward or even painful, tight clothing also can lead to a variety of health issues, like reduced blood circulation and yeast infections. If your clothes are beginning to feel snug, it may be time to invest in some maternity wear.

Our Favorite Pieces of “Must-Have” Maternity Wear

While there are plenty of fashionable, creative maternity options available, you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe. Investing in a few key pieces of clothing (especially the ones that you’ll likely still be wearing after birth) is a great place to start.

Here are a few must-have pieces of maternity wear you may want to consider:

1. Maternity belt

Backaches during pregnancy are usually caused by the strain put on the back muscles, changing hormone levels, and changes in your posture. Experts at the Cleveland Clinic recommend wearing a maternity support belt to provide extra abdominal support and alleviate back pain. 

We love the Medela Maternity Support Belt. It’s comfortable and easy to wear. The lightweight, breathable material secures with an easy hook and loop fastener closure. We also like how discreet it is – so smooth it’s practically invisible under clothing! This belt is an excellent choice to provide the extra abdominal support and control needed before and after delivery.


2. Supportive bra

A lacy, delicate underwire bra won’t do the job for most people during pregnancy. You’ll need something softer and more supportive. The American Pregnancy Association advises pregnant people to look for a bra that has the following features:

    • Extra hooks for adjustability
    • Soft cotton lining
    • Deep band beneath the cups instead of an underwire
    • Wide shoulder straps

To get more bang for your buck, look for a bra that also has nursing features built in. If you intend on breastfeeding, invest in a maternity bra that you’ll feel beautiful and comfortable in for your nine months and beyond.

We love the Carriwell Seamless Nursing Bra. It’s a soft and comfortable bra that molds to your changing body shape. The easy one-handed nursing clasps expose the entire breast while nursing, maximizing skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby. 


3. Sleep bra

Breast soreness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. For many people, the tenderness and discomfort increase again in the third trimester and in the early weeks postpartum. Sleeping in a bra reduces movement and helps you avoid scratching your tender chest against your sheets or pajamas. 

The Medela Nursing Sleep Bra has a new racer-back design that provides both comfort and support to pregnant and nursing moms. The improved fabric blend has unique wicking properties to keep you cool and comfortable all night long. It’s also handy after the baby arrives, with a seamless crisscross front for easy nighttime nursing.


4. Maternity tank top

A good maternity tank top made from soft, stretchy fabric is perfect for layering. When you’re pregnant or nursing a new baby, you’ve got to be ready for just about anything. And sacrificing comfort is not an option. By layering a maternity tank top, you can simply remove your blazer, hoodie, jacket, or sweater in an instant to cool down or nurse your baby. How easy is that? 

Take a look at the Medela Breastfeeding Maternity and Nursing Tank Top. It has a non-wire design that’s extra soft and stretchy, providing maximum comfort and support. For nursing, the “open-and-close” clips and full drop cups are easy to unhook and reattach during breastfeeding, with extra assurance to remain in place when needed


The Bottom Line

Maybe you’re a fashion lover who is thrilled by the idea of “styling the bump.” Perhaps you’re someone who just wants to get through the next few months looking reasonably presentable while buying as little as possible. Either way, it makes sense to invest in a few good, solid basics. Let’s face it: we usually feel better when we’re more confident about how we look. So instead of settling for a sore back and old, stretched-out sports bras, treat yourself to some new, affordable maternity wear. Celebrate the bump and your own chic maternity style.

Shop All Maternity Wear


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