How to shop for maternity clothes

Hey, mama to be! We heard you’re about to start shopping for maternity clothes, and we want to let you know that we are here for you every step of the way! Shopping for bump-friendly clothes can be an emotionally trying process because there are so many things you have to come to terms with. With that being said, we also think that shopping for maternity clothes can be fun and exciting. So, let’s go maternity clothes shopping together. We have put together a list of tips on how to shop for your new clothes, as well as deal with any of the emotions you may be feeling at this time. But let’s get one thing straight: You’ve got this!

Learn to Embrace Your Beautiful Body

As women, our bodies grow and change so often, throughout our many phases of life, but they change the most when we are pregnant because we are carrying a growing life. This is such a beautiful and powerful transformation that our bodies have to make, but it can be hard to remember that. We equate our worth with the way our bodies look, and it’s not our fault. As women, we receive so many messages from the media and our peers about how our bodies should look.

But, thanks to the body positivity movement, we are starting to break free from the unrealistic societal beauty standards that keep us at war with our bodies. If you need a little extra help embracing your new and ever-changing body, follow body-positive bloggers or fellow moms on Instagram who are confidently rocking their bodies. This will encourage you to own and rock yours as well.

Do You Need Maternity Clothes?

Some pregnant women need maternity clothes and would prefer to wear them, while other women find that they get along just fine with their stylish bump-friendly maxi dresses. If you are more interested in keeping your current wardrobe, there are many different accessories to help you make your clothes work for your body like belly bands that allow you to wear your favorite pair of jeans.

Think About the Clothes that Make You Feel Comfortable

What do you love to wear these days? Do you feel comfortable in leggings, dresses, skirts, or maybe even jeans? Take note of the clothes you usually go for so that you can keep in mind your comfort when you’re ready to go shopping.

Determine Which Clothes Make You More Confident

Confidence is key—especially during this time where you are presented with the challenge of your body always changing. Our confidence is linked to clothing—so much so, that an outfit can instantly change your mood and outlook. And the clothes you feel comfortable in may not be the same clothes that make you feel confident. That’s why it’s important to take a look at both your comfort zone and confident desires so that we can marry the two while shopping for your new wardrobe.

Research Stores that Align with Your Style

There are so many brands that offer maternity sizes, as well as brands that are solely dedicated to selling maternity clothing. This means that you are destined to find a brand that makes clothing that falls in line with your current style. Pick a few brands that resonate with you and make you excited to shop for maternity clothing.

To Shop In-Store or Online?

It’s much easier to shop online these days because you have access to so many more options, but there is also appeal to shopping in person and trying things on to see how they fit. If you haven’t shopped for maternity clothing before and you aren’t quite sure of your sizing, it could be beneficial for you to shop in-store if you can. That way, you can find out what fits, what you feel comfortable in, and what you look good wearing. Once you have established your sizing, you can use that shop online at any store.

Tackle Dressing Room Anxiety

While being able to try on your new maternity clothes can be helpful in many ways, it can also be a tough process. No one likes having to try on multiple sizes when they feel uncomfortable in their bodies. So, to mitigate any insecurities or fears you are having around trying on clothes, develop a mantra or a few positive affirmations you can recite to yourself before you enter the dressing room or when you feel insecurities arising.

Your mantra could sound something like this: “My body is so strong and capable. My body is beautiful. I feel radiant and confident. I am worthy.” Reciting a mantra in a time of doubt has been proven to be very helpful to boost confidence. So, when you’re in doubt, say your mantra to yourself until you start to own what you are saying.

Shop for Items That Will Accommodate Your Body

Over the course of your pregnancy, your body will change week to week and maybe even day today. But you don’t want to be shopping for new clothing every time your body changes, which is why it’s important to get clothing that will grow with your body. Tunic tops are a great option that will contour to your curves while leaving you feeling comfortable and confident. These tops will follow you throughout your entire pregnancy, and they may even be worn after you give birth. We love versatile garments like these!

We understand that shopping for new clothing while learning to embrace your new body can be challenging to your mind and spirit, but we have full confidence that you will be able to shine through it.

Where to shop for a pregnancy wardrobe that's both fashionable and functional.

How to shop for maternity clothesCredit: PinkBlush/Blanqi

How to shop for maternity clothes

Updated March 11, 2021

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When you’re pregnant, it can be magical to feel the kicks and flutters of a life growing inside you. Less magical: when your baby bump starts to show and suddenly your pants are squeezing you out like a can of popped biscuits. As a woman entering her second trimester, I know the feeling all too well and just how frustrating the simple act of getting dressed every morning can be.

You may not want to invest in a whole new wardrobe for such a short time period, but trust me, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible while your body changes over the nine months of pregnancy (and beyond). Below are 10 of the top places to shop for maternity clothing online for when your favorite pair of jeans no longer fit.

1. Target for the basics

How to shop for maternity clothes

Yet another reason to make a Target run ASAP.

Whether you’re looking for a pretty baby shower dress, a flirty date-night outfit, or loungewear that won’t suffocate your stomach, you’ll find it all—and more—at Target. The mega-retailer is a haven of maternity basics like tanks, tees, jeans, and leggings, but also offers plenty of dressier pieces at affordable prices.

Shopping for the right clothes to wear during pregnancy can be a challenge. Your body will go through several alterations, both externally and internally, throughout your pregnancy. Many women tend to struggle to figure out the kind of clothes to wear during pregnancy. When women think about maternity clothes, they often think of the image of oversized and shapeless maternity wear that they get lost in. But that should not be the case. There are many trendy maternity and nursing clothes that you can wear during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Outlined below are some of the crucial things to keep in mind while buying trendy maternity wear.

How to shop for maternity clothes

The Empire Waist
This is considered a very crucial factor when it comes to shopping for the right maternity clothing. The empire waist will offer your body an ideal shape and, at the same time, flaring out and enabling you to comfortably cover up the extra weight that you may have gained in other parts of your body and your bump. It will help if you consider buying some empire tops and dresses. This can take you through from the first to the third trimester.

Find a Belly Band
A belly band has an elastic, and it can be worn over existing clothes and pants that will not zip up above your bump. The ideal thing about the band is that it has a soothing effect. Once you have it on, it will help keep your pants and tops up, and no one will notice that your pant is not buttoned. Additionally, it will help if you wear long tops that will cover the band well. You need to invest in tunics during this period. They are fitted on the shoulder, so they can reveal your shoulder and have a great neckline.

Show off Your Bump
Clothes for pregnant women are not supposed to conceal their entire bodies. It will be perfect if you select maternity clothes that show off your baby bump. When you are in your second trimester, you will notice your breast size enlarges. So, you should wear maternity clothes that will show off the changes in your body. If your legs and arms are toned, you need to show them off with knee-leg-length skirts and cap sleeves.

Always Accessorize
You can also use jewelry and layers for additional personal style to your clothes during pregnancy. You should wear bold necklaces that will look good in your neckline and oversized earrings to draw attention to your face. You can use mufflers, scarves, and jackets to enhance style statement and be warm during cold seasons.

There are top-rated stores that sell trendy maternity clothes over the internet. These stores sell quality products at affordable rates. Also, they make shipment of items to your doorstep. So, it would help if you get creative when it comes to your choice of maternity clothing You have many options, and you can buy stylish maternity clothes that will allow you to appear and feel great during your pregnancy and after. Read the above-outlined tips and make the best choice of maternity and nursing wear.

How to shop for maternity clothes

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When preparing for a new baby, your budget will inevitably change. Pregnancy and raising a family come with additional costs that you likely never had before.

Although there are some seriously cute, splurge-worthy maternity brands out there, you may understandably prefer not to drop a lot of money on maternity clothes that will be in your style rotation for just a handful of months. And even if you plan to have multiple kids, there’s no guarantee the seasons will line up.

The good news? These days, more retailers than ever offer inexpensive maternity clothes — and you can find affordable pregnancy styles at many of the same brands you probably loved to shop at before you were expecting.

How to find cheap maternity clothes

A few things to keep in mind to save money on your maternity wardrobe:

  • Look for multifunctional clothes. When your bump first starts to show, it might be tempting to stock up on lots of brand-new maternity clothes for your growing belly. But first, it’s smart to evaluate how often you’ll truly be able to wear each item throughout your pregnancy — and even better if you can still get some use out of it when you’re postpartum. For example, is that sweater loose enough in the belly to work when you’re 35 weeks pregnant? Could the buttons on that top offer easy access for breastfeeding once baby arrives? Is the fabric soft enough not to irritate a potential C-section scar?
  • Opt for versatile styles. Because you don’t yet know how your body will change during the next nine months, something that fits perfectly in the first trimester might become ultra-tight and unwearable by the third. Loose, flowy styles or those made of soft, stretchy materials will usually last you throughout pregnancy so you can get maximum wear out of each item you buy. Likewise, items with side ruching or stretchy panels can help extend the usable lifespan.
  • Invest in key pieces. If you decide to spend a little more on maternity clothes, do so on staple pieces that you can rewear again and again, such as maternity denim or a basic black dress that can be worn in different seasons.
  • Don’t size up. When first shopping for maternity clothes, you may be confused about what size to get. Just because your body is growing doesn’t mean you need to size up. Yes, you’ll have to go bigger if you’re passing standard clothes for maternity clothes — but if you’re shopping true maternity lines, your standard size should be just fine.

How we made our picks for the best cheap maternity clothes

Cheap maternity clothes that are cute and comfortable do exist. Don’t know where to score great deals on pregnancy clothing that will complement your baby bump? To help you score great deals on pregnancy clothing that will complement your baby bump, we turned to members of the What to Expect community, as well as our editors, to see which retailers they depended on during their pregnancies. Check out our list of the best places to buy affordable maternity clothes below.

Wondering when to buy maternity clothes? Discover when I choose to make the jump to maternity wear plus some tips for getting fashionable clothes for less.

  • Written by Genevieve Howland
  • Updated on May 24, 2019

How to shop for maternity clothes

Many mamas fear jumping into the maternity wear too soon (am I really showing yet? Will I look weird?) But what I found was that finding clothes that fit is essential to looking and feeling your best during pregnancy.

When to buy maternity clothes: First trimester bridging the gap

A good strategy for maternity wardrobe building is to take inventory of the things in your closet that you may be able to wear as your belly grows. Stretchy material like yoga pants and casual skirts are a good start but the lower the rise the better. Many women hate the feeling of anything on their stomach as it grows and may become tender. Look at empire waist dresses and shirts that may be able to accommodate a growing bump for a few weeks. Fold over yoga pants, long tank tops, wrap dresses, leggings, and tunics are all possibilities for early maternity wear.

When you can no longer button your jeans you can grab a belly band . These stretchy bands are like a spandex belt that can keep your pants up while unbuttoned. Another great use for them is postpartum when your maternity clothes don’t fit anymore but your regular clothes are still too small or uncomfortable.

You may get away with buying a size up in lounge clothes and legging but with most clothing styles a size or two larger will just make you look like you’re swimming in your clothes!

When to buy maternity clothes? Now!

Even though it may seem too early, chances are it’s not. Maternity clothes are meant to fit from the time your regular clothes don’t anymore straight through delivery (and postpartum).

Most women need maternity clothes around 3-4 months but go by how your regular clothes are fitting. If you wear lower rise pants you may be able to hold out longer than someone who wears a higher rise. Also, keep in mind that in 2nd and subsequent pregnancies you are likely to get bigger sooner than in your first pregnancy.

That being said, it’s a good idea to shop for maternity clothes as soon as you can because you are less likely to get stuck buying something that is expensive or ugly (or both) simply because you need something to wear.

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Tips for finding fashionable maternity clothes inexpensively

There is a lot of really cute and flattering maternity wear available for expectant mamas, a far cry from what some of our moms had to wear! Here are some tips for saving some cash while building a fashionable maternity wardrobe.

Borrow from a friend – If you have a friend or relative that is around your size you may be able to borrow many or all of the maternity clothes you need. Maternity clothes are a bit more forgiving so even if you don’t wear the exact same pants size you may both where a size M, for example.

Buy used – Used maternity clothes are usually in good condition (since they’re only worn for a few months at a time) and because women give away maternity clothes more frequently than regular clothes, they are more likely to still be in style. Many children’s consignment stores also sell maternity clothes. You can also check out sites like

Ebay – You can often find “lots” of maternity clothes at online auction sites like Ebay. These lots will be sold at one price for the entire lot. The seller will usually take pictures of many of the items, though not necessarily all of them. Even if you only like 80% of the maternity clothes in a lot you’re still likely to get a great deal.

Old Navy -You can get some great maternity clothes cheap if you look at Old Navy. You will likely need to buy them online but maternity clothes are easy to size (just get your regular size in S, M, L etc.) and usually fit a variety of body types well.

Motherhood Maternity – Though a little more expensive than Old Navy, Motherhood Maternity carries maternity clothes in store as well as online, so you can try them on before buying if you’d prefer. You can get great deals during their sales too.

Invest in some higher quality clothes

If you think you will have more children you may want to invest in a few higher quality maternity outfits, particularly dresses, which can be dressed up or down and made warmer with a sweater and leggings. After getting two or more maternity seasons out of the clothes you may save more than if you bought cheaper clothes that only lasted a few months.

Also, you can look into buying a few convertible pieces that can be used during pregnancy, nursing, and beyond. The Hipknoties is a one size fits all piece of clothing that can be worn in 30 different ways from tank top to maxi dress. You can also find many maternity tops that double as nursing tops which can extend their use for years!

How to shop for maternity clothes

Maternity clothing sizes work the same way as regular ones do, meaning, you’re the same size in maternity clothes that you are in regular clothes. If you normally wear a size small, you’ll be a maternity small, too. It’s the same for numbered sizes: a regular 6 or 28 is equivalent to a maternity 6 or 28. This doesn’t mean your waist is still 28 inches during pregnancy, but clothing companies keep the sizing the same to make shopping for maternity clothes less confusing.

Sizing remains true for plus-size maternity clothes too. But like all fashion, plus-size clothing sizing can vary by retailer, so be sure to take your measurements and check maternity size charts to ensure the best fit before you buy.

The same rule of thumb applies to maternity bra sizing as well, but take note: Because your breasts grow throughout pregnancy, your regular bra size is likely going to change. Before buying any maternity bras, get fitted by an expert at a lingerie store, or take your own measurements at home and match them to a brand’s maternity size chart. You can also buy a bra extender to give your pre-pregnancy bras new life throughout these nine months.

Because maternity clothes sizing works the same as regular clothes sizing, you’ll hopefully find that shopping for maternity clothes is easier than you may think.

Do I really need maternity clothes?

Just like early pregnancy symptoms, whether or not you need maternity clothes can vary from person to person. For at least the first few months of pregnancy, you may be able to get away with wearing comfier, roomier items from your existing wardrobe, such as leggings, maxi dresses, and oversized sweaters. This may be especially true if you’re a first-time mom, as you’re not likely to start showing your pregnancy as early as women who have been pregnant before.

There are many tried-and-true pregnancy clothing hacks you might swear by in the first trimester, such as threading a hair tie around your pants button to leave more room for your growing belly, or making your own belly band to wear on top of unzipped pants.

You’ll probably start showing between 12 and 18 weeks, and by then, you might feel and look more comfortable in clothes that are tailored specifically to your changing body. Buying even just a few maternity clothing staples is a better option than purchasing items that are oversized and unflattering – or attempting to squeeze yourself into what’s already in your closet.

Tips for finding the right maternity clothes sizes

These tips for finding the right maternity sizes will make it easier (and hopefully less daunting!) as you embark on your search for maternity clothes:

  • Check maternity size charts. Maternity clothing sizes can vary by retailer. If you’re shopping online, measure your bust, waist/bump, and hips, and compare them to a brand’s size chart to ensure what you’re buying will fit.
  • Confirm maternity store return policies. This is especially important when shopping online since you can’t try anything on. It might even be easier (and less time-consuming in the long run) to buy what you want in a few sizes, try everything on at home, and then return the sizes that don’t fit.
  • Try different stores and styles. What worked for a friend may not work for you. Luckily, there are dozens of retailers and brands that sell cute maternity clothes for every occasion, from everyday wear to office attire to black-tie dresses.
  • Rent maternity clothes if you can’t commit. In recent years, many brands have started subscription services where customers can rent maternity clothes for every trimester. This is a great option if you’re still unsure about what maternity items you want to invest in, and if you don’t mind wearing clothes that have already been worn by someone else. (But don’t worry, everything is cleaned between wears!)
  • Wear what makes you feel best. This one is worth reiterating – what looks the best on you as your body changes throughout pregnancy is ultimately what will make you feel your best and most confident during this exciting time. Have fun with it!

Be sure to connect with other moms-to-be in our BabyCenter Community for even more maternity fashion tips, tricks, and inspiration.


BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

How to shop for maternity clothes

If you ever thought of starting your own business, you might consider opening a maternity store. Maternity stores serve the needs of expecting mothers, but they can also provide much-needed baby products after the delivery. As with any business, launching a business involves planning and hard work. If you feel you don’t know where to start, follow a few guidelines, and you can open a maternity store in your area.


Prepare a business plan which is comprised of a detailed outline of your business, what it will sell, how it will sell it, and how it will survive. A business plan helps you plan your marketing strategy, your product line, and you managerial staff. It also helps you determine how much money you will need to launch your business. You can find no-cost business plan templates at

Determine if you have enough funding. For instance, you will need adequate startup capitol for purchasing product supplies, office supplies, and display units. Wholesalers require that you buy in bulk, so budget $5,000 to $10,000 for products. Office supplies cost $1,000 to $3,000, but you can get some of your office supplies used. Display units cost $60 to $120 depending on the type. You will also have to establish utilities and have enough left over for marketing. If you will operate your store full time, you will also need money to cover employee salaries and your own salary. The general rule dictates that you have enough revenue to cover 2 to 3 years of business operation. The average startup capital requirments for any business ranges from $30,000 to $100,000 depending o your salary. This startup capital ensures you can survive until your business sales increase and stabilize.

Locate several reliable wholesalers. For instance, you will need to establish accounts with several reliable wholesalers. Some wholesalers such as specialize on mothers’ clothing. Others specialize in baby products such as diapers or bottles or baby books. Others might specialize in vitamins or natural foods targeted specifically for expecting mothers. Setting up purchasing accounts with several wholesalers ensures you have access to products if one company runs low or faces production problems.

Locate retail shelves and displays. For instance, you will need retail shelves to hang things on. Retail shelves come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and appearances. Find some that convey the look you want to convey. For instance, chrome displays might seem modern but cold. For a maternity store, wooden shoves might seem more cozy. Check your area for business closures. You might find reduced-priced shelving units. If you shop online, you can find retail shelves at

Choose an attractive name. An attractive business name lures customers in. An unattractive business name repels potential customers just as easily. Make sure it fits your personality or has something to do with maternity. Have friends help you choose a good name, and once you decide on 3 or 5 names, check the online business name and trademark registry to determine if someone already claimed it.

Hire at least one employee. Unless you plan to never leave for lunch or for a break, you will need at least one part-time employee to help you run your business. Make sure you find someone reliable and familiar with your products. Find someone who works well with expecting mothers.

Choose a retail location. Choosing a retail location might seem like the first step, but it isn’t. If you do not have enough startup revenue or if you can’t locate a quality wholesaler, you should not shop for a retail location. Once you shop for a location, choose a space that fits in with existing customers. For instance, do not choose a retail location for maternity clothes among retailers that specialize in tires or medical supplies. Choose a location that specializes in other types of clothing or bath and beauty supplies. Expecting mothers who already shop at these location will be more likely to find your store.

Negotiate the lease. Your lease will dictate the price per square foot you must pay on a yearly basis. For instance, a 1,000 square foot retail location might charge $20 per square foot. That total annual cost equals $20,000 per year. The monthly rent would equal $1,667 per month. Additionally, you will have to pay an additional square foot feet for maintenance fees that cover such things as trash removal and groundswork. When you negotiate the lease, ask for a slightly cheaper fee per square foot. Also ask for at least 3 months free, so you can move in and setup shop. Finally, if you sign a 2-year or more lease, ask if you can scale your monthly rent to pay less the first year when you can least afford it and more the second year when sales have picked up.

Hire a sign maker. You will require a sign maker to create a sign for you. The sign should reflect the nature of you’re your business while prominently displaying your business name. If your store rests in a retail location or a strip mall, check to see what the landlord places limitations on the type of sign you might need.

Aside from the obvious expenses involved in having a baby, an expectant mom will also have to shell out some cash for maternity clothes. Your tight-fitting shirts and slim pants will have to stay in the closet for a while when your belly starts to expand. Now you don’t have to be stuck wearing shapeless tents while you’re still waiting for your body to pop. There are many cute maternity outfits you can wear, and they can cost less than those expensive dresses you see in shops. Since you’ll be wearing these clothes for only a few months, maximize your budget for maternity wear. Here are the things that you should remember when shopping for maternity clothes.

  • Buy clothes in stretchy fabrics. Cotton and spandex are your best bet, and these fabrics will be durable and comfortable enough when your body starts to expand. Plus, these fabrics are great even for those with sensitive skin; other fabrics can be itchy on the skin. Pregnancy can trigger allergies and other skin diseases.
  • Invest on well-fitting bras. Your breasts will definitely grow bigger during pregnancy, and your old bras will soon be too tight for your growing pair. But don’t buy too many bras, since you’ll be wearing them for only a short while. Buy two or three pieces made of good quality fabric and support.
  • This is a good time to wear leggings. You may have scoffed at the idea of wearing them when you were still slim and not sperminated, but leggings will come in handy during your pregnancy. They are very comfortable, and it will definitely slim down your bloated legs.
  • Buy one really great-looking maternity dress even if it’s a little on the pricey side. There will be days that you will feel moody and sickly, and you will need to put on something that will make you look and feel pretty.

Do not buy clothes that are too big for you. Unless you’re having twins, your body shape will still remain pretty much the same, except for your belly and breasts. Buy empire-cut dresses that allow more room for both, but still retain the fit on your arms and upper back.