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When Is the Right Time to Buy Maternity Clothes?

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When Is the Right Time to Buy Maternity Clothes?

Now that you’ve confirmed your pregnancy, with a positive test and an ultrasound showing a flickering heartbeat, you may be wondering: when is the right time to buy maternity clothes?

While there is no ‘definitive’ answer, this guide is designed to help you determine the perfect time to go on a soon-to-be-mama shopping spree!

When to Purchase Maternity Clothing

Technically, you can buy maternity clothes whenever you want to during the course of your pregnancy. However, according to experts, it’s best to wait up until after 12 weeks (first trimester), especially if it’s your first baby. That’s because the body is still going through a lot of changes this time, and your bump may not be noticeable enough to require maternity clothes.

Photo by lucas mendes

In other words, it’s best to buy maternity wear when you’re in the second trimester of pregnancy, particularly at 20 weeks onwards. It’s the time when most moms get a noticeable bump since the uterus is already at the level of the navel.

That being said, different women go through pregnancies at various paces. Some may show earlier, while some may not. If you don’t show up by 20 weeks or further, there’s no need to worry. What you need to do, instead, is pay attention to your body.

Regardless of your gestational age, here are some ‘reminders’ that it’s time for you to buy some maternity wear:

  • Your shirt no longer fully covers your baby bump
  • Your button-down top doesn’t go all the way down anymore
  • You cannot close your bottom fly/zipper
  • All that fits are stretchy clothes!

What Size to Choose

If you’re a first-time mama, it can be challenging to determine what size maternity clothes you should buy. Generally, if you’re a size 6 in regular clothes, you might need a size 6 in maternity clothes. But you may have to go down to a maternity 4 or trade up to a maternity 8, depending on how your bump grows. What’s important is you choose a size that makes you feel comfortable.

What Maternity Clothes to Buy

Here are some maternity must-haves every future mom should have in her closet:

  • At least 3–5 maternity shirts, sweatshirts, and/or tanks
  • About 2–3 maternity dresses
  • About 1–2 maternity jeans
  • At least one pair of black leggings
  • Several maternity panties
  • Several maternity bras (tip: you can save money by opting for versatile bras that could later on be used for nursing)

Depending on the season, you may want to get a thick jacket that covers your bump during winter or a stretchy maternity swimsuit that you can swim in during summer.

What Maternity Clothes to Buy
Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

But First, Check Your Closet!

Before you go shopping for maternity clothes, make sure to go over your closet first. Check your top collection as you may already have long or oversized ones that could readily cover your bump.

If you have oversized outerwear, they sure will come in handy too, especially if your pregnancy will coincide with the colder seasons.

What to Look For in Maternity Clothes

It’s easy to get distracted by maternity clothes with cute styles and vibrant embellishments. While they may possess a lot of visual appeal, they may not be practical in the long run. So before you put anything in your shopping cart, it’s best if you check the clothes for these essential qualities:


Cotton, chambray, or corduroy maternity clothes surely look good, but they don’t stretch as much. Unless you’re okay with only using them for a set amount of time, then it’s best to choose fabrics that have a lot of give/stretch. Excellent examples include spandex, elastane, jersey, and lycra.


Most stretchy materials are comfortable, but some can be quite sheer. So to save yourself from an unintended peek-a-boo emergency, be sure to check the stretchy clothes for opacity. You shouldn’t be able to see your skin underneath a stretched-out fabric. If you do, then you may need to consider another style/brand.


Maternity clothing doesn’t come cheap, so it’s best to find something that’s worth your money. As such, you’d want to choose styles that you could wear when you’re nursing (or after that, if possible). For example, a stretchy empire-waist dress is something you could fashionably don with or without a baby bump.

The Takeaway

The best time to buy maternity clothes is up to you, future mama! However, it’s best to delay the shopping until you reach 20 weeks (or further), as this is the time when your bump becomes noticeable.

That said, you may go ahead and shop earlier if your tops and/or bottoms no longer fit, or if you only feel comfy in your stretchy pre-pregnancy clothes.

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