I once read a blog about maternity clothes. The author was a former ballerina, some 5'10" string bean with gorgeous red hair and endless limbs. She talked about her first pregnancy and how throughout its entirety, she purchased absolutely no maternity clothing. She thought it was "fun" to find ways to make her regular wardrobe work around a bump.
My first reaction to this was unnecessary and exceeding jealousy, because who gets pregnant and only gets a bump? Didn't she also get flabby arms and thunder thighs and a muffin top and boobs the size of watermelons? Apparently not.
I'm a firm believer in the 17-week marker, especially since I've confirmed its existence with my now second pregnancy. My theory goes that when you find out you're pregnant, you immediately feel bloated everywhere even though real swelling only occurs in your boobs. From about ten weeks on, you enter the "beer gut" phase, in which your pregnant belly actually makes you look like the fat sorority girl who drinks too much but still wears mini shorts and tube tops. (Note: Wear flowy clothing here.) All of this goes on until you reach the 17-week mark. At 17 weeks, you get a myriad of other pregnancy symptoms, most of which are none too pleasant, but oh (And that's a glorious but!), you finally start looking pregnant, so you don't have to worry about everyone assuming you're just getting fat.
With my first pregnancy I didn't even make it to the 17-week mark in regular clothes. I found out I was pregnant and became so physically (and psychologically) uncomfortable that I resorted to flowy dresses, stretch pants, and anything I could find that hung away from my body. As first pregnancies go, I probably did gain weight quickly; but I still overcompensated.
With this pregnancy I've been a little more determined to be in touch with my body's changes. I was so proud to be squeezing into my jeans 12 weeks in (stretchy jeans, mind you), thanks to the help of the handy-dandy hairband trick. But I only beamed with pride for two wears before the idea of wriggling those things on again just became far too daunting.
This is when I decided to move beyond being jealous of ballerina baby-growers.
Ladies. Have you worn a pair of maternity pants? They are heaven. It's like wearing sweatpants all day but looking way cuter. And a few weeks ago, when I hit my 17-week mark, my mother dragged me into the maternity clothing store and I stared at all articles of clothing with loathing in my heart.
And then I put it on. And I actually looked good. Know why? Because it's clothing for pregnant women and I am pregnant. It's clothing made for what's happening to my body — and that includes being forgiving to my butt and thighs and allowing plenty of room for my porn star boobs. As a short, curvy girl, I'm a serious advocate of learning to dress for your body. That shouldn't change just because I'm pregnant.
There are enough things to figure out while you're expecting. Your diet changes, sleeping is harder, you have to learn when you can squeeze behind a piece of furniture and when you can't. I'd rather eliminate some guess work where I can, and knowing what clothes I can reasonably fit into is a huge plus for me — especially if it means I'm comfortable all day long.
Naturally, it's not easy replacing an entire wardrobe just because you're pregnant; so here are some of my tips on smart maternity wear incorporation:
1. Get a good pair of maternity jeans. They don't have to be expensive or name brand, just a pair that fits you well and will work with your wardrobe. Having real maternity jeans as opposed to leggings will extend the life of some of your non-maternity shirts because you don't have to worry about covering up your butt.
2. Don't be afraid to show off a growing bump. With my first pregnancy, I was always so worried that I didn't look pregnant, just fat. Trust me: You look pregnant. A tight tee that shows off your belly is darling.
3. V-necks help with the boob situation. I've always had large breasts, so there aren't many scoop necks in my closet anyway. But if you're getting used to your new rack and not totally into showing it off, remember that rounded necklines enhance and v-necks minimize. (Just watch out for a deep-v if you're trying to avoid cleavage.)
4. Dresses will make you happy. Even if you're not normally a dress-wearer, they are great for pregnancy in two ways. First, they are roomy and you'll feel so comfortable. Secondly, sometimes feeling glamorous in pregnancy is tough; dressing up a little extra is a great confidence booster and will show off your pregnant glow.
5. Shop cheap. Don't buy designer maternity clothing, even if you can afford it. It exists, yes, but sister, you're wearing this stuff for all of six months. I frequent Target and Motherhood. The prices are exceptional, the clothing normally on-trend, and the selection is large enough that if you shop often, you can cheaply stock up on the essentials with a few extra cute things thrown in.
6. The exception to the rule is a maternity swimsuit. Dear GOD don't buy a maternity swimsuit.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.