If you are finding yourself in this position, then this series of articles are for you! In it I go through my experience with maternity clothes in the hope that it will help you make the best decision. There are many different experiences with maternity clothes - when your baby is due and what the weather will be like when you are growing will have a big impact on your choices. If you have anything else you think would be of help to other women out there then please feel free to share your Splendid knowledge at the end of this article.
Maternity Bras (~8 weeks)
By 8 weeks I was already favoring bras softer bras with less padding and therefore a bit more room over those without. I was still making do with what I had but knew it wouldn't last for long. But I was very unsure about what to do. Exactly how big would I become? Maternity bras are expensive right? Do I really want to have to buy several different sizes of maternity bras? I couldn't help but think that second time mums are lucky they know exactly what is going to happen!
What put me into action was my 8 week appointment with my obstetrician. She told me it was now time to stop wearing underwire bras to prevent mastitis. All my bras had underwire so that meant it was time to go shopping. She also told me it was never too early to get a maternity fitting. Up until then I thought maternity bras were just for breast feeding women and assumed I'd just get some under-wire free bras in bigger sizes until the baby was born.
To be honest - a bra fitting put me off. They are only offered in stores where the bras are expensive and I'd never had one in my life. I didn't particularly feel like starting now. I was also still in the "I don't really feel pregnant and I'm not yet past the 12 week safe mark" stage. So I avoided that route and went to my local Kmart to see what their options were. To my great surprise I found that they had wireless maternity bras for between $8 and $10. Bargain! At that price I was happy to get a few and happy to come back if I needed a larger size in the future. I tried on an array of sizes. I found one that fit perfectly now - and then tried the next two cup sizes up as well. 2 cup sizes up felt like an apron and so I knew that wasn't an option for now. 1 cup size up felt fine so I went with that with the logic being that I would have a bit more growing room. Even if I didn't grow any more, I had read that when your milk comes in you do grow even more so I figured that cup size could potentially be perfect for then.
Once I got the bras home and washed and wore them, I found that they were perhaps a bit too big and creased a little bit underneath, but they still felt supportive and not too big. These maternity bras reminded me a bit of teenage bras - triangular shaped with little structure so they are more forgiving than your normal under-wire structured bra that either fits or doesn't. So you do have a bit more freedom in choosing sizes and getting away with one that is "too big".
Maternity Work Pants (~13 weeks)
One of the things that shocked me the most was how early I thought I started to show. I thought that everyone at work MUST know that I was pregnant. It turned out that they didn't - I had a desk job and most of the time my figure was tucked away behind a computer. But I knew I was changing. I knew only the fat pants were fitting and getting tight even though I wasn't yet 12 weeks. I very much thought that you wouldn't show at all before 12 weeks with your first pregnancy - and even then you would have a bit of leeway in not needing to tell anyone until some time after that. But in my experience, by 13 weeks, my fat work pants had thrown in the towel! On the weekend of my 13th week, I wore my work pants out as I wanted something a little more dressier than stretchy gym pants. All my other dressy pants had already stopped fitting. But even my fat work pants were feeling tight and constrictive. I straight away said that this was no good and headed straight to the nearest variety store to buy a pair of maternity work pants.
At the beginning of April I was right on the season changeover period. I'd been monitoring the shops in the weeks leading up and they still had Summer stock only. But I was in luck - there were now long work pants. I tried a couple of pairs on and it was clear which size I needed to purchase. If I needed a larger pair in the future that would have to wait. The relief was fantastic. The maternity pants felt soooo comfortable that I told everyone they should be wearing them normally! And for $25 it was well worth the investment!
Maternity tops (~17 weeks)
What you realize quickly is that stretch fabric is your new best friend. Items made out of stretchy material will still be doing the job for you when you have already put non-stretch shirts and pants to the back of your wardrobe. But by 17 weeks I started to find that my baby bump - even though it was comfy - was starting to show under my normal t-shirts. So if you aren't a fan of the bare belly look, then you will be needing to look for maternity tops from around now to give you the extra length to get over your baby bump.