To Buy or Not To Buy? Is Maternity Wear Worth It?

Can a baby belly really cause much of a hinderance to your regular wardrobe?


When I first became pregnant I went back and forth on this issue. Are maternity clothes really a necessary purchase? Did I really need to spend the additional money on maternity clothing that I would only be wearing for a short period of time? Would my belly cause that much of a hindrance to my current wardrobe?

I asked some of friends what they did during pregnancy.  The answers varied based on what season they were pregnant, their activities during pregnancy and the different ways that their bodies grew.

My sister had her first baby at the end of December so she needed cooler weather clothing. Her massive belly meant that she wore her husband’s shirts and sported one pair of maternity jeans. A friend (who had her first baby in March) also purchased maternity jeans but only bought clothes she would wear again in one size up from her pre-pregnancy size. Another friend, who loves her gym time, bought one size up in her regular workout gear, allowing the extra stretch to take her through all nine months and beyond. She also bought maternity jeans.

Thankfully we live in a ‘flaunt your bump’ culture where fast fashion stores like Top Shop and H&M offer fashionable baby bump wear…for a price. These many trendy options gave me the confidence to wear ‘normal’ clothes that would highlight my bump and not drown me in fabric. That being said, based on my research, it seemed that maternity jeans may be necessary…but I wasn’t convinced. 

At first, I decided that there was no way I was going to purchase maternity clothes. With a September baby, I would simply spend the latter part of pregnancy in summer and I would wear bikinis and flowy sundresses. My mother-in-law recommended maternity jeans just in case. I declined. I wouldn’t need them. I bought some dresses with a bit of stretch (just in case) and waited for the sunshine. How big could I ACTUALLY get before summer?

As I headed into month three of my pregnancy I realized that it was still cold outside and my pants did not seem to want to zip up. I succumbed and bought my first piece of maternity wear: The bellyband. The bellyband is a piece of stretchy material that covers the top of your pants (where presumably your fly remains undone) and covers your growing tummy, hiding the obvious gap. I decided that this alone would get me through pregnancy.  My mother-in-law suggested maternity jeans again. I declined.

Along came month four, more cold weather, and the realization that I could only JUST zip up my winter coat. My pants would not zip up at all and due to the increasing size of my derrière (which I hadn’t accounted for), I was having trouble getting my pants on at all.  I remained in work out gear or PJ’s, which worked very well unless I had a client meeting or other general human contact.  My mother-in-law once again suggested maternity jeans. I declined.

Finally, I accepted the fact that I had some time before warm weather bikinis and summer dresses. Perhaps I needed a larger, more functional wardrobe to get me through springtime pregnancy and summer in the city. My mother-in-law recommended maternity jeans. I was still hesitant. I had promised myself I was not going to buy maternity clothing and my stubborn side wanted to see that through.

Luckily, I have a very thoughtful mother-in-law who saw two pairs on sale and bought them for me anyway. She also bought me a pair of maternity jean shorts (which I am wearing as I write this). If you’re reading this, mother-in-law, I have to let you know that you were right. These maternity jeans have changed my life for the better and I am so happy that I have them. They are versatile, comfortable and protect me from the lingering cooler temperatures. Most importantly, they will continue to grow with me throughout the remainder of my pregnancy.

(Yes, friends, you were also correct). I have not purchased any other maternity wear and continue to wear stretchy items in my current wardrobe.

My conclusion? A pair of maternity jeans is all the ‘official’ maternity-wear one needs to get through nine months of pregnancy. I may splurge on a fancy maternity dress for summer weddings but overall, I think I’m good. Ultimately, the decision is yours but take it from this naysayer, don that denim. 

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