When To Buy Maternity Clothes—Bump Up Your Style For Every Stage of Pregnancy

Oh, baby! Congratulations—you’re expecting. This is an exciting time filled with memorable milestones. From the positive pregnancy test to feeling the first flutter to the arrival of your new baby, there are so many moments to look forward to. Deciding when to buy maternity clothes will be different for everyone. Are you wondering when your right time to buy is? Get excited, we have options for you.

When to start wearing maternity clothes depends on how you carry, personal preferences and whether this is your first pregnancy. Some expectant mothers invest in maternity pieces as early as the first trimester. Others wait until the first sighting of a baby bump. Comfort and fit are the most important factors that influence when to buy maternity clothes. Above all, finding something that makes you look and feel good is what we’re all about. We’ll break down when and what you’ll need throughout your pregnancy to build a cohesive maternity wardrobe. After all, it’s time to feather your nest and get ready for your new addition.

Do You Need First Trimester Maternity Clothing? 

The first trimester is full of discovery, anticipation and lots of growing. Some moms choose to keep this joyous news private until after week 12. While it’s still possible to conceal your pregnancy, it may also be when to start buying maternity clothes. If this is your first pregnancy, you’ll likely be able to wear a lot of non-maternity clothing at this stage. If it’s not your first bundle of joy, your body has a remarkable memory and you may show earlier. Either way, the first trimester is all about pulling out comfy favorites and introducing maternity pieces into your wardrobe.

If you’re wondering when to start buying maternity clothes in your first trimester, remember it’s different for every parent-to-be. Anywhere from eight to 12 weeks is an excellent time to start with the basics. A high-quality, and perhaps larger bra, is an essential part of your maternity and postpartum wardrobe. Invest in stretchy knit layering tanks and tees. They’re anything but boring when dressed up with blazers, cardigans and on-trend shackets. They’ll look terrific layered under button-downs for the office and hoodies for working out. Round out your first-trimester maternity wardrobe with a mix of slouchy joggers and fitted leggings. These are investment pieces that you can wear now and after you welcome the baby.

Shhhh: Keeping Your Pregnancy Private During your First Trimester

Often, it’s mum’s the word on your pregnancy during these important first months. To camouflage any changes in your body, choose loose-fitting clothing that will effortlessly glide over your figure. Reach for soft knit tops, elastic or drawstring waist bottoms and dresses. Empire silhouettes will work wonders throughout your pregnancy. Embrace this style in the first trimester with tops and dresses. A fitted top cinched just below your bust allows for a flattering drape and flow. This trick will help to keep your secret in these delicate early months of pregnancy. You can decide when to wear maternity clothes when the time feels best for you.

Perfectly Professional Maternity Clothing Basics

When do you need maternity clothes for work? Lucky for you, workleisure is on the rise. This back-to-work trend transforms business casual into business comfort. Looking for a professional and polished outfit that’s meeting-ready? Opt for a mixed material blouse that easily combines the elegance of a woven fabric with a soft knit. It’s a winning combo for your changing body. Style with relaxed, elastic waist or drawstring pants and loafers. Draw the eye up and away from your belly with on-trend chain-link hoop earrings. 

When to Buy Second Trimester Maternity Clothing 

It’s time to spill your secret. The second trimester is a time where you go from barely showing to a beautiful pregnant stomach. While every pregnancy is different, this is when your little belly makes an appearance. Still thinking about when to start wearing maternity clothes? The second trimester is the perfect time to add maternity pieces to your rotation. This is the trimester where most moms-to-be feel their best. Step out with confidence and in style in these maternity denim essentials.

When you are ready to start buying maternity clothes, a pair of maternity jeans is worth the splurge. Trust us. You have a plethora of options from skinny, slim, straight, boyfriend and bootcut silhouettes in an array of washes. You can dress up your new pair of jeans to meet your business casual needs. For more coverage and support, select a pair with an over-the-bump panel. A full panel will work for you at every stage of your pregnancy. You can also fold this for an under-the-bump fit. However, if you prefer a pair that mimics your pre-pregnancy favorites, opt for a demi or one with side stretch panels. These are great for expecting people who want to tuck in their shirts. This pair will go the distance. You’ll reach for these jeans after the baby arrives, too. 

Another denim option sure to keep you comfy all pregnancy long is a pair of overalls. Maternity overalls have extra stretch at the sides so that you can wear them well into your third trimester. Style this with a fitted striped knit top and a pair of boots. This casual yet iconic outfit never goes out of style. The fitted top combined with the roomy fit of the overalls is a fashion do that will keep you laid-back. 

Third Trimester Maternity Necessities

While figuring out when to start wearing maternity clothes is different for every expectant mother, by the third trimester, it’s indispensable. This is also often the time during pregnancy when baby showers or babymoons appear on the calendar. Styling your changing body can be challenging, but these unforgettable moments are worth dressing up for.

The baby is growing a lot during these last few months, and your belly may be, too. This is the time to lean into maternity dresses that make a statement. Dresses during pregnancy offer style and elegance in an easy one-and-done outfit. Between shift, maxi and wrap dress silhouettes, you’ll have lots of styling options with a variety of prints and fabrications.

Wrap dresses are universally flattering, and especially on expectant women. They top our list when it’s time to start buying maternity clothes. The wrap tie adjusts with your growing baby belly, and the v-neckline is the perfect frame for an eye-catching double-layered necklace. This four-season wardrobe hero can take you to the office with an unbuttoned peplum blazer and mules. Or, sneak away for a dinner date to cherish quality time before the baby’s arrival. Opt for a classic little black wrap-dress and let your accessories shine. Wondering what the best accessories for a black dress are? Colorful stone-embellished necklaces and shoes with extra room. 

That’s right. Don’t forget to add shoes to the list. Think mules and strappy sandals. The rumor you may have heard about (feet growing during pregnancy) may be true after all. Your feet will thank you for the extra breathing room these shoe styles provide. Comfort is key at this stage of pregnancy.

When to Buy Postpartum and Nursing Maternity Clothing Faithfuls

Whew! You did it. Baby has arrived, and you’re home and adjusting to life with a newborn. Lots of eating and sleeping is in order for mother and bebé as you settle in and enjoy these precious moments. For recovering and relaxing, you may want to add a few postpartum must-haves to your wardrobe. Spend the first few months living in leggings, relaxed fit joggers and roomy tees and sweaters. Loungewear is still one of our most treasured and comfiest trends and is guaranteed to keep you in style.

Don’t forget about this important time when you are considering when to buy maternity clothes. You don’t have to wait until the baby arrives to stock up on these essentials. If you choose to nurse your baby, add nursing bras and tanks to your shopping list. Since you began layering way back in your first trimester, you’re a pro now. Stay fashionable, mama. Between cottagecore to cabincore, these styles are all about ease and coziness. Embrace these ethereal trends with flowy nap dresses (naps aren’t just for the baby) layered with soft grandpa cardigans. Nursing friendly and on-trend? Yes, please. 

How To Dress During Pregnancy Without Maternity Clothes

Still thinking about when to buy maternity clothes? Remember some choose to go the distance without. It’s possible to lean into soft and stretchy knits throughout your pregnancy. You can rock your tried-and-true T-shirts, sweaters, leggings, joggers, maxi skirts and dresses throughout your pregnancy. One vital thing to consider is that fabrics can stretch and may not return to their pre-pregnancy shape. Adding a few maternity staples to your closet will allow you to return to your favorites after the baby arrives.

Comb through your closet for maxi skirts. Their secret weapon, besides extreme comfort, is the waistband. It’s super versatile—place it below the bump, or opt to pull it up over like a full-belly band. Style a printed maxi skirt with a solid, ribbed tank and layer with a denim jacket. Accessorize with delicate layering necklaces, slip-on sneakers and this season’s must-have trend, pearl drop earrings

Coco Chanel famously said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.”

Accessories are your secret-style weapon throughout your pregnancy. From drop earrings that draw the eye to your beaming face to belts and sashes that highlight your beautiful bump. Coco Chanel famously said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” This may be the one time you can break that rule. Accessorize to your heart’s content. Go ahead and turn heads with opulent bags, scarves and jewelry.

Where To Donate Maternity Clothes

After all the time you’ve spent pondering when to start wearing maternity clothes, you’ll know when it’s time to donate. When you’re ready, make room in your closet and donate your maternity clothes to help mothers-to-be in need. Guidelines for donation vary by location, so it’s always a good idea to call ahead before contributing items. Charities and organizations like Goodwill, The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross accept clothing donations nationwide. Or, keep it local and give your maternity clothes to a women’s shelter in your area.

It’s also possible for busy parents to make a difference without leaving the house. With Give Back Box, all you need are the maternity clothes you want to donate and a recycled shipping box. Pack your box, print out a pre-paid label and select a charity. Give Back Box partners with many charitable organizations, including the Antinanco Support of Native American Nations. ​​This organization supports local and indigenous communities, and will distribute your maternity donations to those in need. Simply donating your gently used maternity items can make a huge difference for many, and continue the life cycle of your clothing—a win-win. 

Ready to add maternity styles to your wardrobe? Our style experts are ready to bump up your style for every stage. Take your style quiz and request a maternity Fix. Relax and receive five items that you can try comfortably at home. Shipping and returns are always free. 

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