Options for Maternity Clothing

Shopping for maternity wear can be a daunting task. Depending on where you live, the choices for maternity fashions can be pretty slim. Maternity wear tends to come mostly in “average” sizes, so finding maternity wear when you are short, tall, or plus size can be difficult.

Even if your options are minimal, it doesn't mean you have to look frumpy during your entire pregnancy. With a little searching and creativity, you can find fashions that work well for your growing belly.

Options for maternity wear vary widely from season to season. I have gone searching for maternity wear during three pregnancies, each only 2 years apart, and I can tell you that the selection and availability of maternity fashions during each pregnancy was very different.

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Maternity Stores in Your Area

The easiest way to find the best maternity outlets in your area is to ask women who have recently been pregnant. They can give you the inside scoop on where they went shopping for maternity clothes and where they found the best selection. You can also do a search online or in the yellow pages for specialty maternity shops.

Department stores sometimes carry the most popular maternity fashions, though their selection is often limited. Even so, it's worth it to go to the mall and have a look around. Quality thrift stores can be hit or miss, but are also worth a look.

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Special Maternity Sizes

Special sizes such as tall and plus size maternity clothes are becoming more available, both in department stores and maternity stores.

If you are less of a “mainstream” size, you may need to shop at several stores in order to piece together your wardrobe. For instance, you could buy pants at one store and shirts at another.

Online Maternity Shopping

If you can't find the selection you are looking for in the store, try searching online; A wider size and color selection may be available.

You can also search for online stores that have no physical store in your area or are online only; Just make sure you order the right size or that you read over their return policy carefully.

Adapting Non-Maternity Clothes

Don't limit yourself to the maternity department; There are plenty of fashions that can fit your pregnant figure in the regular clothing departments.

Try on some clothing that is a couple of sizes bigger than your non-pregnant clothing size, and keep your eyes out for tunics, longer shirt styles, and elastic waist pants.

Maternity Clothing “Helpers”

Several new pieces of clothing have come on the scene such as the Belly Band, an elastic band of fabric that is used by pregnant women to hold up loose maternity clothing or give the appearance of an undershirt for clothing that is becoming too short.

These clothing modifiers can also be used after pregnancy for postpartum clothing and coverage while breastfeeding.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS