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It's Time To Shop For Maternity Clothes

If you're pregnant, you may be excited about the prospect of buying a maternity wardrobe. Or maybe the thought of having to buy a whole new wardrobe is disconcerting. Either way, you’'ll need maternity clothes sooner or later. Here's how to ease into the process.

One of the first things you’'ll notice at the start of your pregnancy is that your breasts will become tender and you may begin to feel bloated. Many women find the first change they need to make in terms of maternity clothing is to stop wearing underwire bras, and stop wearing clothing that’s tight around the waist. You may also need to purchase increasingly larger bras as your pregnancy moves forward. Be sure to choose a bra that provides good support and doesn’t compress your breast tissue. Some women also find it more comfortable to sleep in a bra while they’re pregnant.

Other than that, your regular clothing – especially anything you own that’s loose and not tightly fitted – will work for several months. Most women find they don’t need maternity clothing until the beginning of their second trimester when their tummies begin to show. Some women like to buy regular clothing in a larger size as they begin to show. Maternity leggings or yoga pants worm with oversize shirts are a comfortable weekend choice, and a “Tummy Tube” can help you transition between regular and maternity clothing.

You have several options when it comes time for maternity clothes, most of which have to do with your personal style. You can choose classic clothing that lightly skims the curves of your new figure, or you can choose clothing that snugly hugs your curves and flaunts your new figure. Or you can choose a little bit of both, although the present trend is to flaunt your baby bump.

When you’re buying maternity clothing, choose your pre-pregnancy size – maternity clothing is designed to allow for your growing breasts, tummy and bottom. Look for pieces that coordinate so that you can get the most wear from your clothes and the best value for your money. You’ll also want to choose pieces for work, as well as casual wear. You’ll need new underwear and something to sleep in. If the weather is cool, you may need sweaters or even a coat. If the weather is warm, you may want a swimsuit – in fact, regardless of the weather, you may want a swimsuit anyways, as swimming is good exercise for expectant mothers.

When you’re planning your wardrobe, keep in mind that you also need to purchase new shoes. Most women's feet increase about one shoe size while they’re pregnant. For some women, this change is permanent. You might want to consider slip-ons, as you’ll eventually have trouble reaching your feet. Choose low heels – 2 inches max – to accommodate your changing sense of balance. Expect additional swelling during the last few weeks of pregnancy in your feet and legs. Consequently, hosiery should be chosen that isn’t tight and doesn’t restrict circulation.

Toward the end of your pregnancy – a few weeks before your baby is born – it will be time to plan for breastfeeding. You’ll need to be fitted for a nursing bra, and you may want to have a few nursing tops on hand. Once you get the hang of nursing, you’ll find it easy to just pull up a regular top and allow your baby to nurse, and a sling or a blanket tossed over your shoulder can provide you with all the privacy you need. However, when you’re first getting started, you may find specialty nursing garments to be helpful.

When you pack to go to the hospital, plan to return home in your maternity clothes. It can take up to 6 to 8 weeks for your uterus to return to normal size. Until you get back to your pre-baby weight, your maternity clothes can help you comfortably transition back to normal clothing.

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