Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Whether this is your first child or your third, there’s nothing quite like the experience of being pregnant and giving birth. During your lifetime, you’ll experience lots of amazing things, but growing a tiny human inside of you is definitely a unique and thrilling adventure. As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll encounter obstacles, challenges, hormonal mood swings, and so much more. But you’ll also experience the amazing gift of bringing life into the world and all the joy that comes with it. There’s lots to look forward to, lots of planning and preparation to do, and lots of things you need to get crossed off your list before your little one arrives. Once you’re done freaking out and celebrating, pick up the phone and call your doctor, nurse practitioner, or midwife (whomever you plan to see throughout your pregnancy) and make an appointment. It’s time to begin your prenatal care!
Keeping yourself healthy and happy during your pregnancy should be your number one priority – what goes into your body also goes into your baby. The first thing you think of is food, but there’s so much more. Even the lotion you use, the medicine you take, and the chemicals in your hair dye might need to be altered. Everything you eat and everything your skin absorbs isn’t just about you anymore; you’re taking care of two people now! While it’s important to take that into consideration, it’s also important to keep mom happy. Happy mom = happy baby. Pregnancy is not about sacrificing yourself, but is instead about gaining another life and the excitement that comes along with it.
To start off, maintaining a healthy diet and ingesting vital nutrients (like folic acid) are key to supporting you and your growing bump. You should begin taking prenatal vitamins as soon as possible. One of the first things your baby develops is the neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord. This means that you should start a healthy diet full of all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs right from the get go. Eating healthy diet is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy pregnancy, but there are other things you should (or shouldn’t do) during your pregnancy:
Top Do’s and Don’t’s of Pregnancy:
In addition, being pregnant can be royally confusing , especially if this is your first child. How do you know what ache or pain is normal and which isn’t? Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommendation is if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should call your doctor:
- Contractions at 20 minute intervals or less,
- Dizziness or fainting,
- Pain of any kind,
- Heart palpitations,
- Trouble walking and swelling of your joints (edema),
- Strong cramps,
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid,
- Shortness of breath,
- Constant nausea and vomiting, or
- Noticeable decrease in baby’s activity.
While all of these are great tips for a healthy pregnancy, there are two main points: stay healthy and happy. Exercise, maintain a healthy diet, get lots of rest, and start preparing for your little bundle of joy!
As your pregnancy progesses, you’ll find that each trimester brings many new challenges and feelings. But you’ll also encounter unique fashion challenges as your bump grows. Clothes that fit great will slowly become increasingly indecent and showing off your curves becomes secondary to keeping your belly under your shirt. There’s no reason to buy an entire new wardrobe, especially if you can’t afford it. Broken down by trimester, here are the top tips for how to surpass and conquer the major trials and tribulations of maternity clothing and staying comfortable in the skin you’re in.
- 1st Trimester
- 2nd Trimester
- 3rd Trimester
Hide your little bump. When you first get pregnant, you’ll want to scream it from the mountain tops, but once the excitement dies down, you might reconsider. Lots of moms keep their pregnancy under wraps until the second trimester when the risk of miscarriage decreases and the baby has settled in more.
Tight clothing will just make you look like you’ve gained a few pounds so instead, opt for loose fitting clothing that flows over your waist and belly instead of highlighting it. Don’t over do it though, as overly baggy clothes will make you feel frumpy and unstylish.
You’re not quite ready for maternity clothes.
- Go through your pre-pregnancy clothing and set aside the following: any tops that are too long (these will be perfect for covering up your belly); any tops with spandex or Lycra (they’ll stretch to accommodate your stomach); bottoms with a stretchy waistband like yoga pants, leggings, skirts; cardigans, jackets, blazers, and vests.
- Buy yourself a belly band. These affordable little accessories will keep you in your favorite pre-pregnancy pants longer by expanding the waistband of your jeans.
Tight clothes make you look like you’ve gained weight but loose clothes make you feel frumpy.
Don’t wear tight clothing and don’t wear a tent either. This phase is about finding a balance between complimenting your larger midsection with flowy shirts and tanks. Wearing something too big will just make you look bigger and wearing tight clothing will make you look like you’ve gained weight.
As your bump starts to grow significantly, you are outgrowing clothes weekly.
When shopping for maternity clothing, look for clothes that will grow with you. Keep any eye out for clothes with ruching, wraps, tie backs, and buttons that will adjust and increase in size as you belly expands too.
Your boobs are busting out.
If you haven’t already, this is the time to invest in some new bras. Not only will your cup size increase, but your band size might too. Make your purchases last longer by looking at nursing bras that you can wear and use postpartum.
The bump is in full swing; which means nothing fits and by this point you’re probably frustrated trying to make things fit.
Time to break out the cute, curve hugging, bump showing shirts and dresses that show off your maternity glow in all its glory. Go for clothes that accentuate your bump like colors, stripes, tops with ruched sides, and more! Get creative with your pre-pregnancy cardigans and pair them with a few maternity tops. Moms recommend trying an Empire-waisted Maxi dress, which is super easy to put on and wear, plus it shows off your bump!
You’re so close to the end, but you’re also so tired of your current wardrobe.
Don’t waste money buying more clothes. Instead spend money on items that will continue to be useful postpartum like nursing bras and comfortable new shoes. A lot of moms experience a jump in shoe size during pregnancy and some feet stay that way even after the baby is born. Tip: pick something without laces or buckles so they’re easier to put on.
Tips from other Moms
- Splurge on one good pair of maternity jeans. They’ll end up costing you about $100-200+, but you can wear them all the time and they can be a major wardrobe saver. “For my last pregnancy, I bought one awesome pair for $175 and wore them constantly. I just matched them with different tops every day, and no one was the wiser. In fact, I wore them so often they got a hole in the butt in my last week of pregnancy!“
- Buy a maternity belt. A maternity belt is different from a belly band in that it offers support for your growing tummy. It can be worn under or on top of your clothes, and can provide some much needed relief from lower back pain, round ligament pain, and so much more. Plus, some do double duty and also can work as a belly band at the same time. Don’t know the difference between the two? Read this article that compares belly band versus maternity belt. “.. It’s really helped give me the bit of support I needed for this last month of pregnancy. My rounded ligaments and lower back were killing me! It helps me get through the day and trying to do normal things.”
- Find your favorites. Instead of spending a fortune on a whole new wardrobe that’s only going to get a few months of wear, pick out a handful of tops that you can mix and match with cardigans and sweaters from your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. “A few t-shirts and tanks in different colors, maybe with ruching on the sides.”
- Don’t go big. The easy thing to go is to browse your local store and pick out a bunch of clothes that are too big for you and hope they work out. However, wearing bigger clothes doesn’t necessarily mean better. Baggy, over-sized clothes will make you look and feel frumpy and make you look bigger. If you can grow a human, you can rock some maternity clothing too. “Instead, slim down your silhouette and emphasize the features that aren’t expanding with snug-sleeved tops, skinnier pants, and button-down shirts or blazers (from your pre-pregnancy wardrobe) left unbuttoned.”
- Pick colorful. Don’t limit yourself to dark and/or neutral tones; add a pop of color whether that be a cardigan or a fun dress that shows off your bump too! “Don’t limit yourself to black and neutral tones — color is an essential part of the modern maternity closet. You’ll feel happier when you’re wearing clothes that aren’t drab.”