When To Start Wearing Maternity Clothes


Maternity clothes are essential, yet numerous others consider them a waste of money. One way or another, every mommy-to-be has to buy and wear maternity clothes.

But the real question that bothers almost all pregnant women is when to start wearing maternity clothes. Well, speaking of my personal experience, here’s your quick answer;

Usually, the baby bump is visible in the 18th week. It is the right time when you should consider wearing maternity clothes. 


When it comes to bras and jeans, every mother has her own experience. The general rule of thumb is to start wearing a maternity bra when you start noticing a visible change in your breast size.

Even though this whole process seems quite simple, this is not the case. And even if you think you can still wear your old clothes during the pregnancy, let me assure you, you are not right and not alone.

When To Buy Maternity Clothes?

The best time to buy maternity clothes is at the end of the first trimester (12 weeks). Generally, at this time, you won’t feel a change in your body, and you can walk freely without feeling tired.

After 16 weeks, your bump will start increasing and be visible. It is the time when you won’t be able to fit into your regular clothes. 

Old loose clothes or hubby’s hoodie may come in handy for a few days, but in the end, you have to buy new maternity gowns, jeans, and a bra. 

5 Signs That Indicate You Need Maternity Clothes

Not every woman is the same. Some mothers might experience a big bump during the end of the first trimester, while some in their 18th week of pregnancy.

That’s why you must make your own decision. Here Are five common signs that indicate you need certain clothes.

  • You don’t feel comfortable in your old clothes, especially while sitting or lying.
  • You won’t be able to button up your shirt anymore.
  • The bra feels so tight and uncomfortable.
  • Old jeans and pants are not in perfect fitting anymore.
  • Belly bump starts to peek out from your shirt.

Commonly between the 14th to 20th week, every mother starts noticing these signs. So, in a nutshell, when your bump is too big for your old clothes, it is time for your new maternity gowns.

What Maternity Clothes Do I Need?

This is the first thought that comes to our mind when we even start thinking about maternity clothes. Well, here’s your complete guide about all the essentials;

1. Large Sized T-Shirts


Let’s say that your regular fit is a small size. Then it is best to opt for the large t-shirt size, as in the coming months, your belly will grow even more. 

Usually, when it comes to stretchy t-shirts, nothing is more comfortable. You can wear them all day and at any time.

2. A Pair Of Maternity Jeans


If you love to wear jeans, then you must find “mom jeans” asap. Don’t try to wear your regular uncomfortable jeans, as you can hurt both your baby and yourself.

While buying jeans or pants, prefer the starchy material. It is best to get a 4-inch large pair for the best fitting.

3. Cute Maxi Dress


A maxi dress is going to be your best friend during pregnancy. You can style it with several scarves and brooches. It is comfortable and perfect to wear during events.

The same rule applies here. If, typically, you wear the size 8, then to get the best value for money, buy a size 10 or 11. 

4. A Set Of Maternity Bra


During your motherhood journey, the first thing that will grow is your breast. And we women know how uncomfortable it is to wear tight bras. 

So, for proper breathing and comfy styling, get yourself a pair of new bras. If you normally wear 32C, now it’s time to go with 34D.

5. Get New Underwear And Leggings


Well, certainly, you can’t underestimate the importance of comfy underwear. If the clothes are cool and large, but the underwear is tight, you won’t be able to do daily chores properly.

Likewise, your legs will also experience a noticeable change. So, don’t forget to get a new pair of leggings too.

When To Wear Maternity Clothes?

Well, as mentioned earlier, the exact time depends on the changes you experience in your body. But normally, in the eighteen weeks (2nd trimester), the bump is visible. Have a quick look at the table for a better understanding;

Clothing ItemWhen To Start WearingHow Many
Maternity Bra12th WeekMinimum 4
Maxi / Frock12th to 16th Week6 – 10
Maternity JeansAfter 12th Week2 – 4
Loose UnderwearsAfter 16 Weeks7 – 10
Oversized T-Shirts12th to 14th Week10 – 12
Support BeltAfter 24 Weeks1 – 2 

The rule of thumb is to switch to maternity clothing when regular clothes are not properly fitting to you. If you’re comfortable in t-shirts rather than dresses, then you can adjust the numbers accordingly.

Is 14 Weeks Too Early For Maternity Clothes?


During the 14th week, the baby bump is growing but not visible. That’s why many women consider that the 14th week is too early to start wearing these clothes.

But certainly, at this time, you’ll notice that your old clothes are getting tight. So, even though it’s a bit early, you can wear them.

When Do Pants Start Getting Tight In Pregnancy?

During anywhere between the 4th to 5th month, your regular jeans or cotton pants will start getting tight. It is the time when you should consider getting maternity jeans.

What Size Maternity Clothes Should I Buy?

Luckily, there are several brands that have separate maternity clothing sizes. Thanks to this, now buying maternity clothes is easy. Suppose your regular size is 18, then during your pregnancy, you’ll need “maternity 18.”

But it is always best to measure manually. For a better understanding, have a quick look at the general maternity size chart.

Canada/US0 – 22 – 44 – 6 8 – 1012 – 1414 – 16
EU32 – 3434 – 36 36 – 3838 -40 40 – 4242 – 44
EU (Jeans)32’’ – 34’’38’’ 40’’42’’44’’
US (Jeans)24’’ – 25’’26’’ – 27’’28’’ – 29’’30’’31’’ – 32’’34’’
Bust32’’ – 34’’34’’ – 36’’36’ – 38’’40’’43’’ – 45’’45’’ – 47’’
HIP35’’ – 37’’37’’ – 39’’ 39’’ – 41’’43’’45’’48’’ – 50’’
Resource: LEVI US and Old Navy GAP
  • For T-shirts and maxis, it is best to try manually. The size of clothes may differ from store to store.
  • It is best to opt for jeans made of stretchy material for extra comfort. 

How To Choose A Maternity Bra?

The rule of thumb is to add one cup size and one back size to your usual bra size. In the first trimester, you won’t experience a change in your breast size, but in the third trimester, your size will change every week.

How To Choose Maternity Jeans Size?

Your maternity jeans size will be the same as your regular fit. All you need to do is buy “maternity size” rather than the “ regular size.” Several brands have separate collections for these special days.

Where To Find Maternity Clothes?


You can find maternity clothes from every major brand and store. Apart from them, you can also order from Amazon or any other marketplace.

Here’re your best options where you can find all the baby’s stuff;

  • Walmart (for general dresses)
  • Target (for pants, shirts, hoodies)
  • Booho (for party dresses and evening gowns)
  • Old Navy (for jeans)
  • Kohls (best for pajamas)
  • Shein (best for lingerie)
  • Bravado (best place for bras)

Apart from it, there are several well-known brands like H&M, ZARA, and Stitch Fix that also sell maternity clothes. You can also get customized stitching from a local vendor.

Does H&M Have Maternity Clothes In-Store?

Yes, h&m has a separate collection of maternity and nursing clothes available in stores. You can buy knitwear, jeans, or outerwear from there.

Does Zara Carry Maternity Clothes?

Yes, Zara carries maternity clothes, both available in stores and online. Mothers can buy oversized coats, shirts, skirts, and outerwear from there.

Wearing Maternity Clothes FAQs

What week do you start wearing maternity clothes?

Commonly, pregnant women start wearing loose or maternity clothes in the 18th week, mid of the 2nd trimester.

How to choose maternity clothes sizes?

Maternity clothes do come in separate sizes. In general, you’ll need a bit of a loose size compared to your regular fitting.

When to start wearing a maternity bra?

It is best to start wearing a maternity bra as soon as you notice a change in the size of your breast. Typically, your breast starts growing in the 14th week.

How much do maternity clothes cost?

It is expected that mothers spend over $500 during the pregnancy to buy clothes. You’ll spend most of the money during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

Wrapping It Up!

The journey of motherhood is like a roller coaster ride. From pregnancy food cravings to body aches, your body experiences a lot of changes, with the most visible change of growing bump.

Well, in the 18th week, the bump is peeking out from your regular clothes. Almost all mommy-to-be prefer wearing maternity gowns, a practical and comfortable choice.

Usually, all brands have a separate collection for both nursing and maternity clothes. But still, it is best to measure your fittings manually.
We hope that this article helps you to clear your confusion. Well, in the meantime, be happy and enjoy your journey from dates to diapers.

Sylvie White
Sylvie was born and raised in France. In 2010, she came to Newyork for studies and fell into the spell of central park. In 2018, she gave birth to beautiful twin daughters “Lilly and Rosa.” Having a degree in Early Childhood Education helps her a lot during nurturing. An experienced mommy on a mission to guide for the best.