When Should I Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

A few weeks ago, it happened. 

I went to button my coat up (we happen to live in one of those sub-zero polar vortexes right now, yay!) and my middle button popped off and flew across the room in an outright protest of being pulled against my growing belly. 

As my husband stifled a laugh, I shot a glaring look at him, and I also felt an overwhelming wave of disappointment at the loss of my button. Because, really, I wasn't that far along in my pregnancy. 

But my friends, like it or not, with this, my fourth pregnancy, and at only 15 weeks along, I have come to face the fact that almost none of my jeans fit me anymore. One by one, they have been banished to the storage boxes under my bed after I try them on in the morning with yet another exasperated sigh. Currently, I have exactly one pair of super-stretch jeans that I can pull off—aided with the help of my trusty hair tie around the button.

{ MORE: Finding the Perfect Pair of Maternity Pants }

And other than that?

It's a leggings-friendly world.  

I can admit that I've been having a hard time with admitting defeat in my ability to fit into “normal” clothes—mostly because with all three of my other pregnancies, I definitely didn't need maternity clothes until past 20 weeks. In fact, I wore a pair of jeans that I had to put away just this week to my third child's ultrasound! I feel ridiculous.

But the truth is, every pregnancy and every woman's body is different.

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Image via Flickr/ photosavvy

I could stand to lose a few pounds, it's true, but for the most part, I'm pretty average-sized. The combination of the effects of four pregnancies on my body with the fact that I'm extremely short-waisted means I usually get a huge belly when I'm pregnant, and this time around, it's obviously happening a little more quickly than my previous pregnancies. 

And yet, I still have this overwhelming desire to know am I normal? I can't help but wonder when I should start wearing maternity clothes—you know, for real.

{ MORE: Pregnant & Looking Great! }

Like most things in life, I took to Facebook to make myself feel better and asked a few other moms when they had to start wearing maternity clothes. 

Rachael Dow says she was between 8-10 weeks when she had to make the leap into using the infamous “belly band” to make her regular clothes work. But she took it all in stride and advises other women to do the same. “No biggie,” she says. “You ARE growing another human being, so don't be too hard on yourself!!!”

Melanie Vallely shared this: “If it makes you feel better, I was in maternity pants at 10 weeks with my FIRST because there was no way my normal pants would come close to fitting!”

And one popular maternity-clothing website offers this advice for expectant mothers-to-be: “By the end of the third month, you will most likely have gone through all of your clothing that was a little too big, and there will come a time when they too will be uncomfortable. Even if your clothing still fits in other areas such as in the legs and through your hips, your waistbands will be too tight, and your blouses may pull.”

Granted, I realize they are trying to sell maternity clothes, but still, three months? I am so there, baby!

In truth, though, I really just need to snap out of it. My body is doing what it is supposed to be doing when it's pregnant—growing—and I have nothing to be ashamed of. Other things (ahem) have gotten larger, not just my stomach, and it's perfectly reasonable for me to be comfortable rather than trying to jam into too-small clothing that will make me feel gross and cause me to long for my yoga pants all day. 

So, here's to a trip to the mall this weekend for new maternity clothes! Who's with me?

How far along were you when you started wearing maternity clothes? 

What do you think?

When Should I Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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12 comments

  1. Profile photo of hannah hannah says:

    I was 8 weeks with my son when I got my first pair of maternity pants and 6 weeks this time I got big fast!!!

  2. Profile photo of Jean Jean says:

    Every woman is different. I’m in my 27th wk tomorrow but am still wearing my regular jeans and clothes without any modifications. I’m not tall either..

  3. Profile photo of Amber Amber says:

    I was in maternity uniform at work at 4 weeks. I bloated out 2 pants sizes that quick. Its my first pregnancy. I am larger at the tummy, hips, and chest. Just hit 10 weeks and can’t wear any of my old jeans or bras. Yet I haven’t gained any weight yet. Saw my doctor and she wasn’t concerned so I felt better.

  4. Profile photo of Julie B Julie B says:

    I started wearing maternity clothes at 20 weeks (I’m expecting my first child). They are more comfortable than wearing regular clothes, although I do have a Bella band to wear with my normal jeans and work pants.

  5. Profile photo of Bridgett Bridgett says:

    I was about 14 weeks when I had to start wearing them. The question shouldn’t be when should you wear them. Because you should start wearing them when you can no longer fit in the normal clothes. That is different for everyone.

  6. Profile photo of Krystal Krystal says:

    I think I was about 15 weeks along. Mind you I’m still mostly wearing pajama pants & large t’s, our town doesn’t have a store that sells maternity clothes (though I did raid the local consignment store & got two pairs of pants). Mother-in-law bought me two belly-bands, a pair of jeans, and a tunic; cost nearly $100, and was the only stuff they had at Kohls.

  7. Profile photo of Mindi Mindi says:

    I put my jeans away just last month that i’ve been wearing since high school. I’m due in 2 weeks for my first. Everyone I know accounts for my lack of showing and lack of needing maternity clothes to the fact that I’m quite tall and have a long torso. With having put the jeans away so recently I decided that my sweats and scrubs paired with my husband’s sweatshirt is going to be enough for me and i won’t need to buy anything that actually is meant to be maternity

  8. Profile photo of TayAnn TayAnn says:

    There are these lovely maternity “belts” so you can wear your pre-pregnancy clothes, and not buy a whole wardrobe of maternity clothes! I know for a fact they are available at Target. I have yet to purchase mine, but I will be needing it VERY SOON! I’m 13 weeks and none of my pants fit! They run about $18!!!

  9. Profile photo of Heather Heather says:

    Well this go around I was 7 weeks. First time I was 12 weeks.

  10. Profile photo of Robert Robert says:

    I like to know how to push the baby out when the time comes

  11. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    I think I am about 16 weeks when I started to wear maternity dress – just for preference. I want to move comfortably and as light as possible. But husband bought me one a week after we knew I was pregnant!

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