Few of us rush to buy ten new outfits when we hear we are pregnant, but many of us enjoy buying the odd item to add to our wardrobe so that we're not just reliant on our worn out baggies for the last four months of pregnancy!
Buying maternity gear
|JoJo Maman Bebe Indigo Boyfriend Cut Jeans (£29) & Lace Trim Camisole Top (£21)|
It is unlikely that your body will change much before 16 to 20 weeks, though some women start to see a change in their boobs. If you're thinking about buying a maternity bra, bear in mind that some companies make good maternity bras which can be used for feeding too, which saves you buying another set of underwear once your baby arrives. (See our Buyer's Guide to Maternity Bras.)
Also, many women like to buy things which will be useful either in the early months after the birth, when they may want to wear clothes which are more forgiving to their shape rather than slipping straight back into their skinny-fit outfits. In this case, buy machine washable maternitywear because baby milk, wee and sick WILL be a reality!
The other thing to bear in mind, is possibly buying useful separates that you can enjoy as part of your normal clothes collection long after your baby is born. Many outfits and styles now are completely contemporary - gone are the days of 'sailor-collar style' horrors for expectant ladies!
Good online companies and stores
There are lots of great maternitywear companies around now, and for some of these, giving women glamour during pregnancy is the priority. Thus, the clothes still have designer prices, or at least top-end prices of £100-plus for special dresses, work suits and coats.
However, there are plenty of companies who understand that looking good does not have to cost the earth. Established brands like Mothercare do stylish ranges like their Moda series. These include a series of versatile black separates.
Jojo Maman Bebe have a wide range of maternity outfits which includes a gorgeous £75 silk dress for a very special occasion, but also lots of pretty, smart dresses for leisure, work or special events, which range from £25 to £40. Jojo also do great everyday basics for less than a tenner. Blooming Marvellous have some good options under £30 too.
|Next Indian Print Tankini Top (£15) & Indian Print High Leg Briefs (£10)|
La Redoute who are a mail order company from France, have a limited maternity range but it's all good, stylish stuff, and nothing costs more than £30, with lots under £15.
As for the high street chains, Topshop can always be counted on for cool clothes at cooler prices. Their maternity range includes some great shapes in tunics and leggings from £12, with some groovy dresses at £20, rising to the height of funkydom for a reasonable £40.
Warehouse offer a similar range from £15. Some of their tops in this price-bracket give you a splash of glitz and fun rather than just practicality.
Next also do some lovely tops and swimsuits from £10, but will stretch upwards if you are looking for something special under £35.
For many women, they can live with wearing a baggy top or looser fit skirts, but not being able to get into their jeans during pregnancy is the real killer.
There are some amazing international designers on the market, but if you're looking for something practical, both Next and La Redoute do a pair of maternity jeans for just £20.
Elsewhere, expect to pay £30 to £40 for jeans, and beyond that, we're talking footballer WAGs prices!
The great thing about secondhand maternitywear is that it's rarely been worn for that long, if at all. You'd be amazed how many women rush out to buy things before they know how big their bottom, bump and/or boobs are going to get.
And don't worry - women don't wear these things in the labour room, so the garments haven't been through too much!
There's a great company called The Maternity Exchange where you can find everything from casualwear to posh dresses, all easy to browse by size and price. Often you might find something that was going for £50-£80 that is selling for as little as £5 unused, and everything has a photo with it. You can also sell your own clothes on the site, which is certainly worth bearing in mind after the birth.