Pregnancy Hacks: The best affordable, comfortable and supportive clothes

By April Wallace

There’s no shortage of maternity clothing lines out there. As soon as you do a Google search for baby name lists or buy a single baby product, your social media advertisements and email promotions inbox will be full of them.

I found it fun during my first pregnancy to periodically stock up on new outfits and pretty dresses, but it didn’t take long to realize that the options in size and style were fairly limited for what I wanted to spend. And soon enough I preferred to instead use my cash on nursery items and baby clothes.

The best comfy clothing solution I found in my first pregnancy was to switch to nursing bras as soon as possible. At first I did it because a breastfeeding class at Washington Regional enlightened me. Bras with underwires limit your breastmilk production, and your body starts making milk in the second trimester of pregnancy. The upside was that nursing bras felt much better to my ever-growing, tender bust.

I was less excited about having to alter my wardrobe this time. Not only is it costly, but I realized that I could probably fly under strangers’ pregnancy radar longer if I didn’t wear exclusively maternity clothes. Anything that staves off unwelcome belly touches is the way to go for me.

This time around, I’ve done many things differently. During the early months, I started by buying bigger sizes in normal, non-maternity-specific clothing. Not only did it help me feel more comfortable to just wear an ordinary t-shirt and shorts, or a long cardigan and jeans, but once I reach the postpartum stage, I won’t have to do even more clothes shopping for the next in-between stage.

Maxi dresses are a particularly great purchase for this kind of multiple stage wardrobe, since they can be casual and cute, dressed up easily, not constricting and often easily stretched. Some of my favorite things to wear during pregnancy are these versatile little numbers made by companies without maternity lines.

Some items, like maternity jeans and leggings, are staples difficult to live without, but I’ve found that there are workarounds for many other items.

Purchasing less maternity clothing overall this time has allowed me to use my precious dollars for fewer but more expensive, quality items that keep me comfortable.

It wasn’t until the third trimester of my first pregnancy that I realized the magical benefits of support wear. My sister-in-law gave a hand-me-down support shirt that I could wear under my clothes or by itself while heading to bed, and it made a huge difference in the way I felt by alleviating some of the belly weight. I searched for more things like it and found good brands, but didn’t want to pay the high prices for something I would likely only use for a couple more months or less.

This time, I started earlier because I knew how much I would use the support wear throughout the course of pregnancy.

My favorite and most practical purchase has been a pair of black maternity leggings with full belly support by the brand Blanqi girls. They are costly, $64 for one pair, but they have seriously been worth every penny. I don’t have to wear an extra shirt to support the belly, and I can just wear the leggings with whatever outfit I want that day. They have a nice classic look that fits well in just about any outfit and environment you wear them in.

Because they apply a gentle pressure to the belly and have a non-constricting waistline, I usually wear these at some point of each day, even if it’s for a couple hours at the end of the night.

My next best purchase was to find maternity underwear. They dip lower in front to avoid rubbing on your round, growing belly and are a little higher in the back so you don’t have to constantly adjust them within the high-waisted pants you’re likely wearing. A quick Amazon search gives you plenty of options. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much more comfortable I’ve been by using such a cheap and simple solution.

What’s your best pregnancy hack when it comes to comfy — or supportive — clothes? Let me know in comments!

April Wallace is a stepmom to one smart, funny teenager, mama to a beautiful and curious baby and wife to a very kind and generous man. She spent the past decade as a news reporter, sometimes lifestyle writer, and recently left her job at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to be with her baby while he’s still a baby. When she gets a few minutes to herself, April loves to run local trails and read fiction.