Pregnancy and pragmatism sound like mutually exclusive concepts, am I right? Hormones, all the fun things that come with that, sigh. I’ve managed to go through my own pregnancy (6 months so far) with a pretty small list of things I’ve purchased outside of clothing, and have been very picky and selective about how to go about getting nice clothing.
The picture is of me at 18 weeks. Things have grown quite a bit since!
For those of you looking to get pregnant, newly pregnant, or part way through, I’ve got a few tips on how to keep it frugal and how to know what you’ll need, and some steps to take to make sure you don’t go overboard on a new wardrobe/essentials.
- Budget before you buy. This is 100% dependent on your life situation. You won’t need a totally new wardrobe, either.
- Your pre-pregnancy size still applies at the store; you likely won’t need to go bigger. At least, that’s what all the store attendants tell me. You bought medium shirts before, just keep on buying medium maternity shirts.
- Buy the basics, don’t go nuts on your first round at the store. I bought a few black and white shirts from Thyme, and scoured their sale rack when I was in there. I don’t work an office job at the moment, but I’ve only needed 2 pairs of pants (both jeans). You won’t need maternity clothes until about week 10 or later. I started to get uncomfortable at week 10 / 11. I did a second round of shopping at around 18 weeks, and will still look in thrift shops for clothes. People won’t notice you’re wearing the same stuff over and over.
- You can still wear your sweaters, flowy dresses, and tunics that are already in your closet! Don’t listen to the lies that are maternity sweaters, unless they’re pullover sweaters. Cardigans and the like are going to keep on fitting just fine. I’m at about 26 weeks and any shirt that was slightly long is fitting perfectly fine.
- If you’re thrifting for clothes…just know two things. The first, that the maternity clothing section is tiny and will be slim pickings. I look at local Buy and Sell pages, like Varage Sale, for individual maternity pieces that aren’t worn or used. The second, that maternity clothes will be worn out like crazy because most women will go the frugal route and buy the basics, then donate the clothes after they’ve been worn for 9+ months. However, if you do messy work or need clothes that you can trash, this is a good place to look. I work with a lot of bleach, so-o I wear my crappy $6 thrift store jeans when I’m in my basement lab.
- Remember that in most cases, your pre-pregnancy clothes will likely fit you after. Don’t go donating them! In cases where people gain too much weight and don’t ever lose it, you can ignore this piece of advice.
- Bras. Bras bras bras. I should do a separate post on just bras. Watch for it! While you’re pregnant, expect to go up 2-4 cup sizes through your pregnancy. Since you’ll keep going up in size, buy something with a little extra room in the cups. I’m of the unfortunate people that have a tiny band size and massive cups. Pre-pregnancy, I was wearing a 30 F or G, which is like a DDD or DDDD. Victoria’s Secret and La Senza obviously don’t carry my size (all their band sizes start at 32, and their cup sizes and band sizes go up in proportion to each other), so I’ve been frequenting the local lingerie stores with properly proportioned sizes for the last decade. You’ll also likely deflate the same way you went up, but having 1-2 bras in each cup size is handy as you increase and decrease (I’ve not experienced the decreasing yet). Another upside to going to your local lingerie store that isn’t a giant corporation: they’ll often do alterations in-store (that’s right, they can make your regular bra a nursing bra for $15, and sew that underwire that popped out back in), and provide you with band extenders if your band size increases quite a bit but your cup size stays the same. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by how AMAZING their bras fit. Your bras will also last a lot longer; I have some that I still use from 2008 because the quality is boss, and I’ve been instructed to hand wash and hang dry only. Just a few reasons why I haven’t gone back to a “big box” bra store in a decade. Do expect to pay triple what you pay at a big box bra store, though, and remember it’ll last 5 times as long as your mass manufactured bra. So with respect to the bra department: treat yourself. Having a comfortable bra (especially if you’re busty) will change your world, and your back will thank you, preggers or not. The local place I frequent also has a great loyalty program. There are perks! No pun intended.
- The Snoogle / body pillow situation. You’ll want one. Sticking a pillow between your legs isn’t the same, and if you’re not already a side sleeper, this pillow will help you get comfortable. New, a Snoogle retails for about $80. I purchased mine used from Varage Sale for $25. It came with two removable covers that you can machine wash. I’m not grossed out by using an old pillow that had a second cover.
- The Winter Jacket Situation. Really, don’t buy a new one. There are extenders you can pop into your jacket that cost a fraction of a new maternity jacket, and you’ll stay warmer (living in the prairies, we have nasty winters). And! The extenders work for after you have baby: you can strap the baby onto you, then zip them into your jacket. Amazing, right?
- Don’t buy new shoes if you can help it. It’s not the time. Your feet may expand, swell, etc, and your regular shoe size isn’t going to work well. Slip-on shoes and sandals are great for the summer, and for the winter…well second-hand shoes that are slightly larger will likely do you well.
What are your tips on having a pragmatic and frugal pregnancy?