I’m now 21 weeks, and this past weekend it was time to make the foray into maternity clothes shopping. At about 18 weeks, I could no longer comfortably button my pants, especially after I’d eaten. Thankfully, a friend had told me about a band you can buy that goes over the abdomen and top of your pants so that you can keep them unzipped. Great for the transition period when you’re starting to no longer fit your pants. I tend to wear dark slacks at work, so buying one in black was great. I’m sure there are many brands, but here’s a picture of the Bellaband:
The band I bought had a silicone strip along the top of it to help keep it up. Unfortunately, after the first day of wearing it, I ended up with an itchy horizontal line on my skin. Good thing is that I could easily turn it upside down and continue to use it without a problem.
The band lasted me for a few weeks, but now it was time to go to the next step and actually buy some maternity pants. One of my friends had passed along an email with advice from a fashionista friend. Turns out many of the common brands you’re already familiar with have maternity lines. Old Navy, Gap, Target, H&M, Ann Taylor LOFT, and J. Crew all have maternity lines. One friend had told me she liked J. Crew pants a lot for the second trimester. I think she said they had extra silicone lining inside, which helped keep them up. Well, given my experience with the silicone in the band and the prices of the J. Crew pants, I decided to check out some more affordable options first. Plus J. Crew is only available online.
Old Navy and Gap (part of the same company) have select stores where you can try on items. I had no idea there are several options of maternity pants:
The above is courtesy the Old Navy website (click to enlarge).
I ended up buying one of each between my trips to Old Navy and baby Gap. Each pair was about $35. So far I’ve worn each pair once.
The side panel has stretchy elastic just at the sides. I’m guessing this is probably better for the second trimester, but might not work as well when I’m farther along. I did find that they tend to sag more easily than I’m used to pre-pregnancy with regular pants. But this style looks the least like maternity pants, which is nice. In fact, I was thinking non-pregnant women might like them for comfort, or Thanksgiving meals- think Joey on Friends trying out Rachel’s maternity pants.
The low panel (Gap calls it demi) has a stretchy wide top that goes around the entire waist. Definitely very comfy, though I did find that when I sat down, particularly after eating, the top of the band would kind of dig in towards my stomach, which was slightly uncomfortable.
The full panel has a stretchy band that pulls all the way up the abdomen. This is what I’ve seen all of my patients wearing, since they have to bare their bellies for me to listen to the fetal heart tones. So this was the only option of maternity pants I was aware of till now. These also sag more easily than pre-pregnancy pants, but otherwise are very comfy. I tend to get hot easily, and with summer approaching, I do wonder if that’ll be an issue with the extra layer.
For now, it was really just the pants I needed. For now, looser tops will still work. Eventually I’ll need to buy tops that will be large enough to go over my pregnant belly. And I’ll also want to buy dresses and shorts for wearing when I’m outside of work.
Given the popularity of fitness wear as everyday wear like lululemon and the like, I wonder why manufacturers haven’t thought to incorporate these maternity options into regular wear- they would potentially make for very comfy pants. Or even for men- since men tend to show the waist band of their pants more than women (who can cover up with their top), maybe a variant of the side panel that has a discreet stretchy area of the waist band?