A few years ago, it was almost impossible to find plus size maternity clothes that did not resemble circus tents or made the woman resemble an oversized adolescent. However, today's marketplace offers a wide variety of plus size maternity clothes, provided you know where to find them.
Plus Sized Maternity and Weight Gain
On average, a pregnant woman carrying a single fetus can expect to gain around twenty-five pounds over the term of her pregnancy; however, women who wear a size 22 or larger may be less apt to gain as much weight during a healthy pregnancy. She may put on as little as fifteen additional pounds. Additionally, what weight she does gain may not be as noticeable, either in appearance or in the fit of her clothes, as it would in a smaller woman.
Are Maternity Clothes Necessary?
A plus-sized woman who already wears stretchy and loose clothes may be wondering if she can just make do with the clothes she already has. The best plan is to take it a week at a time. It is quite possible you can wear the clothes you already own until the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy. Then you may need to invest in a few few select pieces of plus-size maternity clothes to tide you over until you deliver your baby. If you wear size 28 or larger, you may not need maternity clothes at all. Instead, you might find that you can wear loose-fitting, trapeze, and empire-styled non-maternity clothes in a size or two larger than your pre-pregnancy size.
Simple Maternity Sportwear from Men's Wear
Surprising as it may be, men's wear offers some great alternatives to expensive maternity wear for plus-size women. Over-sized T-shirts are great for wearing over stretch pants or as night shirts. Men's sweatsuits often come with drawstring waistlines that let you expand a bit. The longer length allows you to snip the elastic legs and still have plenty of leg room.
Sizing Maternity Clothing
If you want to shop ahead, you probably want to know what size maternity clothes to buy that will still fit you up until you deliver your baby. As a general rule, when purchasing plus-size maternity clothes, buy clothing in the same size as you wore prior to pregnancy. Maternity clothes are designed to be extra roomy or to stretch as you grow bigger. You will find tops that often come with ties in the back, which allow you to adjust the amount of room available for your growing bump. Many pants feature stretch bands across the stomach or adjustable fasteners, which can be let out as your baby grows.
Finding Plus Size Maternity Clothes
Fifteen years ago, plus-size maternity clothing was almost non-existent. Today, many department and specialty stores carry a line of plus-size maternity clothing up to a size 22 or 24. If you need a larger size or if you are looking for a wider selection of styles, you should consider online shopping:
- Kohl's: You'll find casual wear, dresses, sleep wear and more in sizes up to 3X.
- Plus Size Motherhood Maternity: This retailer has both causal and dressy maternity clothes up to size 3X.
If you are looking for low prices, here are a few choices:
- Target: Carries maternity clothes up to XX-Large.
- Old Navy: This story carries relatively inexpensive tops, bottoms and dresses in sizes up to XXL.
If you are looking for more trendy styles, these stores offer many options:
- Mommylicious Maternity: Carries fashionable plus-size maternity clothing at reasonable prices.
- Destination Maternity: This store is a combination of Motherhood Maternity and A Pea In a Pod.
Some websites help you find bargains on plus size maternity clothes. Karen's Maternity is one website that lists online coupons for plus size maternity wear.
Affordable Maternity Wear
If you are unable to afford expensive specialty shop maternity clothes, there are plenty of other options. If you are a plus-sized lady, you are probably already accustomed to dressing for comfort while retaining your own sense of style. Your closet may already hold many items that will help you get through at least the first months of your pregnancy, including:
- Stretch denim pants
- Roomy shirts
- Baby doll tops
- Pants and skirts with elastic or drawstring waistbands
- Dresses with no waist or an empire-cut waist
These clothes will give you the room you need to remain comfortable as your abdomen grows firmer and you gain the extra weight that goes with a healthy pregnancy.
When your existing wardrobe no longer fits, consider purchasing clothes a size or two larger or supplement your wardrobe with clothes from the men's big and tall department. If you or a friend or family member is skilled as a seamstress, consider making some of your own maternity clothes. Patterns are available and fabric selections are extensive. Check with similarly-sized friends or family members to see if they have plus sized maternity clothing you can borrow. Last, do not forget to seek out consignment shops, thrift stores, and online auction options.
When you are purchasing your clothing, also consider if you will be able to use some of the items while you are nursing if you choose to do so. Selecting bras that can convert or tops that have an easier access will give you some options after the birth of your baby and it may also save you some money.