The moment you become pregnant, life changes forever. Many of those changes will happen to your body as it prepares to create and support the little life inside you. It’s a miraculous, overwhelming task that can take its toll during and after pregnancy.
The good news is there are things you can wear to help give your body the comfort and support it needs. Here are a few items of clothing to stock up on while you’re pregnant.
Few women realize when they become pregnant their body produces up to 50% more blood. The increase in fluids can lead to swelling (edema), aching and general discomfort. While you can’t decrease the blood volume, you can wear certain types of clothing to minimize the effects of edema.
Compression products for women are designed to help improve circulation and ease soreness without creating additional discomfort. Today, there are a variety of products to choose from including, socks, hosiery, and shapers that provide support around your stomach. These same compression garments also come in handy after birth when postpartum edema can become a problem.
Breathable Gym and Yoga Gear
Even though your energy may get zapped (after all your body is working overtime to create another human being) it’s important to stay physically active during pregnancy. That’s a lot easier to do if you have comfortable workout gear.
Maternity gym and yoga wear is made to hug your growing curves without being too tight. Look for clothing that’s made with moisture-wicking, breathable material so that your skin doesn’t get aggravated. Another thing to keep in mind is that later in pregnancy your belly button can stick out creating a friction point. Opt for yoga pants that hit below the belly button to avoid any problems.
Supportive Shoes in a Half Size Larger
If you’re well into your pregnancy and wondering why your feet seem to be larger, it’s not your mind playing tricks on you. As a result of the added weight, hormones and the body’s natural response to pregnancy, many women experience changes in their feet. On average they’ll get a half size larger than they were before, and they’ll probably stay that way permanently.
Fortunately, not every woman experiences this change, and there are ways to avoid it. For starters, experts suggest that pregnant women wear comfortable shoes that support the arches and aren’t too tight. It may be necessary to buy a few pairs of sneakers in a half size larger to accommodate for the increased size. Compression socks (noted above) can also help reduce swelling.
Since milk can begin to form before birth, breastfeeding bras are a good purchase during your third trimester. You may notice your breasts beginning to increase in size around week seven or eight. From that point on they will continue to grow, particularly when you get closer to your delivery date. You’ll need new brassieres because breasts grow 1-2 cup sizes on average so it makes sense to go ahead and get a few breastfeeding bras.
It may be worth the extra money to get fitted for breastfeeding bras at a specialty store. Breastfeeding bras work to support your body, but they can only do so much if they don’t fit properly. They also serve a functional purpose so the easier it is to use the more comfortable a breastfeeding bra will be.
Loose, Flowy Clothes
There are three very good reasons to purchase flowing maxi dresses and other loose clothing during pregnancy. 1.) Your body feels warmer during pregnancy due to the increased blood flow and loose clothing is cooler. 2.) Loose clothing is less likely to irritate your sensitive skin since there’s less friction. 3.) Flowy, loose clothing will still fit after delivery and help to conceal the postpartum bump.
For many women, reason number two is the most important. There are a variety of skin problems associated with pregnancy. The most common is pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). PUPPP causes itchy bumps and hives to form on the skin around the stomach, buttocks, back, breasts and arms. Tight clothing will exasperate the problem and make it worse whereas loose clothing gives your skin room to breathe.
When it gets closer to the end of your pregnancy and you’re just not comfortable anymore, you might be interested in this post about perineal massage and how it can help you!