When I was expecting my first child, I didn't think I needed a whole new wardrobe. Surely I could get by with just a few maternity basics, paired with some choice selections from my husband's closet, right? Wrong. One day, a coworker pointed at my waist, where my unbuttoned jeans were poking out against my oversize shirt, and said loudly, "Is that your belly button popping out like that?" I was mortified, but I learned a lesson: When you're expecting, your body changes -- and your clothing should too.
During pregnancy, comfort is key, and it all begins with your briefs. Whether you wear thongs, bikinis, or Bridget Jones "granny panties," stick to the style you're used to -- just buy them at least one or two sizes bigger as your belly grows. Be sure they're cotton so the fabric will stretch and breathe.
Your belly won't be the only part of your body that grows -- your breasts will change too. "One of the more obvious changes in early pregnancy is tenderness and, later on, enlargement," says Jennifer Niebyl, MD, head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, in Iowa City. "If you don't get proper support, you're going to be very uncomfortable." A soft, cotton sports bra can help in the first trimester when your breasts are very tender. Later on, look for a soft, elastic cup, and skip the stiff underwire -- it may be uncomfortable as your breasts get heavier.
Your breasts will probably continue to get bigger throughout your pregnancy, so don't buy a ton of bras during your first trimester. Play it by ear, and change sizes when you feel like you're spilling over or you're uncomfortable in the ones you've been wearing.
In your last trimester, ask a knowledgeable salesperson to help you find a maternity bra that will double as a nursing bra. Make sure the cups and the bra band aren't tight. Anything too restrictive can increase your chances of heartburn.