Confused about maternity clothes - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-16-2014, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Confused about maternity clothes

I should provide some background: I have IBS and have never been able to tolerate stiff waistbands (like most pants have) when I'm sitting. Elastic is also a problem for me because even though it "stretches," it only stretches against resistance. Even yoga pants were often too tight on my pre-pregnant belly. Any abdominal pressure at all is too much for me.* I usually get around this by wearing low-rise pants that don't fit right, and I almost always have my pants unbuttoned and slightly unzipped when I'm sitting down (which makes getting up quickly pretty awkward if people are around). I have small hips, so pants that are ample in the waist (or unbuttoned) tend to fall down.

I've always wished for some sort of solution, but now that I'm expanding a little bit (mostly with bloat at 10.5 weeks), it's gotten urgent.

I tried cutting off the waistband of a pair of old pants and sewing on a band made of jersey fabric. It feels pretty good, but I can't get the pants to stay up when I walk.

I tried making a belly band out of jersey fabric and putting it on over my normal (unbuttoned and unzipped) pants. That holds them up better, but when I sit down there's a lot of material folding in and pushing on my lower abdomen, and since the band has to be pretty tight to stay on without elastic, it's still uncomfortable.

I tried the hairband in the buttonhole trick and it felt just like elastic. Too tight when I sit, and it doesn't rebound well enough when I stand up.

I haven't actually tried honest-to-goodness maternity pants, partly because I was hoping to DIY this and save some money, and partly because the ones I've seen feel so elasticky that I imagine I'll hate them.

Are dresses with an empire waist my only solution? Most of my biggest months are going to be in the winter, and I'm not really into the tights and boots look. But maxi dresses seems so flowy and billowy when they fall from a pregnant belly.

Any suggestions? Am I asking for the impossible? All I want is a waistband that I can't feel when I'm sitting down and that holds my pants up when I'm standing!

That probably is too much to ask.

*I'm trying not to think about what will happen once this baby starts putting constant pressure on my intestines with or without a waistband....
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#2 of 10 Old 08-17-2014, 02:54 AM
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You may find that the maternity pants that have a full belly panel of very stretchy thin lycra type fabric with no elastic band are your best bet. They are stretchy enough to fit from the start and continue till the end. I find them to be the most comfy. Also old navy sometimes has fold over waist skirts that don't feel binding. You will probably end up wanting dresses when you are really big though, at least around the house. Some times you just have to let the belly breathe. Having at least one mumu-ish dress for the end of a long day in mid and late pregnancy is a very welcome relief. You could wear knee socks or legwarmers to stay warm.
Don't be afraid to wear maternity pants from the start. It's not worth it to be uncomfortable with improvised solutions. You are going to need them anyway, you might as well get the most use out of them that you can. You may find you enjoy them even after pregnancy.
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#3 of 10 Old 08-20-2014, 09:37 AM
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Would drawstring pants work? There are some low rise maternity pants but they usually have a big elastic band and they don't always stay up well. I had some pants from Old Navy that had a very loose jersey type band and they weren't tight but they didn't stay up well either. Yoga pants might not be too tight. If you are trying to save money you may look for used maternity clothes or shop at places like Old Navy. I got a few pairs of pants that I wore all through pregnancy and I didn't spend a lot of money. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

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#4 of 10 Old 08-20-2014, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been wondering about drawstring pants! I've even done a little experimenting with adding a drawstring to a pair of normal pants. No success yet, but I'm not a quitter. The only challenge there is that I would need to tie them at a different degrees of tightness for standing and sitting, and with a longer maternity tank that might be hard to do in any sort of subtle way whenever I stand up/sit down. But it does seem like the most promising solution. I'm thinking about using a wider "string" and tightening it with snaps or hooks instead of tying a bow. Maybe then I could do it quicker and easier, and maybe I could even put the snaps on the side instead of in the front.

I also experimented with a DIY version of those pregnancy suspenders, which had some promise, but it does pull the pants up a bit when you sit down.

I'm also going to do some dress shopping...might as well accept that I probably can't invent a whole new kind of pant on my own in a few weeks.

I'd welcome any more suggestions! And I'll report back on how the modified drawstrings work out!
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#5 of 10 Old 08-23-2014, 11:13 AM
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I found some pants that might work for you! I just got these in the mail, and holy cow, they are the most comfortable pants ever. It's a rollover waist, linen blend pant. The waist is very loose and stretchy, doesn't feel binding or bunching like other maternity pants. There's four colors available on Old Navy's website, here a link to the ones I bought:

I can already wear them at 12 weeks, and I suspect they will fit for most of my pregnancy. They are nice looking enough that I wore them to work with a dressy shirt today. Seriously, I never want to wear any other pants, lol.
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#6 of 10 Old 08-30-2014, 06:56 AM
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Wanted to add some maxi skirts to the line up.

This is my favorite. It's not maternity but it's super comfy

Sarah- sahm to a little boy and girl with a third blessing due in Feb.
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#7 of 10 Old 08-30-2014, 11:58 AM
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May I suggest clothing that is made from bamboo, hemp and cotton blends. The stretchy fibers of a jersey mixed with any of these make for a nice fit, in my experience. The softness of these natural fibers has been wonderful for me, pre-baby and now (I am now 10 weeks and have experienced a lot of bloating as well)! Etsy has a lot of wonderful artists making clothes, i.e gaiaconceptions, tinctoria, colorfultherapy, hempress, conciousclothing, damselflyorganics, woolenmoss, circlecreations, mountain lotus....and many many more.

Hope this helps!
Cheers ~*~
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#8 of 10 Old 09-02-2014, 01:01 AM
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So far I have done my shopping all second hand on I highly recommend it. Everything is as good as new and so affordable it's worth it to buy the clothes you need. Also, one of the pants I ordered were the motherhood brand with the full belly, and the material they make these out of just keeps getting better! This is my sixth pregnancy, and these are the most comfortable and non annoying maternity pants I have ever had. It's basically like a cross between nylons and swimsuit material. Very stretchy, not tight or binding anywhere, not hot, doesn't fall down. I am in love. You should consider giving them a try! Good luck!

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#9 of 10 Old 09-06-2014, 05:45 PM
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I'd give full panel maternity pants a shot. I find them to be WAY more comfortable than regular pants, and they're essentially what you described - regular pants with no waistband and a jersey top. There's nothing to dig into your abdomen at all. I have found that quality matters - some of the panels I've felt from Old Navy were pretty thick and felt more like thick elastic, but the ones I just bought from Pea in the Pod have an incredibly soft, supple, thin panel material that still holds the pants up well. is amazing for finding used high end brands for a deep, deep discount. I like to go try on different brands in store so I know what size I am and what brands I prefer, then buying second hand.

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#10 of 10 Old 09-12-2014, 08:06 AM
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What about making some kind of underneath your clothes suspenders out of super soft elastic? Those would work all the time, not just when you're pregnant.
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