When you're shopping for your maternity wardrobe, it's important that you keep in mind that you are only pregnant for 9 months.  It may seem like a long time, but it really flies by.  Plus, you're really not showing at all during your first trimester, especially if it's your first baby, so maternity clothes are something you only wear for a very short time.  When I was pregnant, my goal was always to look cute and stylish without spending a lot of money on maternity clothes.  I built my maternity wardrobe by buying only the essentials.  I mostly bought nonmaternity clothes, because I wanted to wear them after I was pregnant too, however, there were a few maternity clothes that I did purchase.

Here are my 7 essential items from my maternity wardrobe that I couldn't live without during my pregnancy.
  1. Long Tank Tops- When I was pregnant, I stocked up on a bunch of long tank tops.  I didn't even bother with buying any maternity tank tops, I just bought regular tanks in a size larger than I usually would wear.  I found that Target's basic long tank tops (here) were great for stretching over my baby bump and H&M has some great long jersey tank tops (here) that worked great through my pregnancy. 
  2. Long Cardigan- I love my long cardigans and I loved them, even more, when I was pregnant.  I loved layering them with all my long tank tops.  I usually find really cute cardigans at Target (here) and H&M (here) for a great price.
  3. Leggings- I found that there was no reason to buy maternity leggings for me.  I fell in love with my Forever 21 leggings (here).  I usually would buy a size small, but while I was pregnant I bought them in a medium and they went up higher on my belly, just like maternity leggings would.  They worked great throughout my pregnancy and you really can't beat the price at $3.80 apiece.
  4. A Simple Dress- I decided to buy one maternity dress while I was pregnant.  I was in my third trimester during the holidays, so I wanted a simple dress that I could wear over and over again.  I ended up finding a cute one at Target (here).
  5. Maternity Jeans- Even though I was able to wear my normal jeans throughout my pregnancy, I still wanted a pair of maternity jeans that I could wear comfortably.  I ended up finding a pair from Motherhood Maternity (here).  Since maternity jeans aren't cheap, you really only need one pair, plus you really won't need to wear them for very long.  I didn't even fit into maternity jeans until my 3rd trimester.
  6. Maternity/Nursing bra- This is an absolute must-have maternity item.  One thing I didn't realize was that your rib cage expands as your baby grows, causing your normal bras to not fit around you.  This is why it's important to find a good comfortable wireless bra.  This nursing bra from Target (here) was a lifesaver for me.  I'm still wearing these bras and I may never go back to wearing my old underwire bras. 
  7. Belly Band- My belly band may have been the most important maternity purchase that I made while  I was pregnant.  The belly band helped me wear all my normal nonmaternity clothes all the way into my 9th month.  I bought mine at Target (here). 
Here are some ways that I styled my bump wearing these 7 essentials pieces.

These are 3 outfits wearing my 3 favorite cardigans that I wore while I was pregnant. 

There was nothing more comfortable than leggings when I was pregnant.  Here are 3 ways that I wore my leggings throughout my pregnancy. 

This is the one maternity dress that I did purchase during my pregnancy.  I stuck with a basic color like black so that I could wear it over and over again in different ways. 

These are 3 outfits I wore wearing my maternity jeans.

These 3 outfits are all worn with my regular jeans wearing a belly band.  My trick to fitting in my jeans was to wear low fitting jeans and use the hair tie trick, then I'd cover up with my belly band.  It worked great, even in my 9th month.  

Just remember when your building your maternity wardrobe, not everything has to be bought in the maternity section.  Shop smart and pick out pieces that you can wear after baby too!  Try to make the most of dressing your bump.  It goes by fast!

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