Today I’m talking all about dressing during your first trimester when you might not be quite ready for maternity clothes but you’re feeling pretty yucky. Wondering what clothes are best for your first trimester? Keep Reading!
If you are one of those unicorns who skate through the first trimester of pregnancy mostly unscathed, this post probably isn’t for you. If nausea and bloating doesn’t happen to you, you’ll be mostly set wearing your regular clothes and maybe sizing up in a few key items.
But, if, like me, the first trimester rocks your entire world (in the worst way), I hope this is helpful!
I usually find out I’m pregnant when I start to feel nauseous around 5 weeks. It gets progressively worse and the exhaustion sets in around 7 weeks. I spend weeks 8-13 in pure survival mode and then from 13-17 I start to come out of it and by 18 or 19 weeks I feel like a whole new (rather pregnant) person.
Dressing in the first trimester
When it comes to dressing in the first trimester I am mainly looking for COMFORTABLE and FUNCTIONAL. Even if I can fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes at this point I usually can’t handle anything tight on my permanently nauseous stomach. By week 8 I am quite bloated and even most of my regular leggings are too tight / uncomfortable. I gravitate toward looser pieces and really pay attention to soft fabrics.
I also go for maternity pieces early when they’ll work because I might as well get a little more use out of them. You’ll find a mix of maternity and non-maternity pieces on this list.
For sizing reference, before getting pregnant I was a size XS, 0 and 110ish pounds, give or take. Just coming out of the first trimester I’ve gained 10-15 pounds and am wearing a size S or maternity clothing.
I spend as much as of the first trimester as I can on the couch (or sitting on the bathroom floor) and so this is not going to contain a lot of cute going out outfits or office attire. The great thing about most of these pieces is that they’re also some of my favorite things to wear in the post partum period (although sometimes by then I need a size larger).
We also moved to Southern California last year so this capsule wardrobe works well for moderate weather. I’m not commuting in 20 degree weather like back in Boston and I spent a few 75 degree days at the pool with my kids.
My First Trimester Wardrobe
Winter in Southern California Edition
1. Work Horse: Lou and Grey Lounge Set
Have you heard of Lou and Grey’s lounge sets before? They are phenomenal. I am not exaggerating when I say they are the most worn pieces in my closet, even before getting pregnant.
They are incredibly soft and comfortable so you always want to be wearing them. The fabric is great quality so, OVER 100 washes later, these are still soft and cute. You can wear the tops and bottoms together or I’ve been known to “dress up” the sweatshirts with a pair of jeans or throw on a chambray button down with the joggers.
I have two sets and will be ordering another set in a larger size to wear once baby arrives.
Lou and Grey has lots of different lounge options, just pay attention to the fabric type. Be sure to order the “SIGNATURE SOFT.”
I have the the cuffed sweatpants (more of a jogger) and the signaturesoft sweatpants (which have a tapered leg / skinny leg fit. I recommend the regular sweatshirt but they also have a lot of new options they’ve added in the last year that are super cute. Just stick with the signaturesoft fabric and you can’t go wrong!
A note on pricing: These are PRICEY for loungewear but on Black Friday and a few other times throughout the year they’ll offer an additional 50% off on select colors. Try and snag a set when you see this discount (you might also see a 40% off coupon – this is a great time to order, too). Order your regular size (or size up for a more roomy fit during pregnancy + post partum).
These are a must for pregnancy and for your first trimester. Another early sign of pregnancy is breast growth and tenderness and these wire-free bras are SO comfortable. They make such a difference when your breasts are super sore.
They’re a great price at just $10 a bra (they come in a three pack for $30 an Amazon) and they’re nursing friendly if you’re planning on breastfeeding or pumping after baby. Even if you aren’t, these are great for all of pregnancy and those few weeks after delivery.
Don’t take my word for it on these ones, just read through a handful of the THOUSANDS of reviews on Amazon. They’re the #1 rec for a reason.
3. A Soft Loose Shirt
This Mae tee from Able has been one of my favorite high quality tees for over a year and it is a great piece for the first trimester. It is on the nicer side while still being loose and 100% comfortable.
It also comes in a long sleeve version here
4. Low Rise Jeans
Does anyone own low rise jeans these days?
I have this one pair of low rise AG jeans from a post partum period 6 years ago that I pull out for the first trimester and they’re great. I snagged these ones on thredUP years ago when I wanted a few pairs of high quality jeans in my post-partum size (thredUP also has a huge maternity section). I loved these during my first trimester because I wanted nothing tight on my stomach. I used the little rubber band trick on them toward the end of the first trimester/ into the second.
5. Sweatshirt Dress
This dress is more comfortable than pajamas and perfect for anytime you need to look a little more put together (or when you just don’t want anything touching your stomach.
I wore this to church, to dinner with friends, and to the park with my kids. You can dress it up with heels or boots and I wore it most often with this pair of Veja sneakers. Bonus: if you’re really tired after wearing it out, you can also sleep in it (I wore it for 24 hours straight last week).
6. Two Piece Sweater Set
This two piece knit set has been a favorite in my closet for years and it came in handy during the first trimester. It looks cute and put together and feels like you’re wearing pajamas. I wore this to church, to a few baby showers, and around the house. I dress it up with heels and wear it with mules or sneakers.
This exact style is often sold out on Shein’s website (this is, hands down, my best purchase from Shein of all time) but they have a LOT of similar two piece knit sets. As always with Shein, just be sure to read the reviews.
7. GAP Modal Joggers
This modal fabric from GAP is my all time favorite soft, breathable, lightweight lounge material ( and my favorite fabric to wear while pregnant).
I’ve had these in maternity and non-maternity over the years, converted all my sisters and a neighbor or two. They’re the best.
I lived in this black non-maternity pair during my first trimester and just ordered this maternity pair for the next 6 months. I brought these to the hospital with my last two babies.
P.S. They also come in a maternity modal short and pajama top – I ordered the sleep short and plan to wear it around the house / on walks / over swimsuits to the pool all summer.
8. Maternity Joggers
I ordered these black joggers off of Amazon pretty early on in pregnancy and they were a quick favorite. Most of my other high rise joggers cut right into my belly where I really didn’t want any pressure when I was so nauseous (and eventually as I had a real baby bump).
These are SUPER soft and on the thinner side (without being see-through or cheap) so they’ll be great into the spring/ early summer months. At 5’4″ I ordered the cropped length but you can get a full length version, too.
These are great for lounging around the house but also for running errands and just about anything else. I’ve exercised in them, slept in them, and worn them out to lunch. Cannot recommend these enough (especially for the price).
9. Maternity 3/4 Zip
I ordered this 3/4 Zip as my first foray into Shein Maternity pieces and have worn in twice a week since it arrived.
This one is sold out but my sister has this non-maternity one from Shein and it would work for the first (and maybe second) trimester as well as post-partum.
10. Everlane 1/2 Zip
This gorgeous sweater is warm, soft, and beautiful. When I needed a little more warmth or just to feel a TINY bit more like a regular human, I reached for this. I usually just wore it with joggers or the occasional jean.
This is pricey and was something I ordered in the fall before I was pregnant but it was an easy piece to continue wearing into my first trimester.
P.S. Well into my second trimester now and still wearing this with maternity leggings.
Not a necessity but very comfortable, very cozy, and I find that as I gain weight during pregnancy, my feet need more support. I love having these into my second and third trimesters (or I just wear sneakers around the house).
I’ve had this exact pair for a year and a half and can always trust anything L.L. Bean makes to be great quality. They come in 6 colors but the brown is my favorite.
12. Veja Esplar Sneakers
I wore a lot of slip on shoes (these Amazon mules being my go-to) but besides those, these were my most worn shoe. The velcro is much easier to put on and take off than a lof of lace up sneakers.
Plus, I love that these are real leather and can wipe clean with a damp cloth (or a magic eraser)
A trench elevates just about anything you’re wearing. Joggers and a striped tee? Just add a trench. Jeans and a sweatshirt? Just add a trench. I pulled this out multiple times a week when I needed to walk in for school pickup or buy groceries and I hadn’t showered in three days.
I have a more fitted trench but reached for this oversized one over and over again. It’ll be a non-maternity staple throughout my pregnancy.
My sister gave these to me for my birthday in November and they are worth they hype. They instantly elevate any outfit (including a lounge set) and they are comfortable enough that you never have to take them off. Yes, you can sleep in them, throw up in them, live in them. If you’re going to wear earrings during your first trimester at all (which you don’t have to), let it be these.
P.S. Use code ELISABETH for 15% off your order.
Also, Hey June is one of the most fantastic women owned small businesses to support. I LOVE their products (Nordstrom quality jewelry at Target prices) and getting a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes on instagram.
Honorable Mention: Amazon Active Maternity Leggings
I ordered these maternity leggings part way through my first trimester and wore them a handful of times. I am wearing them a lot more frequently now that I’m into my second trimester and have more energy.
This is my fourth pregnancy and so I show a lot sooner than I did with my first. These over-the-bump leggings definitely work better with a bump and the fabric is more of an athletic compression material. They’re not my top rec for lounging around and you probably won’t need something like this until later on in your pregnancy.
That said, I LOVE them for working out and if you’re on the hunt for an over-the-bump pair of active maternity leggings, these should be on your radar. The price point CANNOT be beat. I’ve exercised in maternity leggings 4 times the price and these are almost just as good and under $20.
Honorable Mention: Karen Walker Sunglasses
This splurge has nothing to do with maternity wear but there is nothing that makes you feel quite as put together when you’re out and haven’t washed your face in 48 hours let alone put on any makeup, than a pair of really good sunglasses.
I’ve had my eye on these for years and I love that they’re big enough that you can’t tell I haven’t filled in my brows or washed off mascara from that one time I wore it four days ago.
These are definitely NOT a must but they’re really fantastic sunglasses I got part way through my first trimester and have worn everyday since.