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Thrifting While Pregnant | Tips for Building a Secondhand Maternity Wardrobe

Hi! I'm pregnant. Just started my third trimester, and as such I am well beyond the days of "normal pants." I have always been an avid thrifter, but it turns out that maternity clothes are tough to thrift! Most of my local thrift stores don't have maternity sections, so the little maternity clothing they do have is often scattered throughout the regular racks. If they do have maternity clothing separated, it's not a huge selection, and the frumpy pieces definitely dominate those little racks.

I was a little frustrated with the process at first. I'm still in my 20's. I still want to look stylish and unique, and I still want to thrift! The timeline for finding the right pieces is a lot shorter when you're pregnant also. But it is possible to get what you need to feel like yourself in your clothing while you wait for baby to arrive while still shopping in a way that aligns with your budget and/or values and/or desires. Here are my tips for building a secondhand maternity wardrobe:

  1. Shop Online Online thrift stores have been my go to during this time. My local thrift stores may not have a maternity section, but you know who does? ThredUP, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace. Shopping online has never been my favorite. I typically only do it when I know exactly what I'm looking for. But my needs became very clear after my belly popped. Mama needed stretchy pants BAD. Not only can you easily filter out just maternity clothing online, you also save your pregnant body the time on your feet in an actual thrift store.

  2. Hand-me-downs! Secondhand is even better when the first hands to own something were your own family or friends. If you have mamas in your life, some will probably already be offering up baby and maternity clothes they no longer use. Take the offer, write them a beautiful thank you note, and remember to pay it forward when another friend or family member gets pregnant.

  3. Look for Stretchy and Oversized Pieces, but beware... There are plenty of stretchy and oversized non-maternity pieces you can thrift that will still fit your belly. I have a couple body con dresses, sweat pants, an oversized peasant dress and a few longer tops that do this job. Keep in mind, however, that your belly may be stretching these pieces out permanently. I've personally seen the most change so far in my knitwear. So if you plan to wear it postpartum, I'd recommend setting it aside until then and avoid creating a bump shaped bubble in your favorite top.

  1. Dresses! Pants are great and all, until they're not. Dresses are hands down the most comfortable thing to wear during pregnancy, and also the easiest thing to thrift. Non maternity but belly friendly options are everywhere. Traditional body con dresses have been kind to me, and anything you might describe as "flowy" will probably drape over your belly just fine. Sure, your floor length hem may become more of a high-low, but in my experience, it looks intentional. The only dresses I avoid right now are ones that cinch at where my waist used to be. Empire waistlines are great though, because they cinch you right below the bust, meaning the drape of the dress begins right at your belly.

  2. No pressure. At the end of the day, you don't exactly have the luxury of time for finding clothes that fit your rapidly changing body. You're going to grow whether you find the perfect pair of maternity pants in time or not. If you pride yourself on having a thrifted wardrobe like myself, it may be time to swallow that pride a little, and buy something new. Keep it simple like a pair of solid jeans, or trousers for work that you can wear many times along with your thrifted pieces. And at the end of the day, just remember: no pressure. Stress isn't good for you or baby.


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