The Preggo Athlete, Take 3 - What to Wear

by | | 17 comments
Warning - this post may get a little personal. I've been promising a preggo clothing post for months, so it's about time I get it done. It won't be long before I'm talking post-partum clothing!

Average weight gain in the first 12 weeks is supposed to be about 2 pounds, and at that point, baby and uterus are still tucked behind the pubic bones. Logic would tell you that you really wouldn't need any clothing changes during that time, but it seems pregnancy is not logical.

I first noticed changes in the way that my sports bra fit. At around 5 or 6 weeks, my regular Enell bra wasn't fitting, and that thing is not forgiving. I had to use the one that was a half size bigger than my normal ones. Before 8 weeks, I needed to upgrade a full size. Not only do the girls seem to grow at an amazing speed, they are super sore and require a LOT of support. If you've always been gifted in that department, you probably have a favorite brand and can just buy a bigger size. If you've never had to think about supportive sports bras, now would be a good time to find a style you like. You're going to need a good one in the next few months. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I went from Enell's 0 to a 1 and then graduated to a 2. I've already got the 3 on hand since I don't know how much bigger they'll get before the end of my pregnancy and certainly through breastfeeding. The great thing about these bras is that they are front closure, which my experienced mommy friends tell me is really helpful for breastfeeding. I have also had a number of friends recommend Moving Comfort's Fiona and Juno styles since they have front adjustable straps that make breastfeeding easier. Since I've now grown out of my biking sports bras, I've ordered a couple of these styles online. They should hopefully be here next week, and I'll have to let you know the verdict.

The second thing I grew out of WAY before I thought I would was bike shorts. By week 8 or so, my regular ones were really uncomfortable, even though the weight I'd gained at that point was about equal to a weekend's worth of food indiscretions. I can't really explain it. We've all had the feeling of our clothes just not quite fitting right, but tight clothing during pregnancy is more than that. The best I can describe it is that it feels like something's wrong. It may be mostly mental experiencing that tight fitting feeling and knowing that you're squeezing on the baby, but it felt like more than that. I began looking for maternity bike shorts pretty quickly, and the only ones I could find looked huge and were going to set me back $60. I refused to pay that much money for a pair of shorts I couldn't even try on and would only be wearing for a few months, so I went to my nearest REI and scoured their clearance rack (they also have a great selection online). I found a pair that had a really wide waistband (which I quickly learned is essential). They only had an XL. I was looking for a large and am normally a medium, but I figured I'd grow into them. I was right. Although they were pretty baggy when I first bought them, they now fit me perfectly. I can tuck the wide band under the bump, and they're still pretty comfortable. Since I'm on my trainer, I don't really need the extra over the bump support. I guess my general advice for looking for bike shorts (if you don't want to buy maternity-specific ones) is to stay away from typical form-fitting, narrow waistbanded shorts. Go instead with a pair that sits a little lower on your belly, is made with a more recreational fit, and has a waistband that is a couple of inches wide. I've been able to get by with just one pair since I'm only on my bike once or twice a week and we do laundry a lot. I'm not too worried about wearing them out.

Big banded shorts fit well under the bump. The shorts are still a little big in the legs.

At around 13 weeks or so, my running shorts didn't fit well anymore. I was able to wear some of my pre-pregnancy skirts, capris, and pants through about 18 weeks, but there were only a couple that fit at that point. One of my pairs of capris still fits, but the rest of them gave me that tight "something's wrong" feeling. Not only that, but I noticed that I would feel a lot more crampy when I ran in pants that were too tight. I scoured the internet again and found that and both had a decent selection and clearance deals, but I was nervous to pay so much money and risk it not fitting and having to deal with the hassle of returns. Thankfully, we have an outlet store between our house and our parents' houses. I found several pairs of shorts, capris, and pants for $5-25 each. Again, the wide waistband (or at least very forgiving elastic at the waist) is key. Fortunately, outlet stores tend to carry really big sizes. I opted for XL in most of these styles, and although they are too big in the legs and the pants are a bit long, they're still fitting me comfortably. What I didn't find at the outlet stores, I was able to supplement with the clearance section at my favorite running store, Run N Fun in St. Paul. I found a pair of tights and two pairs of shorts each at 50% off. I bought the tights in an XL. The one pair of size L shorts I bought was a little optimistic. I grew out of them a few weeks later. The newest shorts I bought are an XL and are roomy enough to likely get me through to the end. Nobody tells you exactly how much your hips will expand and your butt will grow while you are preggo. Everybody puts on weight differently. While nothing will fit over my bump at this point, most of these bottoms are roomy enough to accommodate the rest of my, ahem, curves.

Believe it or not, shirts have been the most forgiving item of clothing for me. While I normally prefer to wear my shirts on the fitted side, I have plenty of race shirts that have extra room. I did have to buy several short-sleeved/sleeveless shirts. While my regular ones stretch just fine, the key is length - I don't need giant amounts of belly poking out a la white trash style. The big white one in the picture below is actually a size small tall, and it should get me by for a while yet.

My favorite pre-pregnancy shirt next to my current running shirt

Notice how the current pregnancy shirt fits well over the bump? It stays there during my runs.

Um, yeah. Steve convinced me to put this one up. This is pulled down all the way, and I'm sure it would ride up during my runs...

My other two are size XL with ample length. they aren't nearly as body hugging as my white one. I found these at the outlet store for $10-15 each. I never needed to buy any long-sleeved shirts. Although not all of my pre-pregnancy ones still fit (too short), I still have plenty to choose from. If I were going to need long sleeves through all 9 months, I would probably need to upgrade or invade Steve's closet. When I started running with fellow blogger Abigailius, she showed me the belly support band she'd been wearing for weeks and swears by. I've started wearing one on my runs in the last week or so. The bump is getting pretty big, and I thought my back could use all of the help it could get. I was a little nervous that it would cause that crampy, too-tight feeling, but it feels great.

It's ugly as sin, but it helps keep baby off my bladder and supports my back. They tend to run $20-45 and can be found at most maternity websites, and maternity stores. I got mine at BabiesRUs.

Thankfully, my shoes and socks are still fitting at this time. We'll see if I start swelling up once it starts warming up around here.

If all else fails, raid you significant other's closet. That's what a lot of my friends have done. Unfortunately, Steve only has 10-15 pounds on me at baseline, and my legs are bigger than his normally. This wasn't an option for me. I may take advantage of his shirt selection if we keep getting cool days, but so far, mine are getting me by OK.

Keep in mind that location and amount of weight gain are very individual processes. At 31 weeks, I've gained about 25 pounds which is on the higher side of normal. I've had friends who gained 15 pounds through their entire pregnancy, and I've had friends who gained 60-80+ pounds during that time. What seems to be working for me definitely won't work for everybody, and of course there will be those women out there who we all secretly hate who never really need to stray from their normal workout wear during pregnancy.

For all of my mommy blogger friends out there - do you have anything to add? I'm sure there are websites that I never found or other great places to find deals on workout clothes-maternity or not.