How Maternity Clothes Work

If you’re newly pregnant, the world of maternity fashion can seem like a daunting place. In previous blogs, we’ve covered when you should start buying maternity clothes, but today we’ll be exploring how maternity clothes work. Zips, panels, stretch and more, the functions of pregnancy clothing may sound complicated, but the reality is they’re incredibly comfortable and many are even designed to last you through the first 3 trimesters and beyond. 

Here’s everything you need to know about NINE+QUARTER maternity and breastfeeding clothing, and how maternity clothes work in general.

How maternity clothes work

How Do Maternity Tops Work?

When it comes to maternity tops, you’ll often find that you get what you pay for. Tops are one of the hardest working items of clothing as your body changes, and many women find that some of the cheaper high-street brands aren’t always up to the test. 

In general, cheaper maternity tops are cut from poor-quality fabric that quickly loses its shape. As you start moving toward more specialist maternity clothing brands, the fabric will be better quality, and the tops will be designed to offer more movement and flexibility as your bump grows. We really do recommend investing in your maternity wear, not only will it ensure you’re comfy during what can be quite a stressful time, but it will also help you feel confident in your ever-changing body.

Maternity vs. Multi-Purpose

At NINE+QUARTER, we offer maternity tops, and tops for both maternity and breastfeeding. While many companies choose to keep breastfeeding clothing separate, we believe that the most sustainable option is to design clothing that has more than one function. 

Our maternity-only items are made from stretchy long-lasting organic fabrics which hold their shape and colour and have elasticated side seams for added stretch. These are a great option if you’re not planning on breastfeeding, or are looking for staple wardrobe pieces to keep you going through your pregnancy. 

NINE+QUARTER maternity and breastfeeding tops offer even more flexibility, as they have integrated, invisible zips in the side seams and are cut longer in the front, making them flattering throughout pregnancy and early motherhood. The hidden zips allows you to easily breastfeed when out and about, without having to worry about prying eyes. 

So, while high-street maternity tops may only give you a few months of wear, NINE+QUARTER maternity tops last throughout multiple pregnancies, and our multi-purpose tops can easily last, not only through pregnancy but through breastfeeding and beyond.

New life same you Maternity t-shirt
Our Maternity only tees are made in soft stretchy fabrics with elastic bands in the side seams. 


White Maternity and Breastfeeding t-shirt
Our Maternity and Breastfeeding tees are cut slightly looser and longer at the front and feature hidden zips in the side seams.  


How Do Maternity Jeans Work?

Jeans, trousers, shorts or skirts, you’re likely to find yourself needing to add to your wardrobe once your bump begins to grow. Maternity jeans and other bottoms tend to have a waistband that falls into one of three categories, under-bump, over-bump or side-panel.

Under-bump jeans have a stretchy waistband that sits below your bump. Because they don’t extend over your tummy, they hold their shape well and can often be worn from early in your pregnancy right through to the months (or years *ahem*) that follow childbirth. 

Over-bump jeans also have a stretchy waistband, but it extends much higher, covering your full bump. Although they’re not as easy to wear in early pregnancy or after childbirth, they do offer full coverage and support, which many women prefer. 

Inset side-panels are the closest option to traditional jeans, as the stretchy element comes from triangular panels of elastic on the sides, as opposed to the waistband itself. If you’re looking for maternity jeans that don’t look like maternity jeans, these are for you. 

Maternity Leggings

Another fab option during pregnancy is maternity leggings. Stretchy in all the right places, they come in a range of styles - tall, petit, regular, cropped, full length and patterned. 

Most of our team lived in leggings during our pregnancies, so we designed our NINE+QUARTER full-length organic leggings to provide the ultimate in comfort with an over-bump style. Perfect for pairing with your favourite sweatshirt or tees & tanks weather permitting, these bad boys have all the stretch you’ll need as your bump grows.

When choosing maternity leggings, the main things to consider are that they’re comfortable and aren’t see-through, the rest is down to personal preference.


Our NINE+QUARTER organic over-the-bump maternity leggings made in 95% organic cotton and 5% elastane are stretchy without being see-through. The wide waist panel ensures your bump is supported and fully covered.

Whether you want to invest in a whole new maternity wardrobe or just need to replace a few key pieces, understanding how maternity clothes work will ensure you feel calm, cool and confident, whatever life throws your way.

Looking for more information on maternity wear? Why not read “When Should You Start Buying Maternity Clothes?



Originally from New Zealand, Sarah is a mother to two boys and has lived in the UK for the past 10 years. She is a home-educator, freelance writer, Netflix-binger and has a penchant for strong black coffee.

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