Dressing a bump is a tricky business, so much so that mums-to-be are forking out a whopping £700 on maternity clothes during pregnancy.
Research by maternity brand Isabella Oliver revealed expectant mums will buy 21 items of clothing, including two pairs of jeans, three pieces of underwear and a “special occasion” dress over the course of their pregnancy.
Despite the spenny spree, the bump-friendly clothes will only be worn from 16 weeks into the pregnancy until five weeks postpartum, leading many to view the wardrobe additions as “fast fashion.”
But, the study, of 500 mums who have had a baby in the past five years, did reveal some mothers did have an eco-conscience about their maternity haul with more than a quarter of mums passing their pregnancy clothes on to friends or family, while three in 10 donated them to charity.
Some 10%, however, simply threw the clothing away.
And it isn’t just mums-to-be to blame for the eco fail, the research also found more than one sixth believe clothing brands are not doing enough to encourage sustainable maternity wear, with one in 10 claiming they would rather spend more on an item if it is eco-friendly.
The mums surveyed also revealed that during their most recent pregnancy, an average of three items of clothing were second hand, either from a charity shop or peer.
For those participants who went on to have more than one pregnancy, 40% said all of their maternity wear was worn again.
When it came to sourcing clothing, mums-to-be struggled most in finding casual wear, followed by work clothes and outfits for special occasions.
A third of those polled via OnePoll, admitted they got "frustrated" when shopping for maternity wear, with 43% wishing there was more choice on offer.
Their changing shapes also proved problematic with almost half admitting they didn’t enjoy shopping for clothes while pregnant, because of the difficulties in finding suitable and comfortable products.
Meanwhile, a quarter found it hard to find clothes which complimented their figure, with one in four left feeling “frumpy.”
Commenting on the findings Geoff van Sonsbeeck, co-founder & CEO of maternity brand Isabella Oliver, said: “The research shows just how affordable maternity wear actually is when you put it into perspective.
“It’s time for significant change in our industry. We believe in producing less but at a higher quality so that the clothes can be worn pregnancy after pregnancy, so the impact to the environment is vastly minimised.”
To help the company is launching its industry first Pre-Loved initiative.
“The goal of the Pre-Loved programme is to decrease the levels of maternity wear production and radically reduce the maternity fashion waste going to landfill each year.
“With 50% of net proceeds from Pre-Loved sales being donated to a selection of maternal charities we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of maternity clothing.”
Van Sonsbeeck says her hopes changes in the maternity wear will help contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry.
“This past decade has been about the world waking up to climate change,” he added
"On the eve of the next decade, we must make it a green one.”
Shop 5 of our top maternity brands
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In July, Anne Hathaway debuted her new baby bump in a linen vest by Hatch, one of the trendiest maternity brands around. Its versatile clothing is designed to be worn throughout every stage of maternity - from pregnancy and beyond - so it’s worth every penny.
One of Meghan Markle’s go-to maternity brands was affordable high street shop H&M. Meghan was spotted wearing a pair of £38.80 ripped maternity jeans and a jumper dress by the brand when she was pregnant with baby Archie.
Meanwhile, Kate Middleton’s favourite maternity brand is without a doubt British brand, Seraphine. The duchess wore it consistently throughout her three pregnancies - so if you’re looking for a nice occasion dress, it’s the first place to browse.
If you want to do all your shopping in one place, Amazon is the easiest option. With a ton of top-rated trousers, dresses, outerwear, jeans and swimwear there is bound to be a few items you’ll want to order with next day delivery.
The online retailer, which also stocks numerous brands from New Look to Topshop is filled with everything from basics and loungewear to trendy outerwear and party dresses. It’s a great destination to stop by if you’re searching for stylish maternity wear.