I have a rule for myself to never leave the house in sweatpants. Call me vain, but I find sweatpants in public to be generally offensive, and never have I left the house feeling so lazy that I couldn’t find an old pair of jeans to throw on. In fact, if I was feeling that lazy, I probably wouldn’t even leave the house anyway. However, I have never been pregnant, and I certainly think the rule can be adjusted under such circumstances. Pregnancy causes a whole slew of changes to your body, and a big baby bump is only one of many. If you’ve recently become pregnant, you’re probably waiting for your baby bump to make its first appearance. You might not start to show until week twelve or later, and you won’t have to do any maternity clothes shopping until then. However, you’re also probably wondering how long you should wear your regular pants.

If you’re still wearing your regular jeans during your pregnancy, there’s a good chance they’re pretty restricting. As your baby grows larger, they’ll only become more so, and you should be careful not to restrict your stomach too much. While there is no proof that tight pants will necessarily hurt your baby’s development, there is scientific evidence that tight pants might cause problems for the woman wearing them. When you wear tight pants while pregnant, you put yourself at risk for a condition called meralgia paresthetica. This is usually caused by a restriction on a particular nerve connected to the thigh. If you continue to wear tight pants as your baby grows, you’ll increase the amount of restriction on this nerve, and you might feel tingling, numbness, and pain in your thigh.

Really, you should switch to stretchy pants as soon as your regular ones start to feel uncomfortable. By restricting your body with your old jeans, you could create unnecessary nerve pain and your pregnancy will be especially unpleasant. Though you might miss your old tight jeans at first, you may be pleasantly surprised at the comfortable yet fashionable maternity wear available to expecting moms these days. So sit back and relax in your new roomy pants, and revel in the excitement of your upcoming due date!

Source: Jacob Patijn et al: Meralgia Paresthetica. Pain Practice Volume 11 Issue 3 pp. 302-308 June 2011