Petite maternity dresses aren't available at every maternity store. It's worth seeking them out, though. Just like your regular wardrobe, your maternity wardrobe will look best if the clothes are made to fit your frame.
Choosing a Style
Petites tend to look best in sleek, form-fitting styles. That doesn't mean you have to wear dresses that cling to every curve. Just look for patterns that don't have too much extra fabric or flounces--these can make you look wider than you are tall! And, avoid busy patterns--they can overwhelm your small frame.
Look for dresses that are flattering and that match your everyday style. You don't have to change your look just because you're pregnant. With the wide range of maternity clothes available these days, you should be able to find petite maternity dresses that fit your fashion sense.
Petite vs. Extra-Small
Petite styles are not just smaller versions of regular sizes. They're cut to have shorter pant lengths. Dresses and jackets will also have a shorter waist. Extra-smalls are cut for women who are thinner, but not necessarily shorter, than their larger-sized sisters.
Whether to go with an extra-small or insist on a petite size depends on your own body shape. If you're not tall and you're thin, an extra-small might do the trick, although you'll probably have to adjust the hemline. Otherwise, you'll probably do better with a petite. Your pre-pregnancy size is a good indicator of what you'll need.
Where to Look
You'd think all of the big maternity stores would have petite options, but they don't. Several of the bigger stores have small, medium, large, and plus sizes, but no petites. Here are some national chains that do stock petite maternity dresses.
JCPenney has a maternity starter kit with five everyday pieces in basic black. You get a sleeveless dress and a skirt, plus a t-shirt, a tank top, and bootcut pants, all for about $90. When this article was written, the web site offered a petite size skirt and several pants styles, but no other dresses. Still, it's worth checking the site or your local stores to see what new styles have come in.
Gap Maternity doesn't have a petites section, but they do have sizes all the way down to XXS. If you're able to wear extra-small sizes of their regular clothes, these maternity fashions might work for you. The clothes are casual, everyday styles.
Nordstrom's maternity department has a limited selection of petite sizes, including a few dresses. Check the web site or call your local store to see what's in stock.
Online Options for Petite Maternity Dresses
New maternity shops continue to open online. Some are owned by major designers. Others are run by moms who wanted to help other women find nice maternity clothes. Try using a search engine to see if anyone new is offering petite maternity dresses.
Here are a few established sites to try.
Belly Basics styles are stocked at Nordstrom, A Pea in the Pod, and other upscale maternity stores. You can also order directly from their web site. Some styles are labeled petite, while others come in extra-small sizes.
Isabella Oliver is a large maternity site with a special section for petites. You'll find simple, stylish dresses in solid fabrics. They also carry tops, pants, and even undergarments.
Many women sell their maternity clothes on eBay after the baby is born. In addition, many small merchants use eBay to sell their wares instead of setting up web sites of their own. Do a quick search for "petite maternity dress" to see who's selling what. New postings appear often, so check back regularly.