Saw It On Social: Hatch Mama

Apr 28, 2022

Hatch, the maternity brand beloved by influencers everywhere.  The second you download a pregnancy tracking app into your phone, the ads for it will appear.  Then, the promoted posts filled with gorgeous women, cupping their growing bellies lovingly.  But is Hatch the maternity style savior it’s cracked up to be?

Hatch is the influencer beloved pregnancy brand spoken about in hush tones.  Gwyneth wore it, the Duchess did too. And you’ve probably seen your favorite pregnant influencers delicately applying their oh-my-god-totally-life-changing-must-have Belly Oil.  So let’s start by talking about that oil.

The pale pink, botanical Belly Oil is touted as the ultimate preventative for stretch marks.  So when I developed a bump, I bought a bottle.  It sat on my nightstand, the blush-colored liquid glistening in the sunshine.  And that’s where it still sits, full almost to the top with the broken promises of hundreds of sponsored posts.

First off, my skin was still dry even immediately after using it.  This facilitated 3x per day application.  But no matter how much I applied, my skin was still dry.  So dry some days that it itched.  And this did not change no matter how much I used.

Also, a glass bottle with a dropper might look great in an Instagram reel, but the functionality of that packaging is deeply unrealistic, verging on aspirational. Every flat surface the bottle touches winds up covered in small droplets of oil, unless you treat the dropper with a delicacy usually reserved for priceless works of art…or explosive ordinance.  So while the oil may be their “#1 Best Selling Product,” it was a total let down for me.

As for the clothing, Hatch’s clothes are expensive. $250-plus for a sun dress.  $98 for their pregnancy-style-savior Striped Top.  Which, okay, if I can wear these pieces in the 2nd-4th trimesters, the money might be worth it.  But a sun dress post baby will only work if I winter in Arizona, and let’s talk about the top for a minute, because a more disappointing article of clothing I have never purchased.

Hatch’s sizing makes no sense.  It’s based on pre-pregnancy size, so as a medium, I followed the size guide and bought a size 2.  It was enormous.  And not just enormous for my 20-week size.  I gave it to a friend who is 34-weeks in, and a size 10 normally, and her text the day she tried it on said, “Is this a tent?  Where are the poles?”

The top is so big on her, that the breeze actually blows up through it, so she has to wear a tank under it to stay warm.  Oh, and she washed it for the second time and noticed pilling.  Because that’s a sign of quality.

After gifting her the most disappointing gift I’ve ever given anybody, I bought a size 1 for myself (I’d ordered it pre-pilling) thinking that might solve the issue.  Guess what?  IT’S STILL TOO BIG.  It will probably fit (at current growth rate) for the last four weeks of my pregnancy (maybe) and that is it.  And I don’t know about you, but I don’t casually spend $100 on something I can make work, but not really enjoy wearing, for all of a month.

I also bought some of the Hatch leggings.  And when I tell you that I put them on and laughed, I am not kidding.  I literally laughed at myself for being taken in by good influencer marketing. Because until that moment, I was snowed into believing that I would snap up some Hatch pieces and ride through pregnancy with a copy of Goop in one hand and a green juice in the other.  God help me, I think this delusion is hormone related.

The leggings are soft, yes, but also thick, while still revealing every lump and bump.  And the belly expansion folds under your bump for the last part of the pregnancy, so I imagine having that rolled up pile of jersey sitting lower than the top of your underwear will be really comfortable and flattering.

Also, if you need maternity leggings, the $25 leggings from Motherhood Maternity are better. And most of my readers just kept buying Lululemon Aligns in bigger sizes.

Lastly, the models on the Hatch site (at least some of whom seem to be pregnant in real life) are all the same body type: Size 0 with belly.  Which is a size that women come in, but not that many women.  Especially not pregnant ones.  So it might be in the best interests of a brand that bills itself as “being all about the Mamas of the world” to try fitting its clothes to a Mama who didn’t start her pregnancy tailoring small sizes down.

After ordering and returning almost $1,000 in Hatch merchandise (I told you, I was delusional), I’m just going to say it: f**k these people.

Hatch is selling an unrealistic version of pregnancy that exists only in pockets of Southern California and Upper Manhattan.  They want to make you believe that they can make pregnancy a beautiful, stylish experience, as long as you’re willing to pay the price.  Then, the box arrives, and the products have been so highly regarded by influencers, celebs, and that one stylish friend whose stroller costs more than your first car, that you assume the problem has to be you and you spiral.  Pregnancy is hard enough, I don’t need to have emotional encounters with my clothing.

When I mentioned to a friend that I hated Hatch, she explained the situation perfectly: Hatch is the brand you see promoted on social media before you get pregnant, that you look forward to wearing when you’re pregnant, but once pregnancy arrives, you realize it’s mostly good marketing.

But let’s pause with the rant for a minute to talk about Hatch’s Target diffusion line, The Nines. I bought this dress, a thick, ribbed jersey frock, and I really like it.  I like it so much, I bought a bigger size for later.  And I would have paid way more than $28 for it.  In fact, I liked it so much, a not-pregnant colleague bought and swears it’s one of the best pieces in her closet.

So as much as the designer line is a pantheon of lies and sponsored posts, I think some of the pieces in the Target line are worth your time.  I just bought this navy dress, and I’m excited to get it.  You won’t see me in overalls any time soon, but that’s just because flashing back to high school is not something I want to do at 40.

Bottom Line. Pregnant women are more vulnerable to marketing because pregnancy is a chaotic, discombobulating experience.  Your body changes daily.  You feel a lack of control that you have never experienced before.  And if a woman who looks like she stepped off the pages of Vogue tells you that she can solve your woes, you’re going to follow that Pied Piper, AmEx in hand, right off a cliff.

If you can get the Hatch pieces as hand me downs or try the Target line, you might have more luck.  But whatever you do, don’t fall for the belly oil scam.  It is just grapefruit-scented snake oil.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}{as with all so it on social posts, I bought all of the reviewed pieces myself, with my own money}

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  1. J says:

    Just putting in a plug for BioOil if you still wish to have an oil. I slathered that stuff all over my belly and rear while pregnant, and it is amazing. I also layered Palmers or another lotion over it, mostly becuase that would help it sink in faster when it was time to switch out of my towel wrap and into my clothes.

    • Holly says:

      +1 for biooil! Set up an amazon auto ship of it. Week 32 and I haven’t had a dry or itchy stomach (and I live in dry Arizona).

      • Megan says:

        2 pregnancies and minimal stretch marks later. I credit bio-oil.
        For a comparison case- I also have an identical twin sister who didn’t use it and has bad stretch marks (most of them we think from an external cephalic version)

    • Emily says:

      Came here to say the same thing- I used BioOil twice a day from about the halfway mark on and it was great. Kept my belly nice and hydrated!

  2. Elise says:

    Not even pregnant, but duly noted for (fingers crossed) later!

  3. LIndsay says:

    I feel seen by this post–I was so disappointed in my one and only Hatch splurge during my first pregnancy for all the same reasons. (FWIW, two friends warned me off it and I didn’t listen. They both swear by the basics at Storq.) The diffusion line on the other hand, is great! If you’re looking for a good belly oil, Mustela’s is everything you want and we’ve stuck with their baby bath/skin products going on 2 1/2 years now.

  4. AC says:

    So far my best pregnancy finds have been Gap and Old Navy, with supplementation for nicer outfits/ items to wear during my one day a week in the office from Rent the Runway.

    The dresses from Old Navy and Gap have been thick enough to make me feel confident even when they’re a little more form fitting, and the price point doesn’t make me feel terrible for something that I’ll only use for 4ish months.

  5. Meghan says:

    All stretch mark preventing/recovery creams and oils are a lie. It’s the stretchy fibers of your skin being pulled and no topical is really going to fix that. (Citation: I was gifted a few and used them for moisturization only.

    Also maternity wear is the worst! My belly shifted depending on how the kiddo wanted to float around that day. Some clothes that worked in the morning did not work in the afternoon because she decided to hang out by my pelvis instead of my ribs. I honestly gave up and went empire waisted dresses or leggings and stretchy tops for the last three months. As academic librarian 9-months pregnant in August in DC I was beyond caring.

    • Anna says:

      Came here to say exactly this. Use whatever moisturizer works to keep the itchies away, but know that stretch marks are luck of the draw, so can’t be prevented by any product.

  6. Laura says:

    When pregnant I used normal moisturizer in the morning and at night I slathered myself from collar-bone to knee in coconut oil. It did stain my PJs but I didn’t get itchy skin or stretch marks.

    Also, REI has surprisingly good maternity yoga pants and an amazing return policy

  7. Rachel E says:

    This is very helpful. Thank you! I am just starting my second trimester and have of course seen all the Hatch marketing, but the high prices put me off it. Good to know it’s really not worth it. I did however order a skirt from Storq that is comfy and well-made and looks amazing. I will probably get a couple other pieces from them, so I recommend checking out that brand if you’re still looking for good maternity options.

  8. irmck says:

    I was terrified of belly stretch marks. I have horrible stretch marks on my hips from puberty, and I could not stand the idea of any more. I used a coconut oil lotion, “Everyday Coconut Lotion” by Allafia, and I am thrilled to report no belly stretch marks.

    My husband hated the smell, but it was one of the very, very few smells that didn’t bother me.

  9. Melissa says:

    Had the same disappointing experience with Hatch – size was off, it pilled and it was marketed as nursing friendly…nope, not for me. I tried not to spend a lot on maternity wear but I did splurge on a Storq “basics” bundle and wore it (leggings, cami, pencil skirt and t-shirt dress) nonstop through 2 pregnancies. I still wear the leggings, 7 months postpartum, bc they’re so comfy. FWIW I also had good luck finding dresses that worked during and post pregnancy at Anthropologie. So much of their stuff is loose and flowy – I was due Sept 1 in DC and those dresses got me through a hot, humid summer!

  10. Carolyn says:

    Hilarious. I agree with the target hatch line, it’s good quality and looks nice. However, the 3/4 sleeve top I bought was too short by 22 weeks or so.

    I bought two pairs of BDA leggings and while I did like them a lot, they were too tight in the belly (even to wear rolled down) by the time I was maybe 23 weeks. Disclaimer – I’m having twins – however I figured I’d make it at least till 30 weeks with them. I do think I will love them postpartum though – they will definitely suck me in and support at that point.

    Favs for me – Isabel maternity at target, Zella maternity leggings, and I really like old navy maternity clothes in general. I had a pair of secondhand Paige jeans my first pregnancy and loved them, but they don’t work for this twin pregnancy. Overall, I’m living in leggings and Isabel target long tanks with some kind of open cardigan.

  11. Annette says:

    I got one hatch tank dress (thank you gilt) during my pregnancy- fit perfectly and was a great going out to dinner dress to offset the rest of my very schlubby pregnancy wardrobe. Was totally worth it and resold it on eBay. The buyer was really upset by the sizing. Guess I lucked out!

  12. Anna says:

    Haha, I’m glad I just ordered a pair of Motherhood Maternity leggings on a whim two days ago! I’ve only gained about five pounds but somehow developed nasty-looking varicose veins and the compression version of their leggings came up in my search for compression socks. Hoping they’ll fit now and as the belly grows.

  13. S says:

    Gap old navy and loft but you have to but every season early bc they sell out. ASOS. Jcrew seraphim e belabunbun and all the bras at Nordstrom and send 90% back.

    ALSO RENT THE RUNWAY 4 a month plan. Also you’d be shocked. A brand you love at 20 weeks you will hate at 34.

    Lotion can make a difference for stretch marks but if it’s going to work it probably won’t matter the brand. Just keep the skin as moist as possible.

    Compression socks and tights for the end. And girdles for the end. Weight is not your friend at the end. You can reuse good girdles post partum too.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Really great quotes in today’s NYT from you, Abra!

  15. CitrineDC says:

    I love these SIOS reviews! When I was pregnant (almost 10 years ago!) I had a lot of luck with Pea in The Pod at Macy’s. Lots of good basics for my then business casual office wardrobe, usually on sale. I gave most of it away to one of my daughter’s school teachers when she became pregnant.

  16. C says:

    Basq skin care (specifically the stretch mark butter) was the only thing that worked for me when I was pregnant; everything else (esp Palmers) resulted in dry skin or an itchy rash. I swear by this stuff. It was amazing. (They sometime have Buy 1 get 1 free sales)

  17. TheLOOP says:

    I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy that has you all out of effs to give or you are just over it all, but this review is deliciously scathing and I am here for it! More please 🙂

  18. Bridget says:

    I’m an M-L sized person, and had good luck using a hair tie (IYKYK) and a belly band during 1st and 2nd trimesters to make existing pants work for me. After I truly outgrew my regular clothes, I used H&M and Target maternity lines for the basics. Taking advantage of consignment stores for work clothes made sense for me working in a fairly casual law firm, but the pickings can be slim. I fully admit to still wearing some of those maternity t-shirts 3 *ahem* YEARS after my youngest was born. The items I splurged most on were nursing-friendly tops, and at 2+ years of nursing for each kid, easily the best bang for the buck (but obviously I had no idea in advance how long I’d end up needing them).

  19. Caroline says:

    Mama Mio Tummy Rub Oil was a lifesaver for me. I don’t know that it will prevent stretch marks – that feels like luck and genetics. BUT, it made my belly feel SO MUCH BETTER and it sank it pretty quick so it didn’t stain my clothes. I just hung out for a few minutes to let it fully sink in. It became a nice little pre-bed ritual. I put it on every night before baby and after as my skin was healing and attempting to shrink back to some version of normal. As for maternity clothes – they are almost uniformly terrible in my opinion. I bought a lot of extra large button downs, flowy dresses and wore my husbands sweaters. I did find STORQ items to be worth it. Cute T shirt dress and Skirt. Very comfortable leggings.

  20. CHERYL says:

    Sweet Almond oil, mixed with 20% Vitamin E oil, was my ‘belly oil’ application throughout two pregnancies. It would take about 15-20 minutes of massage each morning, and again in the evening, for my skin to absorb it. I do not have stretch marks, nor does my sister who also used it. Takes time, but it was worth it in the long run. And neither of us suffered the ‘belly itch’ so common in later pregnancy. And we were careful to follow a good diet with whole grains, fruit/vegetables, milk, prenatal vitamins, and yes, unprocessed red meat, as the body utilizes the 21 readily nutrient-available amino acids in red meat to grow cells. It wasn’t a ‘steak a day’ but 4-6 ounces daily included in our diet was sufficient. Skin is grown from the ‘inside out’.
    I don’t know if this works for everyone, but our mom and aunts had stretch marks, and we don’t. The oil is a much cheaper alternative to the beauty brand concoctions. Worth the ‘self-care’ time. Good luck with it, and hope it works for you.

  21. Anne says:

    I’m so glad to read this! I was very drawn to Hatch clothes during my pregnancies but couldn’t pull the trigger with that price point. I stuck with Gap and Old Navy, and a few work pieces from J.Crew. The Hatch clothes really do look chic though.

  22. Tara ColLins says:

    I’m going to be that one reader to say… I actually love the Hatch belly oil. Consider it a hot take, but it’s worked really well for my skin during pregnancy (currently 34 weeks). I also layer Trader Joe’s coconut body butter on top after it’s dried a few times a week for extra moisture. I know everyone’s skin is different, but it’s helped mine. There’s been days when I see the verrrry beginning of marks and then slather on oil and it seems to help soften them! Just wanted to offer another perspective.

    • Laura says:

      I also loved their oil! I continue to buy it post-pregnancy because I enjoy the scent and product so much.

  23. danielle says:

    I absolutely love Earth Mama Belly Butter! I tried a bunch of things with my first pregnancy, and this was my favorite by far and the only thing I’m using with my second.

    Maternity clothes-wise, I like Pink Blush for cute dresses. Some people say the quality is so-so, but I’ve had no issues with quality. Otherwise, I’m in Target or Old Navy.

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