Whether you’re on your first pregnancy or your fifth, the best maternity underwear can make life as a mom-to-be (or new mom) a little easier. As your body grows and changes in unfamiliar ways, you may be ready to reach for breathable, comfy underwear that will offer extra give and won’t pinch and squeeze in all the wrong places. Aside from comfort and more wiggle room as you progress in your pregnancy journey, undies designed for your changing body can help you manage discharge, keep you cool during hot flashes, and give you one less thing to tug on during this strenuous time.
From maternity thongs to options for C-section recovery, there are plenty of choices available on the market, so we went to a trusted source for the most effective and chic recommendations: the cool moms of Instagram. These mamas—chefs, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and podcasters among them—dished on the undies they couldn’t live without during and after pregnancy. Shop the 11 best maternity underwear below, but first, get answers on common questions about them, courtesy of experts on all-things-maternity (a doula, an ob-gyn, and staffers from maternity brand Hatch).
What are the benefits of wearing maternity underwear?
When you’re housing a tiny human inside of you, comfort is a top priority. Maternity underwear is designed with new mamas’ well-being in mind, utilizing ultrasoft cotton and stretchy spandex to help quell the long list of pains and annoyances that plague most pregnancies at one point or another. Aside from that, maternity underwear can offer belly support for those who prefer full coverage and a snug baby bump, along with space for hygiene products like postpartum pads. “Maternity underwear help support the tummy and allow for the additions of postpartum feminine hygiene products—which are pads, as we do not encourage tampons in the immediate postpartum period,” explains ob-gyn and pH-D Feminine Health adviser Ruth Arumala, D.O.
In a time that’s full of change, chic and stylish maternity panties can keep you feeling like yourself when it’s easy to feel anything but. New York–based doula and Motherfigure advisor Robin Douthit points out, “Some women prefer to wear underwear that look and feel close to whatever they were wearing before pregnant, for example thong, boy-cut, high-rise, below-belly briefs. The idea is not always to change personal style, and varying designs make it possible to suit specific style preferences.” Luckily, with so many options available online, you don’t have to resort to frumpiness when making the switch to maternity clothes.
What is the best maternity underwear?
This depends on your unique needs and preferences, but there are key features to look for. Douthit recommends focusing on “how it feels against your skin. Soft cotton or bamboo is breathable and potentially more comfortable, especially in warm weather or when pregnant bodies heat up due to hormone surges. You’ll also want a comfy fit, not anything too ‘grabby’ in the crotch.” She also says “inner pockets to hold padsicles in place for a sore, just-gave-birth perineum are much-appreciated by a postpartum mama.” Douthit notes that trying one size up may offer a more comfortable fit.
Dr. Arumala recommends considering materials that are stretchy but able to maintain shape, a supportive waistband that’s fitted but not tight, seamless fabric for minimal panty lines and bulging (if that’s important to you), and fashionable styles to keep you feeling like yourself throughout each trimester.
When should you shop for maternity underwear?
“For many women in our community, we hear that right after the first trimester when the bump is out, they want to feel a little more pulled in and covered up with light compression and high rise,” explain experts from Hatch. “For others, they want to keep the bump out for more flexibly and prefer a gentle low-rise that will simply grow with them and their shifting hips.” You may find your preferences change as your belly does—for example, if the skin gets more sensitive, high-rise undies might become irritating, or they might shield your stretching tummy from clothes. Knowing your options now will make it easy to switch styles if you need to.
Dr. Arumula says the earlier, the better when it comes to maternity shopping because that way you’ll be prepped before your little one becomes all you think about. “It allows you to plan ahead without extra physical, emotional, and financial stress. It also allows you to do something specifically for yourself as most moms-to-be tend to hyper-focus on their new baby.”
All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.