When you’re pregnant, dressing comfortably is key, especially during a workout. While it might sound obvious, Deb Flashenberg, the founder of the Prenatal Yoga Center in Manhattan, says to “make sure the clothes are breathable and that nothing is going to feel too constricting.” Still, while they shouldn’t be constrictive, pregnant women will need workout clothes that provide extra support for a growing belly and breasts. To find out the best maternity workout clothing for pregnant women, we spoke to Flashenberg and others who know a thing or two about such matters — including Pilates and yoga instructors, doulas, and some fit, stylish moms — about their favorite leggings, bras, and tops for expecting women to wear while working out. For good measure, we also combed our archives to supplement their recommendations with any truly excellent maternity workout wear we’ve written about before. We’ve divided the clothes by category, leading each section with the pieces that came up the most. Finally, while this list focuses on clothing, if you’re looking for accessories to wear with any of it, don’t miss our lists of the best women’s gym shoes and socks.
Best maternity workout pants and shorts
While they’re not technically maternity-specific, Lululemon’s Align pants are far and away the most recommended bottoms among those we spoke to. They’re available in a super-high and regular rise (which is still plenty high), and both styles — neither of which have a waistband — received praise. Tori Thain Gioia, a co-founder of pre- and postnatal vitamin company Perelel, wears the super-high rise, telling us they “grow with you throughout your entire pregnancy and postpartum.” Pilates instructor Anna Anderson owns multiple pairs and has worn them throughout her three pregnancies and beyond because they are so comfortable. “During pregnancy, I liked the feeling of wearing tight things with support but didn’t want them to be constricting,” she says. “These were the right balance. They feel like you’re wearing nothing, and yet they’re still supportive.” Tenia Skinner, a certified personal trainer and member of Mater Mea, a community for Black moms, agrees, saying that the Align pants “feel like a second skin” and were “so comfortable all 40 weeks.” Flashenberg, along with Carolina Gunnarsson, the founder of fitness boutique Fit Pregnancy Club; Strategist contributing editor Jessica Silvester; and this writer, also wore Align leggings throughout their pregnancies. As Silvester once wrote, their Nulu fabric is as soft as “ranunculus petals” and “the bear from Downy commercials.”
Unlike the Align pants, Bao Bei’s maternity leggings, which we heard about from three folks, are specifically designed for pregnant women. Gunnarsson and Mater Mea members Rachel Nicks Lyons (an actor, trainer for Mirror, and doula) and Erin Pasquet (a birth and postpartum doula, lactation counselor, childbirth educator, and yoga teacher) all told us about how supportive they are; according to Pasquet, this is because the brand was founded by a physiotherapist who is “incredibly passionate about properly supporting pregnant and postpartum bodies in a safe and functional way.” Of the leggings, Gunnarsson says, “They have a lot of support for the belly, and they’re also chic.” Pasquet says she “lived in the leggings” while pregnant, noting that she would also wear the brand’s belly support band for, well, extra support when teaching fitness classes. (Lyons told us about the band as well.) “It’s like a sports bra for your bump,” Pasquet explains. “Many other brands just use compression, which is not ideal for pregnancy.”
Gunnarsson and Lyons are also fans of these leggings from Beyond Yoga. “They’re very soft and not restrictive at all over the bump,” Gunnarsson says. Lyons agrees, saying that the full-belly-coverage tights are “supersoft and comfy.”
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