As our bodies change during pregnancy, so too does our wardrobe. Our belly expands, and we quickly outgrow our pre-pregnancy pants. But sometimes there’s a period when maternity pants don’t yet fit.
And then, as your pregnancy progresses and you near your due date, you may find your belly has grown to the point where it no longer fits well in maternity pants.
So, what’s the solution?
Pregnancy pant extenders are great for filling the gaps when maternity clothes don’t fit well. We’ve researched the various types and reviewed our favorites to keep your pants fitting throughout pregnancy and beyond.
- Available in cotton or bamboo fabric
- Snug enough to hold unbuttoned pants
- Created by a mom of six
- Adjustable for pregnancy & postpartum
- Includes two styles of pants extenders
- Smaller button is better for some pants
- Elastic extender moves with you
- Includes elastic-waisted pants option
- Comes in a range of button styles
- Made of different fabrics & colors
- Our Top Picks
- Types of Pregnancy Pant Extenders
- How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Pant Extenders
- The Best Pregnancy Pant Extenders of 2021
- Pregnancy Pant Extender Comparison Chart
- What’s the Difference Between Pregnancy Pant Extenders, Support Belts, and Postpartum Bands?
- How to Make Your Own Pregnancy Pants Extender
- The Bottom Line
Types of Pregnancy Pant Extenders
There are two kinds of pregnancy pants extenders:
The extender style acts as a bridge between your button and buttonhole. They hold the top of your unbuttoned pants or maternity jeans together so they stay up but give you an extra inch or two around the waist.
A belly belt (sometimes called a belly band) can be worn with or without a pants extender. It’s like a stretchy tube of fabric that holds your jeans up and covers any area exposed by the gap in your open pants.
How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Pant Extenders
When shopping for pregnancy pants extenders, we always consider the following:
Do you want extenders that bridge the gap, or would you prefer a belly belt that provides full coverage?
Consider the material and thickness of a belly belt, especially in the summer when extra fabric or synthetic materials can make you even more hot and uncomfortable than you may be already.
Pants extenders tend to come in one size, while belly belts are usually sized small, medium, large, etc. If you are buying a belly belt, choose the same size you would purchase for your pre-pregnancy clothes.
Most pregnancy pants extenders are basic and don’t look especially appealing. However, some of the best pregnancy pants extenders now have a more attractive cover piece to blend in with clothing and look more like an intentional element.
Belly belts usually come in black, dark blue, white, or another primary color option. They can be used to give the look of another layer peeking out from under your clothes.
The Best Pregnancy Pant Extenders of 2021
Combining the above elements with personal experience, these are our five favorite pregnancy pants extenders.
1. Maddie Moo: 3 Belly Band Clothing Extenders
Maddie Moo belly bands are snug enough to cradle your bump and stay in place but not so tight as to feel constricting or uncomfortable. If you are sensitive to scratchy labels or thick, uncomfortable seams, you’ll particularly like that these belly bands are seamless.
The cotton version comprises 98% cotton and 2% spandex which ensures there is just enough stretch. It also means you are less likely to sweat and overheat than you would be with another version with a lower percentage of cotton.
Meanwhile, the bamboo fabric version is even less likely to make you sweaty and has the added advantage of being a material that wicks moisture away from your body. It’s also less likely to wrinkle than cotton.
These belly bands come in sets of three. There is a trio of color combos from which to choose; black, white, and grey; black, white, and tan; or black, white, and navy.
- Available in either cotton or bamboo fabric.
- Three-pack offers value and flexibility.
- Snug enough to hold unbuttoned pants up.
- It can be tricky to choose the right size.
|Material||98% cotton, 2% spandex or 98% bamboo, 2% spandex|
|Includes||Three belly bands|
2. Maeband: Pregnancy Pant Extenders
The Maeband is an award-winning pregnancy pants extender initially designed by a mom who didn’t have much to spend on maternity clothes. The designer and her mom experimented until they created the first version of the Maeband on their sewing machine.
These are now, of course, no longer made on their sewing machine, but the business is still owned and operated by the mom who started it. And she continues to make improvements to the belt.
The Maeband threads through a belt loop on one side of your button then passes through a belt loop on the other side. You then Velcro the band at a comfortable setting and wear your regular jeans comfortably for the rest of the day.
Because the Maeband is adjustable, it works all throughout pregnancy and has the additional benefit of allowing you to wear your regular pants sooner postpartum.
- Created by a mom of six.
- Adjustable for all stages of pregnancy and the postpartum period.
- It only works for jeans or pants with belt loops.
|Material||95% cotton, 5% spandex|
3. Gratlin: Seamless Belly Band with Pants Extenders
If you don’t know which pregnancy pant extender will be best for your clothing style, or if you want to keep your options open, this set from Gratlin is a great option.
You get two pants extenders and a belly band in the package, all of which come in your choice of black, white, or beige.
We particularly appreciate the smaller button on the pants extender, which made it more practical for pants with small buttons and buttonholes. Of course, the downside to this is that the buttonhole is a tight, sometimes impossible fit for some jeans.
The second issue is the synthetic fabric. While it provides plenty of stretch, security, and support, we found that it made us feel hot and clammy on some days. A cotton fabric would be more breathable.
- Includes two styles of pants extenders.
- Smaller button is better for some pants.
- Sizes run a little small.
- Buttonhole in pants extenders is small.
|Style||Belly band & pants extender|
|Material||86% polyamide, 14% spandex|
|Includes||One belly band, two pants extenders|
4. Fertile Mind: Belly Belt Combo
A pregnancy pants extender with a twist, this model from Fertile Mind dresses up the standard, elasticated bridge between button and buttonhole. It also addresses the issue of the funny triangle of belly flesh that is exposed when you use a standard pregnancy pants extender.
The secret sauce in this kit is a set of three bib-shaped pieces of fabric. You can use the pants extenders with or without the bib. If you choose to use them with the bib, you simply thread the extender through the tunnel at the top of the bib and button your pants with the fabric inside.
The bib covers the extender, making it way less noticeable, and any areas of flesh exposed within the gap.
There are two pants extenders included for button-fastening pants and two for elastic-waisted or clasp-closure pants.
- Elastic extender moves with you.
- Includes an option for elastic-waisted pants.
- Fabric bib can get bunched in some pants.
|Material||95% cotton, 5% lycra|
|Includes||Two button & two slide fastener extenders, three “bibs.”|
|Sizes available||One size fits all|
5. Willbond: 19 Pieces Waistband Extender
Willbond pants extenders are a short-term solution. They are ideal to tie you over until you can purchase maternity clothes. They are useful for the end of pregnancy, when you may need an extra inch or two in your maternity pants. Some women also wear them after delivery until they fit their pre-pregnancy wardrobe.
This pack contains four denim pants extenders: grey, black, dark blue, and light blue. There are also five black elastic extenders and ten button-and-loop extenders in various colors and designs.
The button-and-loop set helps provide another inch or so of wiggle room. The fabric or denim strip pants extenders are adjustable and expand the waist of your pants by up to three inches.
- Comes in a range of button styles.
- Made of different fabrics and colors.
- Limited useful life.
- Looks odd if a shirt doesn’t cover it.
|Material||Cotton, denim, nickel, rubber|
|Includes||19 pants extenders|
|Sizes available||One size fits all|
|Maddie Moo: 3 Belly Band Clothing Extenders||Best Four-Stage||Belly belt||98% cotton, 2% spandex or 98% bamboo, 2% spandex||3 belly bands||S–XXL|
|Maeband: Pregnancy Pant Extenders||Best Mom-Designed||Pants extender||95% cotton, 5% spandex||1 Maeband||S–L|
|Gratlin: Seamless Belly Band with Pants Extenders||Best One-Piece||Belly band & pants extender||86% polyamide, 14% spandex||1 belly band, 2 pants extenders||S–XL|
|Fertile Mind: Belly Belt Combo||Best Bib-Style||Pants extender||95% cotton, 5% lycra||2 button & 2 slide fastener extenders, 3 “bibs.”||One size fits all|
|Willbond: 19 Pieces Waistband Extender||Best Short-Term||Pants extenders||Cotton, denim, nickel, rubber||19 pants extenders||One size fits all|
What’s the Difference Between Pregnancy Pant Extenders, Support Belts, and Postpartum Bands?
- Pregnancy pant extenders connect the button and buttonhole of your pants so you can continue to wear your regular clothes when your belly is too big to close them.
- Pregnancy support belts, which are sometimes called pregnancy belts, wrap around your waist and support your bump, relieving pressure on your pelvis and back.
- Postpartum bands are adjustable elastic wraps that go around your belly from hips to ribs (1). Although there is no medical evidence to support their use, some women feel more support and less back pain while wearing a postpartum band.
How to Make Your Own Pregnancy Pants Extender
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, this tutorial from Maternity Sewing tells you exactly how to make a good quality pregnancy pants extender (2).
If you’re more like me and are hapless with a sewing machine, you can still make your own simple pregnancy pants extender by using the hair elastic hack.
The Bottom Line
The best pregnancy pants extenders let you stay in your existing clothes for longer while accommodating your growing belly and allowing you to remain comfortable for longer.
The exact style of pants extenders you choose will depend on what style of pants you wear, where you want to wear your pants, and even your climate.