Leggings are arguably one of the best articles of clothing around, offering the comfort and ease of sweatpants while still being work-appropriate if paired with the proper top and accessories.
This versatility also makes leggings an amazing maternity wardrobe staple — they’re stretchy, soft, and super comfy.
But you need to make sure you pick the right ones for your body and stage of pregnancy. Otherwise, you could end up with a pair that are too tight, uncomfortable, sheer, or awkwardly loose.
We’ve scoured the world of maternity leggings and we’re confident we’ve found ones that’ll suit you perfectly.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Maternity Legging Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
What Should I Look For?
- Fabric: Nearly all leggings will be synthetic or partly synthetic as they need to be able to stretch. Cotton can be super comfy, but it can become see-through if stretched too far. Nylon-lycra will provide full coverage, but it may have more of a sheen. Choose a material that will provide both the coverage and the aesthetic you’re looking for.
- Thickness: Leggings come in all different opacities. Extra thickness not only provides coverage, but warmth. You can even get them lined in fleece. If you tend to run hot (as many women do during pregnancy) you’ll want to skip thick tights.
- Length: Leggings come in full-length or capri-length. If you’re self-conscious about your varicose veins, you may be more comfortable choosing something full-length.
- Washing Instructions: Check the care instructions. Many brands will tell you to hand-wash or hang-dry your leggings. Some must even be dry-cleaned. Make sure you choose leggings with care instructions that you’re willing to follow.
- Belly Panel: Some have a belly panel just like regular maternity pants. Others are designed to be worn below the belly. Still, others have a panel that you can either roll down or roll up, depending on your preference. Choose the style you most prefer.
The Best Maternity Leggings of 2019
Pregnancy isn’t a picnic. Some days, you’ll open your wardrobe and want nothing but the comfiest, softest, easiest outfit you can throw together in the shortest amount of time possible. Leggings have always been a low-maintenance godsend, but during pregnancy, they’re going to win an extra special place on your clothing go-to list.
1. PattyBoutik Shaping Maternity Yoga Leggings
Full and Flawless
The design of this belly panel prevents pressure on any specific part of the belly while the v-back prevents lower back strain. These leggings also act as gently shapewear, giving you a flattering figure while still keeping the comfort of leggings.
2. Motherhood French Terry Maternity Leggings
Comfort in Disguise
The thick material and pocket details make these look like real pants Belly Panel — but they’re actually comfy leggings. Nobody in the office will mind if you show up to work in this professional-looking pair.
3. Preggers Footless Compression Leggings
Clever 2-in-1 Option
If you’re at work all day, it can be hard to find time to put your feet up to try and prevent swelling, varicose veins, and muscle fatigue. Compression stockings help improve circulation in the legs during pregnancy and can help prevent these conditions — but with these leggings you won’t need compression stockings, because they function as both.
4. PattyBoutik Mama Shaping Capri Leggings
High Quality Must Have
These leggings have a 3D belly panel for a good fit instead of the simple stretchy fabric that some leggings have. The panel culminates in a v-shaped back for optimal support without extra fabric along with reduced lower back pressure.
5. Ingrid & Isabel Ponte Skinny Pants
Goes with Everything
These are so thick and deceptive that they’re even marketed as “pants.” But make no mistake, they’re leggings. They’ve got a pocket detail on the back and are flattering and form-fitting, but their viscose/nylon/spandex construction will keep you super warm and comfy.
6. Ingrid & Isabel Active Mesh Capri
Sporty and Stylish
These workout pants have a belly panel to hold them up and offer you support, but a v-cut in the back to reduce the amount of fabric on your torso and help keep you from overheating while you exercise. The synthetic fabric ensures they won’t be see-through, and the stylish design will keep you looking both fab AND fit.
7. Mothers Essentials Maternity Stretch Leggings
Stretchy but Supportive
These moisture-wicking leggings also offer good back and posture support, which is super important when you’re carrying extra weight in the front. They even come in both black and brown, so if you buy one of each you’ll have something to go with every top in your closet.
8. Motherhood Fleece Maternity Leggings
Lovely for Layering
Seamless, fleece-lined, and able to be worn either mid-belly or under the belly, these versatile leggings will keep you warm both during and after pregnancy. Plus they’re thick enough to avoid being see-through, so you can make sure your tush will be both warm AND covered.
9. Navy Pregnant Maternity Leggings
In the Navy
Super comfy, the synthetic construction of these leggings prevents them from being see-through. They will grow with you throughout your pregnancy, and can even be used after pregnancy while you’re still waiting to get back into your regular clothes.
10. CLOYA Active Maternity Capri Pant
Next Level Flex
The fabric on these pants stretches in four different directions, keeping it from pulling or fitting uncomfortably as it expands over your growing body. The stitching of the seam was designed to minimize chafe, and the nylon/spandex construction make these a great choice to wear to your fitness class.
11. Motherhood Maternity Crop Leggings
Lightweight Wardrobe Staple
The cotton construction on these pants makes them breathable, and the secret-fit belly panel will expand through several phases of pregnancy. The capri length will help keep you cool, and the cute silhouette will keep you in great summer style.
12. Three Seasons Maternity Capri Leggings
Designed to FIT
These cotton leggings will keep you cool along with the capri-length design. The waistband is also versatile, so you can either roll it up or roll it down depending on your preference. Because of this, you’ll also be able to wear it well into the postpartum period, making this an economical choice for the woman who wants to get as much mileage out of her maternity clothes as possible.
13. Motherhood Maternity Plus Size Maternity Leggings
Adjusts to Your Body
The jersey knit of these leggings make them super soft and comfortable, and the secret-fit belly panel was designed to grow with you throughout your whole pregnancy. And since they were designed for plus-sized women experiencing pregnancy, they’ll expand in just the right ways and keep you comfy even after your delivery.
14. Beyond Yoga Maternity Capri Leggings
For the Yoga Mamas
The polyester construction helps keep these opaque, while the full-belly panel offers you posture support and prevents your pants from sliding down during your workout. The super-stretch design will fit you throughout your pregnancy, and will even be comfy to wear home from the hospital.
15. Loving Moments Maternity Leggings
These leggings give you the best of both worlds combining the comfort of spandex with the strength of nylon. The fabric doesn’t bunch and sag, and the roll-proof waistband should stay right where you put it on your belly.
Leggings, Tights, or Yoga Pants?
Even though shopping for leggings seems simple enough, some confusing issues come up. Do you remember the whole “leggings are not pants” ruckus that happened on social media a few years ago? It brought to light the fact that some people were confusing distinct types of clothing — and to make sure you’re not doing the same, here’s what you need to know (source).
- Tights: Tights are hosiery that are in the same category of clothing as pantyhose, only thicker. They are intended to be worn under skirts or dresses — not tunics. They’re not as thick as leggings, don’t provide as much coverage, may be slightly sheer, and typically have feet like stockings. A general rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t be comfortable wearing your top, dress, or tunic WITHOUT tights, then it’s probably not appropriate to pair it WITH tights, either.
- Leggings: Leggings are form-fitting bottoms that are meant to be worn in conjunction with dresses, tunics, or long shirts. They provide more coverage than tights but are generally not intended to be worn with shorter shirts. While they do offer coverage and modesty, they’re not as thick as yoga pants and may still be a bit see-through when you bend over.
- Yoga Pants: Yoga pants are athletic wear. Originally designed as stretchy, comfortable bottoms to be worn while practicing yoga, they have arguably become the new “mom uniform” due to their ease and comfort. They provide enough thickness so your backside is adequately covered and may be paired with shorter shirts if you’d like. While all yoga pants are fitted through the bottom, hips, and thighs, some flare out at the bottom while others remain tight all the way down the leg. This style is most commonly mistaken for leggings, though most athletic wear contains a logo on the leg or thigh, making it tell-tale that you’re wearing yoga pants instead of true leggings.
Styles to Consider
- Over the Bump Maternity Leggings: Over-the-bump leggings and leggings with a belly panel offer extra coverage, support, and warmth. Some women find they stay up better than under-the-belly versions, too. If you’re early in your pregnancy you can choose one with a roll-down panel that will work for your in your postpartum days; if you’re late in your pregnancy you may prefer the full panel since a roll-up waist may not stretch enough to fit comfortably over your belly.
- Capri Leggings: Few things are as cute as an adorable summer dress or tunic, cropped leggings, and a cute pair of sandals. Choose capri leggings that are lightweight but thick enough to provide full coverage.
- Opaque Maternity Leggings: Nobody wants a wardrobe malfunction when they bend over. If you’re super concerned about coverage, opt for leggings that are made of a synthetic fabric like polyester or lycra. While cotton is a wonderful fabric, cotton leggings have a greater chance of becoming see-through when stretched.
- Leggings for Exercise: You want to stay fit while pregnant, and your clothes need to help keep you motivated to go to the gym. That won’t happen if they’re hot, itchy, uncomfortable, or constantly falling down. Even though they’re technically a different type of apparel, choose yoga pants over leggings. They’ll provide better coverage and better functionality for your athletic endeavors.
- Leggings for Work: Leggings may get a bad reputation because of their association with loungewear, but if styled appropriately they can be perfectly acceptable at the office. The key to making them work-appropriate is to make sure your rear end is fully covered. Pair them with a classy dress or tunic, slip on some boots, and throw on a little jewelry and you’re good to go.
- Plus Size Maternity Leggings: If you’re a plus-sized woman, you don’t just want to choose any pair of leggings and assume they’ll stretch to fit your body. This can result in not only ill-fitting and uncomfortable leggings, but also the dreaded see-through bottom. Choose leggings that are designed specifically for the plus-sized body to ensure appropriate coverage.
How Can I Style Maternity Leggings?
The great thing about maternity tops is that most of them are pretty long to begin with, so you probably already have some items in your wardrobe that will pair with them nicely.
Generally, tunics, long sweaters, or dresses go great with leggings. Wrap a belt either above or below your belly to give you some shape, and finish off the outfit with either a cute pair of low-heeled riding boots or comfy sandals, depending on the season.
How Many Pairs Do I Need?
Your style preference will dictate the number of maternity leggings you’ll need. They’re available in a wide array of colors, but because of their versatility we recommend at least two in basic black — one to wash, and one to wear.
If you love leggings and wear them daily you may want more so you’re not always doing laundry, and if you love bright colors you’ll want to expand your collection to reflect your personality.
Things to Remember
One of the downsides of leggings is that most manufacturers recommend that you hang them to dry rather than throwing them in the dryer (source).
This is a little inconvenient, but it’s important these instructions are followed to avoid shrinking your leggings — because if there’s one thing a pregnant woman does NOT need, it’s for her clothes to shrink. Pay close attention to the care instructions of your leggings and follow them exactly.
Plus, there’s that phenomenon that happens as you approach the end of your pregnancy: your belly gets bigger and bigger… and your shirts get shorter and shorter.
When your tush is no longer enjoying full coverage by the tunics that used to hit you mid-thigh, you want to make sure you’re not inadvertently putting on a show for anyone in the vicinity.
Similarly, you may enjoy the full-coverage belly panel for support when you initially start wearing maternity clothes, but by the end of your pregnancy, your belly may be so itchy that a panel will irritate it further, prompting you to switch to an under-the-belly style waistband.
I think we can all agree that pregnant women deserve comfort, and when we can combine comfort AND style, it’s a win for expectant mothers everywhere. Leggings are the optimal wardrobe item in any season — whether you’re expecting or not. What’s your favorite thing to wear with your leggings?