As your belly expands along with the rest of you, wearing your old underwear will become increasingly difficult.
Just remember you’re basically squeezing two people into that pair of underwear now, not just one.
So don’t feel bad about outgrowing your favorite lingerie — you’ll be back in it soon enough.
For now, you need to find the best maternity underwear you can. You’ll be spending a lot of time in them over the next few months so you don’t want anything that’s going to be uncomfortable.
When to Start Wearing Maternity Underwear
There’s no hard and fast rule as to when you should make the switch. Some women gain a lot of weight right from the beginning of their pregnancy, but others only pile on the pounds in the last few months. Maternity underwear can help you feel more comfortable when you’re in late pregnancy.
Women who were at a healthy weight before their pregnancy began should expect to gain anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds while they are pregnant (1). A woman with a healthy weight won’t gain much during her first trimester of pregnancy — only about 2 to 4 pounds. After that you’ll usually gain about a pound a week.
So while you probably won’t need maternity underwear for the first few months, you might want to have some ready to go once you hit your last trimester.
Women who are overweight before pregnancy don’t need to gain more than 15 pounds (2). If that applies to you, you may not even need maternity underwear.
How Many Pairs Will I Need?
That depends upon how often you want to do laundry, but remember that your energy will start to evaporate during your pregnancy.
So unless you’re certain you’ll have the energy to do laundry twice a week, you’ll want to make sure you have a week’s worth of underwear on hand.
When I was pregnant, I felt like I had been hit with a tranquilizer dart in the last trimester. I was so tired all the time, it was unbelievable. Some days, the thought of doing laundry seemed like an impossible undertaking.
Types of Maternity Underwear
If this is your first pregnancy, you may never have even considered pregnancy panties before. But like non-maternity underwear, there are more than a few options. Do a little research before you stock up to make sure your choice fits your lifestyle.
These are extra long and full to cover your bump, with the waistband hitting well over your navel, and if you’re heavily pregnant, perhaps up around your ribcage.
While not the most flattering styles, these are great for women wanting more support and coverage, or during winter when you don’t want an exposed bit of belly getting cold. They’re best for bigger bumps or preventing chafing if you don’t like the feeling of your belly against the rest of your clothing.
This style is a lot prettier and may even pass as a regular pair of panties when you’re not pregnant. Low-rise underwear is more lightweight and stays out of your way, but may not work for women who want the coverage and support of something sturdier. These styles are great for the earlier months and are often less visible under clothing.
Special Feature Underwear
Some companies make maternity underwear with extra absorbent panels for incontinence or simply to help you feel dry and comfortable as you go about your day. Others are built with heavy-duty support panels for bigger bumps, or “seamless” designs so you avoid visible panty lines.
Lastly, just because you’ve already made a baby, doesn’t mean you’re not still, uh, “trying.” There are some gorgeous maternity lingerie lines out there that can accommodate a bump while still making you feel sexy and beautiful.
Choosing the Best Maternity Underwear
When you’re shopping for maternity underwear, there are a few things you’ll want to think about:
- Style: To me, the low riders are the best bet because some days I didn’t want anything touching my stomach. Also, lowriders leave far fewer panty lines. But many women prefer high risers that cover and support their belly. It’s your choice.
- Size: You don’t just have to consider your current size, but you also need to calculate how many weeks you still have to go and how much weight you could potentially gain during that time. Some women gain far more than 35 pounds while they are pregnant — I’ve known some that gained 60 pounds. If you’re underweight to begin with or you’re expecting twins, you might gain a lot.
- Comfort: If you don’t want to go the granny panty route, there are a lot of fashionable women’s maternity underwear out there. Choose underwear that makes you feel good about yourself, whether they’re fashionable or just super comfortable. You’re doing a lot of hard work — you shouldn’t stress about your underwear.
The Best Maternity Underwear of 2020
Here are our favorite maternity underwear picks for 2020:
1. Giftpocket Under Bump
Cotton is a comfortable, durable fabric that washes well use after use. You’ll appreciate how stretchy cotton underwear can accommodate your expanding belly as you get closer to your due date. With cotton underwear you won’t have to worry about tight waistbands that hug your belly too closely.
These are made out of 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex, giving them superior stretch.
For women who find they want as little touching their bellies as possible, these sit on the low waist, giving you moderate coverage on your rear so you won’t have anything hanging out.
You’ll get three pairs of underwear in one pack and they’ll all be different colors. The material is really soft and breathable.
Because these sit under your belly, you won’t get the annoying problem of your underwear rolling down instead of it staying up over your bump.
2. Intimate Portal Under Bump Maternity Panties
When you’re wearing dresses while you’re pregnant, you need two things from your panties. You don’t want them to have a lot of visible panty lines, and you don’t want them to be so tight that you get a muffin top that grabs more attention than your belly bump does.
This very low rise underwear won’t give you panty lines when you’re wearing a dress. Thanks to these bad boys, your belly will be the star of anything you wear, not your undergarments.
Even if you’re carrying low, these will ride lower.
They come in packs of five or three, depending on which colors and patterns you choose.
For the safety and wellbeing of your baby, these have an interesting extra feature — they use a light color to line the gusset so you’ll be able to detect any spotting right away and alert your doctor if there’s a potential problem.
3. NBB Lingerie High Cut Maternity Panties
For women who don’t like low rise underwear, there are a number of over the bump choices out there. When looking for a high rise pair, you’ll want to find something that doesn’t gradually slide down. It needs to stay put so you aren’t constantly tugging it back up.
These will reach your belly button, and stay there. They won’t slip or slide. They also offer gentle support with a light band that won’t press uncomfortably into your belly. Made of cotton, these won’t feel hot or scratchy.
This brand is made to adjust to your ever-changing size and shape. They’ll keep expanding as your belly grows in late pregnancy, but after your baby is born, you’ll be able to wear them as postpartum underwear, too, where the support will come in handy yet again.
4. Kindred Bravely Under The Bump Maternity Underwear
When you’re looking for maternity underwear to wear with jeans, you don’t want anything too thick or else you’ll have bulges and telltale panty lines. You also don’t want your underwear to slide down because adjusting them while you’re wearing jeans is a literal pain in the butt.
Pregnant women can struggle with self-esteem issues as their body experiences rapid changes. As your belly grows bigger, you may feel you need to ditch your normal clothes for things you find frumpy. But you don’t have to!
This type of maternity underwear allows you to wear your favorite clothes, including jeans, without excess bulk and discomfort. With a low waist and ultra soft fabric, it conforms to the natural curves of your changing body.
The bikini style provides the coverage you’re looking for, especially during the third trimester, but fits smoothly underneath jeans and other pants.They’re available in packs of three and five.
5. Rosie Pope Seamless Maternity Hipster Panty
For the ultimate comfort when you’re pregnant, you may want to check out seamless underwear. Sometimes the raised seams can be irritating and that’s especially true if your underwear is tight. Pregnancy already comes with enough aches and pains without creating any more.
These are seamless so you won’t experience any uncomfortable rubbing from thick, irritating seams. They’re easy to take care of — you can just throw them in the washing machine.
They don’t look like a maternity item at all, and you’ll be able to wear these during your postpartum time.
A lace trim at the top gives it a feminine and stylish appearance. They come in seven different colors to choose from so you can wear a different color every day of the week.
6. Belevation Maternity Support Briefs
If you’re on your feet a lot during the day when you’re pregnant, you might need a little extra help. The strain of pregnancy can take a toll on your ligaments, hips and back. Sometimes just a little extra support can be enough to get you through the worst of the pain and discomfort.
If you’re in pain because of the weight of your expanding belly, you won’t care if your underwear looks like granny panties as long as it helps you feel better. That’s where this Belevation underwear comes in.
Made out of nylon and spandex, these are seamless so they won’t cause any uncomfortable rubbing on skin that’s already stretched out and itchy. They’ll also offer comfortable support without feeling like you’re wearing a suffocating pair of Spanx!
Nothing should be tight or uncomfortable in pregnancy-you want the best blood circulation to your body and your baby.
Editor's Note:Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
They ride up very high over your belly and will offer support for your lower back, too.
7. Motherhood Maternity Fold Over Brief Panties
A pair of fold over underwear works well at any point during your pregnancy because of its special multipurpose design. As your body changes, these panties adapt to meet your needs.
When your baby bump is still small, keep the underwear folded down to prevent unnecessary bunching. As your bump grows, you can fold up the top panel for support. Plus, it will still fold down and rest comfortably underneath your bump if you wish.
These panties are made of 95 percent cotton, 5 percent spandex, and feature a comfortable brief silhouette. Each pack comes with three pairs of underwear.
8. GEPAI 5 Pack Cotton Maternity Panties
You’re only going to be wearing maternity underwear for the last few months of your pregnancy and a few weeks afterward as you slowly work some of that baby weight off. This means you may not want to spend a fortune on something you're not going to use for very long.
During pregnancy, you start to accumulate a lot of things and it can take a toll on your pocketbook. This value pack of cotton maternity panties provide you with essential comfort without breaking the bank.
Each pair has a low rise, crossover design. They fit comfortably under your baby pump during any trimester without adding extra pressure or getting bunched up. The extra wide leg bands also mean they won’t cut into your thighs.
You get five pairs of underwear in a pack, each in a different color, making it a great choice for moms trying to stick to a budget.
9. ALC Seamless Knit
When you’re getting ready to go into the hospital to deliver your baby, you may want a set of disposable maternity panties to go with you. Childbirth is a miracle, but it can also be pretty gross. If you want to spare your regular underwear, you’ll need disposables that you can toss and forget about.
These disposables come in a pack of 15. They’re a good option for pre and post delivery in the hospital and they’re thin since, as a disposable, they only need to last you one wear.
These are lightweight, breathable and they’ll stretch to ensure your comfort, and they’re a perfect choice for holding post surgery dressings in place without applying too much pressure to them. That’s ideal for women who have stitches from C-sections.
The leg bands and the waist are soft elastic. While these are designed to be disposable, they can actually be reused for a while if you wash them by hand or in the delicate cycle.
10. Hanky Panky Women's Low Rise Thongs
Do you feel like you’ve lost your femininity and sense of style during your pregnancy? Reclaim your sexy self with these lace maternity thongs. Made of durable lace, they stretch easily to fit any body size and shape.
The v-front and v-back waistband is both flattering and comfortable. Because of the low rise, Our favorite part is the seamless look you’ll get when wearing your favorite fashionable outfits, including dresses, pants, and shorts. You’ll get a great boost of confidence as you capture the spirit of your old self and start to love your new self.
Each pack comes with five pairs of thong underwear, which should be hand washed to ensure they last throughout your pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
Our top pick for the best maternity underwear is the Giftpocket underwear. While it may boast one of the lower price tags, their quality is anything but low. They’re soft and have that great V shape for women who don’t like their underwear to rest on their bellies while they’re pregnant.
They’re even better value than they first seem since you’ll be able to continue wearing them after you have your baby and before you shed the baby pounds. They’ll hold up well in the wash without fading or shrinking.
No matter what underwear you end up selecting, just remember — the awkwardness or even pain you’re feeling is only temporary, and you’ll forget about most of it the minute you first look into your child’s eyes.