You want to stay healthy and active when you’re pregnant, but to do that you need proper workout clothes.
Trying to squeeze yourself into pre-pregnancy clothes or choosing clothes not designed for exercise can cause uncomfortable pinching, chafing, and even result in dangerous overheating.
The good news is we’re here to help keep you as fit, healthy, and comfy as possible.
Here’s how to pick the best maternity workout gear to keep you moving.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Maternity Workout Clothing Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
How Is Workout Gear Different From Leisure Wear?
There are a lot of jokes out there about how yoga pants have become the new uniform of pregnancy and motherhood. Because they’re comfy, stretchy, and forgiving, women have taken to wearing them both in and out of the home.
But while they’re commonly referred to as “yoga pants,” the truth is that very few of them are truly designed for use while practicing yoga. The same is true of other types of clothes — whether t-shirts, sports bras, or sneakers. Though they have some visual similarities, leisure wear and athletic wear are engineered very differently, and if you’re planning to exercise, it’s important to choose clothing that’ specifically designed for that purpose.
From cut, fabric, and design, athletic wear is designed for free movement during exercise.
Some of the benefits of athletic wear are:
- Free movement.
- Won’t cut off circulation.
- Form-fitting to prevent tripping.
Best Fabric for Maternity Activewear
It’s understandable you’d gravitate toward natural fabrics — especially when you’re pregnant and you only want the best — but if you’re planning to work up a sweat, synthetics are your best bet.
The reason is that synthetics tend to wick moisture away more quickly, preventing dampness, chafing, and overheating.
Here are some common fabrics you may run into:
- Cotton: Cotton is the gold standard in the clothing industry for comfort, especially since it’s an all-natural, renewable resource. However, the problem is that it stays damp and keeps moisture against the skin, so it’s not a good choice for workout wear if you’re planning to sweat it out.
- Wool: Wool is another all-natural material and this one does wick moisture well. However, it’s also known for trapping in heat. Wool is best used for mittens and ski socks; it’s a terrible choice if you’re hitting the gym.
- Lycra/Spandex: Lycra and spandex are actually the same man-made material. Comprised of at least 85 percent polyurethane polymer (source), it can stretch up to 600 percent of its size and wicks moisture well. It’s great for both comfort and performance while working out.
- Polyester: Polyester is another synthetic fabric that’s widely used for workout gear. It doesn’t absorb moisture, is lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, and durable (source). Its only drawback is that it can trap bacteria, so over time may develop an odor.
- Nylon: Yet another popular synthetic fabric, nylon wicks moisture, dries quickly, and is mildew resistant. It also stretches and recovers easily for a supportive, comfortable fit.
What Should I Look For?
When buying maternity clothes, look for the following:
- Developed for Maternity: With the only possible exception being sports bras, choose clothing that was specifically designed for athletic use during pregnancy. While your husband’s oversized t-shirts or your old pre-pregnancy yoga pants may technically fit, they won’t provide the same level of support or comfort.
- Fit: Choose clothes (especially pants) that are fitted close to the body. When wearing baggy leisure pants, you run the risk of tripping which is especially dangerous in pregnancy. The same goes for shoes; though slip-ons may be comfy on your ever-expanding feet, they don’t provide the same level of support and safety as a fully-fastening shoe.
- Seam Placement: Your clothes will be in direct contact with your skin, which may be getting extra sensitive — especially toward the end of pregnancy. Be aware of where they cut the seams, and if possible choose seamless or low-profile seams to prevent chafing and irritation.
- Fabric: Unless you’re doing a low-intensity activity like yoga, choose synthetic fabrics. They’ll help keep you dry and cool without feeling uncomfortably restricted. Well-designed clothes will also keep your blood circulating as normal and prevent you from overheating.
- Support: Choose clothes that have a good level of support for your breasts, belly, and back. Don’t expect nighttime camis to function as sports bras just because they’re stretchy, and don’t expect thin leggings to work in your step class if they don’t have a fully-functioning belly panel.
The Best Maternity Workout Clothes of 2019
Fatigue, mood swings, aches, pains, and the whole gamut of hormonal changes you’re experiencing may mean you sometimes don’t feel like lacing up your walking shoes or heading to the gym. But exercise during pregnancy has so many benefits that it’s worth keeping it up. Comfy, nice-looking workout gear goes a long way to making it all that little bit easier!
1. Mumberry Activewear Yoga Pants
These workout pants have a belly band that not only keeps your pants from falling down, but it also provides support, compression, and upward lift. Basically, it’s a lightweight belly band built right into your yoga pants, relieving back and joint pressure and helping you maintain proper posture. It even has a pocket in the back big enough to hold your smartphone!
2. Ingrid & Isabel Active Capri Maternity Pant
These capri-length workout pants will keep you from overheating with the shortened leg, and wick sweat away from your skin with the synthetic construction. The full belly panel provides belly and lower-back support, but the cutout in back allows you to have less fabric touching your skin and causing your temp to rise.
3. C & C C9 Champion Under the Belly Cardio Pant
For the Cardio Bunnies
These pants are polyester construction so they don’t retain moisture, and they have enough room that they won’t be constricting during your workout — but the leg openings aren’t so big that you will trip over them. They also sit under the belly, meaning you won’t have fabric rubbing on your bump and causing you to overheat while you’re working out.
4. Mumberry Maternity Workout Tank
One Piece Wonder
This workout tank has a built-in belly band to provide extra support during your sweat session — and it even comes with a guarantee. If it doesn’t offer you support, you can return it free of charge. It also includes a built-in bra to minimize the layers of fabric you have to wear, and is constructed of 4-way-stretch synthetic fabric that won’t chafe and will wick moisture off of your skin.
5. LWJ 1982 Seamless Maternity Shirt
Soft, Stretchy and Simple
This lycra/spandex top is soft and stretchy to cradle your bump and stay out of the way of your workout. It comes in a couple different color options, both which wick moisture away, keeping you cool and dry. And, for the more modest mama, the sleeves keep you more covered than your typical workout tank.
6. Bloom Maternity 'Workout Buddy in Progress' Tank
Most Adorable Slogan
This tank top is made of cotton so it’s not ideal for your most intense workouts, but we just couldn’t resist the adorable “Workout Buddy in Progress” lettering over the bump. For the fitness-loving mama, it’s a great addition to her wardrobe — whether at the gym or just lounging around the house on a Saturday.
7. Fittin Racerback Sports Bra
Boobs' Best Friend
This ultra-supportive racerback bra isn’t developed specifically for pregnancy, but will provide the extra care and support your breasts need during this time. It has Climacool technology, which helps maintain a comfortable temperature, and it also comes with removable breast pads for you to use (or not) depending on your preference.
8. AKAMC Removable Padded Sports Bras
Great for Smaller Busts
This bra is made of breathable and moisture-wicking fabric, while the criss-cross back makes a super style statement. It also has removable breast pads, and was developed just for moms and their unique support needs.
9. Aibrou Wirefree Maternity Bra
This soft, supportive bra has built-in nursing panels so you don’t have to sacrifice functionality for support. It is wire-free so it won’t cause discomfort while you’re working out, and also has built-in removable, washable breast pads.
10. Beyond Yoga Maternity Capri Leggings
HIgh Performance Fabric
These polyester/spandex capri leggings are thin enough to breathe but thick enough to cover your behind. They have a full belly band to make sure they stay in place during your workout, and come in three different colors to fit your personal style.
11. Cloya Active Maternity Capri Pant
These workout pants are constructed of a four-way stretch fabric so they will comfortably hug your belly, not constrict it. The belly band can be worn up or folded down, and the innovative flat-lock stitching minimizes chafe and irritation.
12. Ingrid & Isabel Active Mesh Capri
Something a Little Different
These pants have funky style with their lower-leg mesh cutouts and the mid-weight jersey weave is supportive and offers full coverage. They have a full belly panel to keep them hoisted while you’re doing squats, and are made of nylon — which means they not only resists moisture, but also odors.
13. My Belly Mama Cotton Shorts
Short and Sweet
These sexy, form-fitting shorts will hug your curves and won’t restrict your movement. They’re machine washable and dryable for easy maintenance, and their super-short length will keep you cool in the hottest temps.
14. YeeSure Maternity Mini Yoga Shorts
Pretty but Practical
These shorts have antimicrobial properties so they won’t trap bacteria and start to stink over time. They also have an adjustable internal waistband to customize the fit, and come with pockets for your convenience.
15. Motherhood Under Belly Maternity Shorts
Low and Out of the Way
The under-belly waistband on these shorts helps to keep you from overheating, and the cotton fabric keeps you cool by allowing your skin to breathe. The straight-leg design won’t hug your thighs like spandex, so they are a good choice for the woman who doesn’t want her workout gear to be so form-fitting.
16. PattyBoutik Mama Shaping Crop Yoga Pants
Cropped to Keep You Cool
The V-back on these workout capris not only increases airflow and reduces the amount of fabric that can overheat you, but the design actually helps support your belly and reduce lower back strain. And the 3D panel is engineered to help keep your pants from falling down by cradling your belly, not simply fitting over it like an oversized elastic waistband.
17. Ingrid & Isabel Active Capri Maternity Pant
The synthetic construction ensures that these pants are breathable and moisture-wicking, and their thickness ensures that your bum will stay fully covered. The belly panel offers both back and belly support, and can be worn up or down depending on your preference.
18. Three Seasons Maternity Yoga Pants
Loose and Lovely for Lounging
These yoga pants with a slight flare at the leg opening will allow you free movement without hugging your body. The belly band can be worn up or down based upon your preference, and they are machine washable for ease and convenience.
19. Lamaze Maternity Yoga Pants
Ultimate Relaxed Fit
These comfy pants have a hint of spandex, giving them stretching properties so you don’t feel constricted. They also have a relaxed leg so they don’t show off all your imperfections, and have a mid-belly panel that won’t cause you to overheat.
20. Cabea Baby Belly Band Sport Maternity Belt
Wear it with What You Have
This band was designed specifically for workouts, is latex free, and antimicrobial to prevent post-workout stink. It was designed by a female health professional to make sure it hits all the marks you need for adequate support, and is available in sizes up to XXL, meaning it will fit and function better than a “one-size-fits-all” belt.
21. Bentibo Maternity Belly Band
This support belt is made out of cotton, polyester and spandex, providing breathable support around your bump. Because it sits below your belly only, it doesn’t have additional material to cause you to overheat, and the gentle compression and firm support will help you maintain proper posture and also protect your back and abdominal muscles during a workout.
22. Kindred Bravely Pregnancy Panties
Under the Bump, Full at the Back
These bikini-style briefs won’t cause you to overheat since there isn’t extra fabric covering your midsection, and the full bottoms won’t ride up and give you a wedgie. Made primarily of rayon they’ll wick sweat and moisture from your skin, which will help keep you cool and dry during your workout.
23. KUCI Bamboo Fiber Maternity Underwear
Smart Eco Option
Bamboo is a great fabric choice for workouts because it’s all-natural and wicks away moisture while not trapping bacteria that can cause odor or infections. These briefs fit all the way over the belly so they won’t fall down while you’re active, and also offer a little bit of support to your belly in the process
24. Skechers Sport Empire Sneaker
These shoes have a bungee lace design, meaning you don’t have to be able to reach your feet to fasten them. Still, they are supportive and won’t slip off, and the fabric upper will allow your feet to breathe and allow a little “give” for feet that may swell a bit as pregnancy progresses. They also have Air Cooled memory foam so your feet don’t overheat, and a shock-absorbing midsole to help keep your joints happy.
25. Champion Women’s Gusto Cross Trainer
These comfy yet affordable shoes have a memory foam insole for good support and shock absorption, and a fabric exterior for easy cleaning and breathability. They do require you to tie them, but if you’re past the point in your pregnancy where you can comfortably tie your shoes, you can replace them with elastic ties and they become sporty slip-ons.
Your Turn Mama
Ladies, we all need to stay healthy, pregnant or not. But it’s hard to keep motivated if you’re in hot, scratchy, uncomfortable gear that bunches and rides up in all the wrong places. Get the right clothes to help keep your workouts on track, and it could help not only your energy levels, but also your postpartum recovery.
Do you have any workout secrets for when carrying your giant belly already feels like a workout? Do you recommend any tops and bottoms that are perfect for those of us keeping fit while pregnant? If so, share in the comments!