Maternity wear is important during pregnancy, even in the first trimester, as your changing shape needs clothes that can adapt to it. With your rapidly expanding belly, nausea, backache, and swollen ankles, what you wear during pregnancy needs to support just how much harder it is to move around and even simply get dressed in the morning.
Most mums-to-be agree that the one item of mat-wear they can’t live without is maternity leggings. They’re the most comfortable and practical piece of clothing you can wear during pregnancy and beyond. They’re easier to get on than a pair of jeans, and they can even look great too.
The magic of maternity-style leggings is in that extra bit of fabric at the waistband that goes over the bump, or is folded down to sit comfortably underneath. A good pair of leggings is the perfect investment during pregnancy, and one that will be utilised many times over, but which of the many available options are the best?
We’ve reviewed and tested some of the best maternity leggings around and also provided a brief guide on what to look for when shopping for them.
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Best maternity leggings: At a glance
How to choose the best maternity leggings for you
While most major women’s clothing retailers offer a selection of maternity leggings, the quality can vary considerably from product to product. No one wants see-through, uncomfortable leggings that can start to split at the seams at the very first wash; we need soft, moisture-wicking, eye-pleasing wear to make us look and feel wonderful (even though we might be a little achy, sore and breathless).
What type of maternity leggings are there?
In addition to being available in various lengths (i.e., full, cropped, or shorts), maternity leggings usually come in two main styles: over- and under-the-bump.
Over-the-bump: This type of maternity legging incorporates a stretchy panel at the waistband that can be pulled over the entire bump with ease. Over-the-bump leggings can provide an extra bit of support for a growing bump and can keep you warmer during colder months too. These types of leggings often have a supported waistband to keep you as comfortable as possible when on the move.
Under-the-bump: Designed without the additional bump panel, this style of maternity leggings has a waistband that sits just under the bump and is made to expand as your bump grows. These make a good option for the warmer months when clothing starts to feel too hot.
There are also many under-the-bump designs that can double up as over-the-bump ones: the waistband sits underneath but can be pulled up and stretched over the bump if needed.
What material should I choose?
Whether you’re looking for a pair of maternity leggings for everyday use, for working from home or for exercise, there are a couple of key factors to keep in mind when it comes to their material and make-up.
Fabric: Depending on the type of legging desired, choosing a material that allows more stretch and air flow is recommended. At least a little bit of elastine is usually a must for the stretch-factor, and it’s advised to avoid materials that tend to make you feel sweaty or itchy after wearing them for a long time. While there may be many budget leggings available, it’s worth paying a little bit extra for a well-constructed pair; the point of maternity leggings is to buy them once and not to have to replace them a few months down the line.
Support: Maternity leggings should feel 100% comfortable and supportive with enough stretch. Some leggings are available with extra belly support, ideal for bumps that feel particularly heavy and back-straining. Since your bump will be growing each week (though sometimes it will feel like it’s growing by the minute), buying a size up from what you would usually wear might be a good idea. Though these leggings are typically designed to be bought in your own size, a slightly larger pair could add to the comfort.
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The best maternity leggings you can buy in 2022
1. H&M MAMA Seamless Leggings: Best maternity leggings for daily comfort
Price: £18 | Buy now from H&M
These H&M maternity leggings from the MAMA range are a popular item for many mums-to-be. The minimal seams on these microfibre leggings provide a more comfortable fit and increased mobility and the elasticated, ribbed, high-waist belly panel fits comfortably over the tummy. They have a soft feel and plenty of stretch, without being see-through, to last you through pregnancy and well into motherhood.
We love that you can style these pretty leggings with anything and, no matter how many times you machine-wash and tumble dry them, they retain that new feel. They have a timeless style and come in three colours – black, dark grey and dark greige – that go with just about anything. Plus, they can be worn for anything from exercising to just lounging about.
Key specs – Material: polyamide 91%, elastane 9%; Sizes available: XS-XXL; Machine washable: yes
Buy now from H&M
2. New Look Leather-Look Maternity Leggings: Best maternity leggings for date night
Price: £20 | Buy now from New Look
“Clothes that fit” are usually the only criteria on the list for most mothers looking for maternity clothes. But just because you’re pregnant, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Pregnancy clothes can be flattering too, as evidenced by these comfy and cool leather-look maternity leggings from New Look. Perfect for jazzing up a day outfit or wearing out on date night, these skinny-fit leggings have an elasticated waist that ensures optimal comfort.
Being a mother means you sacrifice so much of yourself for your family, which is why it’s nice, and really important, to have something that makes you feel good about yourself—even if it is just a piece of clothing. These stylish leggings fit the bill. They have elegant seams running down the front and back of the legs, are super shiny and look realistically leather