If you’re looking to give your leggings a bump-friendly upgrade, we’ve got the lowdown from the experts on how to shop for the best maternity leggings.
Maternity clothes can be a struggle. Chances are you don’t want to buy an entirely new wardrobe for your pregnancy – and although there are some items that you can still squeeze yourself into (hello smock dresses!) other pieces including the best maternity leggings, the best maternity jeans, and the best maternity bras will need a bit of an upgrade.
Comfort is key when it comes to maternity dressing and there is nothing more comfortable than your favourite pair of leggings. The main difference between maternity leggings and regular leggings is that they have an extra bit of fabric to support your bump and sometimes your back too. Some sit over the bump and high on the waist, whilst others can be folded down to sit underneath, depending on what you prefer. Leggings are an excellent investment too as they grow with you so you won’t have to keep buying new ones as you get bigger. Many can be worn postpartum so you really will get more bang for your buck with your leggings.
Whether you’re after a sweat-wicking pair for your pregnancy exercises or a stylish set to join in with pregnancy yoga, there are plenty of options to suit you and your bump’s needs. Incredibly versatile, leggings – especially black pairs – will go with everything from oversized shirts to casual tees, to chunky cardigans. Some are even smart enough to wear out in the evening, when styled right. Team a faux leather pair with a blazer and a silky blouse and you’ve got style and comfort nailed. The best maternity leggings are easy to tuck into boots and look just as chic with trainers or heels so whatever season or trimester you’re in, you’re guaranteed to get plenty of wear out of them.
How to choose maternity leggings
Maternity leggings are an integral piece in your maternity capsule wardrobe, so if you want your leggings to tick all the sartorial and practical boxes, it’s important to get it right when picking your pair.
Sizing – Getting the right size is a lot easier than you think with most retailers catering to your pre-pregnancy size. So if you’re normally a size 10, you will need to buy maternity leggings in a size 10, no need to size up. Due to their stretchy nature, most leggings will grow with your bump so you won’t even need to buy a new pair the bigger you get. Although with so many styles out there, we’re pretty sure you’re going to want more than one pair!
Over the bump vs under the bump – Leggings have a stretchy band that can go over your bump or fold down to sit underneath and whatever way you wear it, it’s mainly down to personal preference.
“Both styles are designed to fit securely and comfortably. It is a matter of personal preference as you may find you are better suited to one or the other,” explains Natalie Grant, Head of Design at maternity brand Isabella Oliver. “The over the bump style also gives higher coverage so it’s worth also thinking about outfits before purchasing. We recently surveyed our Isabella Oliver customers and we found that over the bump styles were the most popular option, however, every woman is different, so we recommend trying to find what works for you.”
Fit – Leggings are meant to be figure-hugging from the waist straight down to the ankle so they shouldn’t be baggy or loose anywhere. Due to their tight nature, you want to look for soft fabrics to avoid any irritation on the skin. Seamless styles are an added bonus if you want ultimate comfort. “Tight-fitting clothes are fine to wear during pregnancy and can offer soft, comforting support but they should never feel too tight or restrictive around your bump,” adds Natalie.
Comfort – Leggings are designed to be comfortable but there are a few important factors to look for if you really want your leggings to feel like second-skin. It’s worth noting that the thinner and more natural the fabric, the better they’ll be at keeping you cool in hot weather during pregnancy.
A high amount of elastane will help with stretch and seamless styles will be super soft on your skin. If it’s workout leggings you’re after, you want to keep an eye out for sweat-wicking and quick-drying fabrics to avoid irritation. “Key things to look for are performance, comfort, sustainability, style, and longevity,” says Natalie. “If you are looking for a legging for a workout, you should look at sports leggings.”
Value for money – Maternity leggings range in price from a purse-friendly £10 to nearer £100 for faux-leather styles. Whilst there are some budget-pairs that do the job, if you’re after long-lasting comfort, then it’s worth splashing the cash. Investing in a decent pair of leggings will mean they last longer, well into postpartum too.
Where to shop for the best maternity leggings
These are the key brands to browse for the best maternity leggins:
The best maternity leggings 2021
If you’re in the market for a new pair of maternity leggings, then we’ve done all the hard work for you and scoured the shops for the best pairs out there for comfort, support, and style.
We used pregnant testers at different stages of pregnancy to see how each pair fits, whatever the size of your bump. Our testers went about their day-to-day activities from light workouts to Netflix-marathons to see how the leggings performed. We checked for key things such as fit, whether they went bobbly, survived the wash, retained their shape and survived the squat test without going see-through. Safe to say, we put them through their paces.
1. New Look Maternity Black Jersey High Waist Leggings
Best maternity leggings on a budget
Sizes: 8-20 | Material: 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane | Care: Machine washable | Available in black
Looking for an easy everyday pair? This simple style from New Look is a purse-friendly purchase that does the job.
“The material is super soft on my skin, making them easy to wear all day long without any discomfort. With little compression, they aren’t overly supportive around the bump area, so they would probably be better suited for smaller bumps or earlier on in your pregnancy. After washing them a few times, they didn’t lose their shape so I got plenty of wear out of them. For under a tenner, they are excellent value for money,” says Laura Wells, who is six months pregnant.
2. M&S Maternity Over Bump Leggings
Best maternity leggings with inclusive sizing
Sizes: 6-22, short, regular and long | Material: 94% Viscose, 6% Elastane | Care: Machine wash at 40 | Available in black and navy
With an extra high waist, these leggings fit over a growing bump comfortably and are super easy to get on and off. With a wide size range from 6-22 as well as different length options – short, regular and long – it’s easy to find the right fit. Customers rate them high on comfort and our tester did too.
“I love the high waist on these leggings. Towards the end of the day, the leggings do start to over-stretch a bit but they generally stayed in shape. They also passed the squat test without going see-through,” says Sarah Gannon, who is four months pregnant.
Also available in navy if you want an alternative to classic black.
3. JoJo Maman Bebe Black Bump Support Maternity Leggings
Best maternity leggings for over the bump
Sizes: XS-L | Material: 93% Polyamide, 7% Elastane | Care: Machine wash at 40 on a delicate setting | Available in black
This pair has clever ribbed construction for extra support across the tummy and the lower back and our tester fell in love with them.
“These leggings feel super supportive on my bump and my lower back too which is an added bonus! They are incredibly comfortable to wear – especially if you are towards the end of your pregnancy and have a bigger bump. My favourite part is that they are seamless, which really adds to the comfort and helps them to feel like a second-skin. Completely opaque, they don’t go see-through and they keep their shape after washing. I don’t want to take these ones off!” says Laura.
4. Frugi GOTS Organic Roll Top Maternity Leggings
Best maternity leggings for under the bump/that fold down
Sizes: 8-18 | Material: 95% Organic Cotton, 5% Elastane | Care: Machine washable | Available in black
If you’re after an under-the-bump fit, this pair from Frugi is a great option. Crafted from organic cotton, the material is soft and comfortable on the skin with seam-free legs too.
“These are slightly thicker than the other leggings I tried, so they are great for the colder months and for layering under tunics and dresses for extra warmth. Their thickness also means that they don’t go see-through either, passing the squat test with flying colours. I think they would probably be too hot to wear in the summer though,” says Laura.
Incredibly versatile, the roll top means you can wear them over the bump as well as for extra support postpartum. A good all-rounder.
5. Natal Active Luxe Maternity/Postnatal Leggings
Best maternity leggings for postpartum
Sizes: XS-XXL | Material: Polyester/Spandex mix | Care: Machine Washable | Available in blue and pink
These jazzy leggings really do tick all the boxes. Crafted from a luxe, sweat-wicking fabric they can be worn over or under the bump, making them ideal for postpartum too. The low waistline has been designed to avoid irritating any c-section scars and the over the bump panel helps to support the bump, back and hips.
“Although these are designed to be workout leggings, they are definitely stylish and comfy enough to wear every day. I admit, I didn’t always exercise in them. I really love the bright blue hue for a pop of colour and it makes a nice change from black. They also have pockets which are very handy.” says Laura.
6. Mamalicious Mlamaja Maternity Leggings
Best maternity leggings for exercise
Sizes: S-XL | Material: 70% Nylon, 20% Polyester, 10% Elastane | Care: Machine wash | Available in black
Whether it’s pregnancy yoga or a gentle walk around your local park, these leggings have got you covered.
“Like most workout leggings, these require a little more effort to get on but once I had them on, they have a super snug fit, almost like tights. They hold their shape throughout the day and feel very supportive during a pregnancy yoga session,” says Sarah.
Made from recycled nylon, they are stylish enough to wear every day too so you can go straight to your post-workout brunch date. The animal-print panels add a bit of interest to the simple black hue for extra style points.
7. Boohoo Women’s Maternity Premium Over the Bump Legging
Best black maternity leggings
Sizes: 8-16 | Material: 95% Polyester, 5% Elastane | Care: Machine Wash | Available in black
Another budget-friendly pair, these over-the-bump leggings will be your go-to for lounging about the house.
“These leggings are lightweight and comfy but not overly supportive with no compression. They would be better suited for smaller bumps as they feel a little tight on my six-month bump. However, they do retain their shape after washing so I’m sure I will be able to get plenty of wear out of them. A good option for layering under dresses and for casual loungewear,” says Laura.
8. Spanx Mama Faux Leather Leggings
Best faux leather maternity leggings
Sizes: S-XL | Material: 87% Nylon, 13% Elastane | Care: Machine wash cold | Available in black
As you can imagine, our tester found these leather-look leggings a little tricky to get on. But once battled through, they look super sleek and stylish and great for an evening out.
“These are a bit of a struggle to get on! But I love how smart they are and they have a really good, tight fit. They have a comfortable waistband that supports my bump with light compression to help smooth my silhouette too. They feel pretty fancy so would be more suited for special occasions, rather than an everyday pair. A little pricey, but I think they will work for after pregnancy too,” says Laura.
Team with a silky blouse or a cami and a blazer for a chic dinner date outfit.
9. ASOS Design Maternity Legging in Blurred Animal Print
Best stylish maternity leggings
Sizes: 6-20 | Material: 95% Viscose, 5% Elastane | Care: Machine Wash | Available in animal print
Switch up your classic black for this snazzy pair. Perfect if you’re looking to make more of a statement with your leggings, these are easy-to-style and give a simple tee or knit added oomph.
“Theses are easy to get on and the fabric felt super soft against my skin too. They keep their shape well throughout the day but they go slightly see-through when squatting so not ideal for workouts,” says Sarah.
A fun and playful pair to add to your everyday collection.
10. Seraphine Black Bamboo over the bump maternity leggings
Best seam-free maternity leggings
Sizes: S-L | Material: 86% Viscose (derived from bamboo), 10% Polyamide, 4% Elastane | Care: Machine Wash at 30 | Available in Black, Grey and Navy
Made from natural bamboo, these leggings are very comfortable.
“This pair feels a bit like pulling on tights, both in texture and fit. They are seamless and soft on the skin, particularly round the bump area and they have a stretchy tummy panel for support over the bump too. They don’t appear see-through but they do sag a bit round the crotch area when walking so you might need to downsize,” says Sarah.
Available in grey and navy too.
11. Isabella Oliver Kerrison Maternity Leggings with LENZING ECOVERO
Best sustainable maternity leggings
Sizes: 4-18 | Material: 95% LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose, 5% Elastane | Care: Machine Wash at 30 | Available in black
When it comes to comfort, this stunning pair gets top marks.
“The planet-friendly material is so soft against my skin. The stretchy waistband offers lots of support around my bump area too. They keep their shape after multiple washes and wears, proving they will last throughout my pregnancy and beyond. They can go slightly see-through during the squat test but I’m so obsessed with how comfortable they are, I’m willing to let that one go!” says Sarah.