The Best Postpartum Underwear For Easing Into Life As A New Mom

by Kate Antoniades
Originally Published: 

If you’re pregnant and haven’t cracked open any of your pregnancy books yet, you may not know about the joys of postpartum underwear. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section, you will experience postpartum bleeding (called lochia), and that’s why postpartum underwear is a great thing to have in your postpartum kit or hospital bag. They come in different styles and sizes, but the best postpartum underwear will feel comfortable and comforting at a time when it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Do I need to buy postpartum underwear?

If you give birth at a hospital, you’ll be given the infamous disposable mesh underwear. (Feel free to snag a bunch to take home!) You may find that you don’t like how it feels, however. “The many seams, extra mesh, and material that rolls and shifts can be uncomfortable, though for a few days this can be an excellent start,” says Samantha Spencer, PT, DPT, a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic and perinatal care and serves as a medical advisor at Aeroflow Breastpumps.

In that case, you can use store-bought disposable underwear. “Disposable underwear … can be valuable in the early postpartum days for managing heavy blood flow without destroying your usual underwear,” says Spencer. “Disposable underwear specific to postpartum also generally offers 360-degree stretch without tight waistbands.”

You may prefer to wear reusable postpartum underwear — and you’ll find a lot of options. Spencer says to look for soft, breathable, and stretchy materials that won’t press on a C-section incision, if applicable, and to avoid fragrances and dyes as well as pinching waistbands or leg openings. Size is important, too. “Some moms purchase a size up to allow for swelling and changing body shape, pads, or ice packs, and/or incision recovery,” she says.

By the way, make sure to check with your FSA and HSA providers, because some postpartum underwear qualifies as an eligible expense!

How long will I need postpartum underwear?

Answer: It varies. As Spencer explains, postpartum bleeding is heaviest during the first few days after a vaginal delivery, and your postpartum underwear will be most helpful during the first week. The bleeding should taper off within three to six weeks, she says.

You may decide to stop wearing disposable underwear after those first few days, or you may want to keep them handy for several weeks, or even months. “Many [moms] choose to step down to inexpensive cotton underwear with a pantyliner or pad as bleeding slows and life returns to normal,” says Spencer.

What kind of underwear is best after a C-section?

Spencer recommends that new moms wear disposable mesh undies or C-section-specific high-waisted underwear for protection, support, and comfort. If your C-section incision is irritated by typical underwear after the initial healing period (and you’ve confirmed with your doctor that everything’s normal), try high-waisted styles or styles with a super low waist.

Is compression underwear safe postpartum?

Postpartum compression underwear can be a good choice for some moms. “Benefits include light support to the pelvic floor and abdomen which can help with perineal swelling, sensations of weakness or heaviness, and protection to a C-section scar,” says Spencer.

She recommends stretchy styles that provide full coverage of your abdomen and pelvic floor and advises against anything stiff or rigid and any styles without pelvic floor support.

Here are our top picks for the best postpartum underwear — all reviewed for safety by Spencer.

Best Postpartum Underwear

Best Postpartum Disposable Underwear

Postpartum Compression Underwear

Postpartum Underwear C Section


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