“I don’t need maternity underwear,” you think to yourself as you shimmy a pair of pre-preggo panties over your widening hips. At a certain point, those seams will start digging into your growing belly or the undies will start rolling down your bump and you’ll have to hike them back up every five seconds. And those tags and anything itchy! Things that never bothered you before becoming pregnant are now a full-blown source of frustration.
Lucky for all of us, maternity underwear in 2021 is practical, comfy, and — dare we say? — cute! There are options, too: plus-size, full-coverage, bikini, and maternity thongs (gasp!), as well as over- and under-the-belly undies that you can even wear postpartum.
Now speaking of over and under, this is where the conversation gets personal. Do you want something low that hits under the belly, that feels like your pre-pregnancy undies? Or does something higher, that smoothes across the belly up to the bra, sound so much more comforting? It’s a serious debate, according to our friends at Peanut— an app that connects like-minded women throughout fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. 51% said over-the-belly is the way to go, while 49% said under is the only choice. From the under-belly team, we heard, “I hate anything at this moment that goes over my belly. Can’t stand it.” but from the over-belly team, especially after giving birth, mamas said, “Over! I had a C section and couldn’t imagine under!”
But no matter which pair you choose, it’s time to accept that maternity panties are a pregnancy essential, right up there with a decent looking delivery gown and bump-friendly leggings (because you’ve earned the right to wear pants without a button). Yes, you might have to retire your teeny-tiny underthings for a little while, but just think, you’ll save them from being stretched out.
Best Maternity Underwear According to Amazon Reviewers
See? Intimate Portal’s lace panties are pretty … a little bit sexy, even! (Not into lace? They have plain styles, too.) In short, they’re proof that maternity undies don’t have to be matronly. The under-the-belly design means no pressure on your growing bump, and they’ll even be comfy post-birth, especially if you have a healing c-section incision that you don’t want to irritate. Furthermore, these are made with soft Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex certified cotton, so they’re tested to be free of harmful dyes and chemicals. The final notable feature is the inner liner, which is light-colored so you’ll see if there’s anything unusual down there.
Though reviewers say you may need to size up (be sure to check out the brand’s size chart before ordering), out of nearly 7,000 reviews, 80% of them are 5-stars. “These were the smartest purchase of my entire pregnancy,” gushes a reviewer. “I had to come back and order more. The fact that they dip low in the front became super useful when the belly got larger. I was not sure if I truly needed them, but my gosh they are essential.”
Best Size Range: Regular & Plus Size Maternity Underwear
If you’re undecided about whether you’d rather wear your panties over or under your bump —or you want the ability to choose depending on your preferences that day — this trio from Motherhood Maternity can be worn either way (and let’s face it, you have enough choices to make right now). They’re made with 5% spandex for extra stretch to accommodate your tummy through each trimester, and since they fold down, you can wear them throughout your postpartum recovery.
Available in sizes small to 3X plus, moms say these tend to run large but they’re incredibly comfy. “Immediately after c-section, none of my other underwear worked as they rubbed against the incision area,” says a reviewer. “The mesh underwear from the hospital was stretchy but not breathable and gave me skin rash. At the time I was desperate to find comfy underwear and I’m so glad I found these. They are a must for post-c-section recovery!”
Best Undies for Over OR Under-The-Belly
The multi-tasking tops of these Playtext panties have plenty of material to pull over your bump or fold under it. Thanks to ultra-stretchy fabric, you can wear them throughout your pregnancy as well as postpartum, and the full-coverage fit means extra security when you need it most. Available in packs of three and sizes small – XX-large, you can grab a pack that has a pair with polka dots, or opt for a trio if neutrals. Or heck, at this price, just grab one of each.
“I’ve tried several different brands and styles of maternity underwear,” says a reviewer. “Pre-pregnancy, I wore women’s size 18-20 and these fit me at 33.5wks in a size XL. These provide an appropriate amount of coverage in the front and back. This was my third purchase of this brand and size because a pregnant girl can only do so much laundry.”
Sportiest-Looking Maternity Skivvies
These sporty-looking panties will remind you of your athletic, pre-pregnancy self … just kidding, but they are cute. And in addition to good looks, they’re practical, too: A low-rise fit, cotton-spandex material blend, and extra-wide leg bands make them wearable through third trimester (and beyond). They’re also seamless and feature a white liner so you won’t miss signs of any issues. If you’re not a fan of the gray trim, you can also snag a pack of solids.
Note that the company says to “drip dry” these undies, but given their overwhelmingly positive star rating, Amazon moms don’t seem to mind. “Great quality and very comfy!” says one buyer, “I have tried buying so many different underwear, are these are the only ones that have fit comfortably. They go up high enough on your back and hips to hold them in place and rest below your baby bump. They are far more flattering than any full coverage panties I have seen.”
Best High-Waisted Maternity Brief
One of Hatch’s most popular cuts, the High-Rise Brief offers support and smoothing for a pregnant mom’s peace of mind. Made with a blend of 90% cotton and 10% lycra, these sumptuously soft panties offer comfort and stretch without losing their shape. A double layer in the front gives plenty of belly support, while in the back, there’s a single layer “so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a diaper.” This brand best seller is also perfect for keeping everything in place postpartum, even if you’ve had a c-section. They’re available in sizes small – X-large and in three lovely neutrals: black, buff, and anise.
“Love the fabrics, stretch, and fit,” says one Hatch website reviewer. “Very little creep in the back.” Adds another, “These really do make me feel like myself again!”
Best Undies for Stocking Your Panty Drawer
Looking to stock up? Suekaphin’s Under-Bump Briefs come in a whopping back of eight! That means a panty for every day of the week (plus one), and all for a bargain of a price. But despite their affordability, these skivvies don’t skimp on features: A 95% cotton / 5% spandex blend offers breathability and stretch, a full-coverage bottom means no riding up, and they come in sets with cute colors and patterns as well as essential nude hues. There’s even a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Some reviewers suggest sizing up, but the majority say they’re happy with their purchase. “These underwear are surprisingly comfortable and fit perfectly…and I struggled to find comfortable underwear when I wasn’t pregnant!” says one soon-to-be mom. “I hate underwear lines, but these seem to actually cover my butt even though that’s typically hard for me to find.”
Best Bump Shapewear for Dresses & Skirts
This affordable maternity shapewear pick is an Amazon bestseller. And while the thought of “maternity shapewear” seems a little ridiculous, think of it more as “super full-coverage maternity panties that smooth lumps and bumps and offer amazing support.” A must-have if your job requires a professional dress code or you’re dressing for a special occasion, this undergarment is made with nylon, spandex, and cotton for breathable stretch. Plus, if your new preggo self is more prone to”wardrobe malfunctions,” you can feel extra confident while wearing skirts and dresses since this shapewear goes to mid-thigh. While Brittney Spears-ing it into your car still won’t be pretty, it’s a lot better than flashing something else.
“I LOVE this product!” raves an expecting mom. “It was enough compression to smooth out any lumps I was worried about and it didn’t squish my baby bump or make me uncomfortable at all. Super breathable, and I like the relief from my thigh chafing. I will be wearing this under most of my clothes and I would definitely buy it again.”
Best Thong for Pregnancy & Beyond
They’re not technically for maternity-wear, but Hanky Panky”s legendary low-rise thongs are ideal for preggos just the same. The front dips into a V so they sit under the belly and a stretchy lace waistband won’t show underneath pants and will expand along with your bump. And did we mention that one size fits most pant sizes 2-12? That means you can keep wearing these panties before, during, and after being pregnant.
Buyers rave that these panties hold up wear after wear, are no-pinch, no-show, and totally worth the price. “Once you wear these, you’ll never go back,” says one fan. Adds another, “I used to get the Victoria’s Secret knockoffs of these and decided to splurge and am so glad I did. These are awesome! I now understand the hype. I’ll definitely be buying more.”
Best Full-Coverage Maternity Thong
A full-coverage thong sounds like an oxymoron for sure, but alas: Introducing the Seamless Thong by Hatch. These undies are business in the front, party in the back, offering full tummy coverage — even for preggos—without creating unsightly panty lines on the bum. Needless to say, if jeans, dresses, and white shorts are your go-to’s, these lightweight, buttery-soft, body-smoothing undies will be your new go-to. Or, if you plan on attending a dressed-up event that doesn’t call for bulging underwear seams (hello, baby shower), you’ll want to have a pair of these on hand.
The best part? You’ll love the feel, fit, and coverage of this thong even after your baby is born, whether you’re a few months or a few years postpartum. Genius!