Pregnancy shapewear isn’t just for celebrity moms-to-be. In fact, pregnancy shapewear is popular amongst regular pregnant women, too. You know, normal humans who aren’t being criticized by the public eye every waking second of the day. Some mamas-to-be even go as far as to say that pregnancy shapewear (along with comfortable shoes for pregnancy and maternity underwear if we’re being real here) was a “lifesaver” during their pregnancy.
“Pregnancy shapewear was amazing for me!” says mommy blogger, Kallie Myer from Provo, Utah. “It helped a ton with my back aches and relieved the itchiness from my belly band. It was a lifesaver. I really think every pregnant woman should wear them because shapewear is so comfortable.”
What is pregnancy shapewear?
Unlike traditional shapewear, pregnancy shapewear isn’t designed to “shape” the body. Instead, it’s meant to provide support and comfort for a soon-to-be mother’s growing bump. (It’s also a great option for postpartum moms who are desperately looking for something that’s comfortable and confident-boosting.)
“As a plus-size expecting mom, finding and wearing the right pregnancy shapewear has been a game-changer!” blogger, Shalona London from Fort Lauderdale, FL tells Scary Mommy.”Not only does it help relieve most of the pain but using shapewear also helps round out my baby bump. This is my second pregnancy; I’m currently 28 weeks preggo,” London continues. “I didn’t need maternity shapewear with my first pregnancy, but I must say that I can’t live without my pregnancy shapewear this time around.”
Is pregnancy shapewear safe?
If you’re wondering whether or not pregnancy shapewear is safe to wear, the super-quick answer is: Yes! (As long as you aren’t constricting your growing belly.)
“Maternity shapewear can help improve posture and take weight off of your back as your pregnancy bump grows,” Lucky Sekhon, MD, a New York City-based fertility specialist, and board-certified OB/GYN tells Well And Good. “It can also be more comfortable than your regular underwear or tights, which are prone to slipping and bunching.”
This is particularly important at the beginning of pregnancy, Sekhon notes, as pre-pregnancy underwear may kind of fit but not exactly the way it should. “As long as you aren’t wearing the type that constricts at the tummy, it is completely safe, and likely to be very comfortable, to wear maternity shapewear,” she says.
In addition to helping pregnant mamas feel confident and comfortable, Sekhon says pregnancy shapewear can provide support to a healing C-section incision too, “especially when the abdominal muscles are strained, such as when coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting, or getting up to sit from a lying position.”
What is the best pregnancy shapewear?
Like any other garment you shop for, it’s important to note that not all bodies are designed the same, and pregnancy shapewear isn’t for everyone. (It really just depends on what’s comfortable for YOU.)
If you do choose to purchase pregnancy shapewear, make sure you’re buying something that’s actually designed for pregnant or postpartum individuals. Why? Because buying regular shapewear could cause a slew of problems, such as skin irritation and reduced blood circulation. Here’s some highly rated pregnancy shapewear by real moms.
MeMoi offers expecting mamas several options when it comes to maternity wear, including High Waist Control Shapewear Leggings and Maternity Tights.
“I’m over 40, 35 weeks pregnant with my first child, and have been using pregnancy shapewear [MeMoi brand] for the last two months,” Rachel Grant from New York, NY, tells Scary Mommy. “The extra support allows me to be active which helps me stay fit. I still walk my dogs for 45 minutes each day, work out for 30 mins every evening, and take ballet classes each week. Shapewear means less bounce on my bump, which I find much more comfortable.”
Even if you’re not planning on exercising, these Cotton Maternity Leggings are designed with comfort in mind. With an over-the-belly comfort top, expanding tummy panel, and back boning for extra support, these leggings may become your new comfort go-to.
“Imagine going about the whole day, or exercising, without a bra!” Grant continues. “I’m particularly a fan of shapewear that has back boning for extra pregnancy support. I find myself wearing shapewear backboned leggings almost every day now!”
Spanx is known for its tenacious founder Sara Blakely and its extensive product list, which includes shaping briefs, leggings, and even men’s underwear. So it didn’t come as a surprise when the brand decided to launch its first maternity piece Mama Spanx Maternity Footless Pantyhose in 2004.
Made from cotton, lycra, nylon, and spandex this Spanx Power Mama Shaper is popular among expecting moms. Its mid-thigh maternity shaper with tummy support allows soon-to-be moms to feel confident without feeling like an overstuffed tuna roll.
“I could not have functioned without my Spanx Mama Shorts!” Jackie Jones from Atlanta, GA, tells Scary Mommy.com. “With all four of my pregnancies, I gained 60 pounds and my back would kill me when I wasn’t wearing my Spanx. Plus, my cottage cheese thighs and dimple butt looked amazing in anything I wore. Which made me feel more confident that the focus was on my bump and not my jiggle.”
From the Belly Bandit Bump Support Bodysuit to the Belly Bandit Thighs Disguise shorts, moms everywhere swear that the Belly Bandit brand is a lifesaver. (Plus, its easy pull-on design makes it a quick undergarment choice for busy mornings.) Made with a lightweight, breathable material, this bodysuit is touted for its support and comfort.
“I’ve found the need for some bump supporting shapewear that also helps prevent chafing…and I have definitively found that in this Belly Bandit Bump Support Bodysuit,” says Daphne P. from St. Louis, MO. “Not only does it support bump and prevents chafing, but it also smooths my back and booty! Highly recommend if you are expecting — I can use all the help I can get right now!”
What’s more? This bodysuit comes with one super-important feature that even non-expecting women could appreciate — a “gotta-go” gusset opening.
“This is my first pregnancy and my bump is sitting lower and lower as we get closer to birth,” says Jerrina M. from McDonough, GA. “The beautiful thing I love about this Bump Support Bodysuit is the sufficient back support it gives and let me not forget the gotta-go gusset opening for my many ‘baby’s tumbling on my bladder’ bathroom breaks.”
Choosing to wear shapewear doesn’t necessarily mean you need or have to purchase a bodysuit. Shapewear comes in a variety of styles, including this simple tanktop by BLANQUI.
“I am a physical therapist and Pilates teacher, so I’m on my feet all day,” Kristen Hardin from Beverly, MA, tells Scary Mommy. “I also carry huge baby bumps! I wore the BLANQUI Everyday Belly Support Tanktop nearly every day in the second half of my first pregnancy because it gave me great support and I could wear it alone or under anything.”
Hardin loves BLANQUI so much that she says she purchased the tank in white, as well.
“When I was pregnant with my second child, I did not hesitate to stock up at BLANQUI!” Hardin continues. “I purchased the same tank in white, as well as a pair of their Girlshorts, a SportSupport Crossback Tank, and postpartum and nursing clothes. BLANQUI’s support wear really smooths out the baby bump and always kept me comfortable and confident.”
With more than 1,000 five-star reviews, these pregnancy underwear are a must-have basic for any expecting mama-to-be. Made with breathable fabric and an elastic closure, this piece of maternity shapewear is the perfect undergarment to slip on underneath a dress or a skirt without the worry of it slipping or rolling down.
“These were a game-changer for my third trimester!” one Amazon reviewer writes. “I was having pelvic pain, so I got these for support and had relief my first day wearing them at work. I’m on my feet half the day, the rest of the time sitting, and both were getting very uncomfortable, but these compression shorts helped a lot. They fit perfectly, I got Large… I’m 5’11” and 150 pounds pre-pregnancy and gained 40 pounds by the end of my pregnancy. Very comfortable, snug but not too tight, and didn’t make me hot.”
Franato’s Women’s Seamless Maternity Shapewear offers a quick and comfortable way to avoid chaffing. These high-waisted shorts provide gentle belly support and a relaxed fit to relieve pressure on the waist.
“Buy these!! These are so comfy and soft!” writes one Amazon reviewer. “They didn’t show under my extremely tight maternity dress for my maternity photos. It took me forever to find something that would not show up! These also covered my whole belly and the waistband came up to my bra line for a seamless look. They did not dig into my thighs. I just wanted them to smooth everything out under a tight dress and they did just that!”
These specialty postpartum panties were designed specifically for women who’ve undergone a C-section. There’s no hooks or zippers, and the front tummy panel is made of double-layered PowerSlim with adjustable velcro sides for a perfect fit.
“As a mom who had a C-section I was a bit apprehensive to wear anything snug around my abdominal area,” writes one Amazon user. “So I hesitated trying this on at first. However, it was the most comfortable piece of apparel I’ve ever used for any type of control. So easy and so comfortable to use. It skimmed me out and didn’t make me feel as if I were going to lose my breath because of the tightness. I would definitely recommend this item and I wish I had used it sooner!”
If you haven’t heard about the Kim Kardashian pregnancy shapewear controversy yet, let me fill you in. In September, Kardashian launched SKIMS’ “Maternity Soultionwear” (AKA a pregnancy and postpartum shapewear collection). And, of course, people on social media attacked her for the launch, including Jameela Jamil.
“I wish we could just Normalize just focusing on the inside of a pregnant body, not the outside,” writes Jamil. “You don’t need your shape corrected or hidden. You don’t need an even more awkward obstacle between you and a piss. You just need to try and ride with this miracle and do your best to be as happy/comfortable as is possible within your circumstances. Pregnancy is hard enough, with enough worries already.”
In response to this Instagram post, Chrissy Teigen shared a series of videos via Instagram Stories wearing a full set of pregnancy shapewear.
“Basically, the reason I love pregnancy shapewear is because it stops all the folds of my vagina and stomach from eating any other type of underwear,” she said. “When you’re pregnant and you’re sitting down a lot, or on bed rest like me, you tend to just sit there, and if you’re wearing regular, basic-ass underwear, all it does is roll inside of folds I didn’t even know I had. It rolls up in there and it doesn’t even look like I have underwear on.”
To make a long story short, everyone came for the SKIMS line and Teigen shut it down.
“I actually decided that I think it’s even kind of condescending to think that you have to defend us on this,” Teigen continues. “Obviously the message is that pregnant women shouldn’t have to feel like they have to make themselves smaller. They should feel beautiful and yes, absolutely, I 1000% agree with that. But what you’re forgetting is that none of us think that this is making us smaller. Nobody thinks that. Just trust me when I say that.”
With that being said, this bodysuit is available in nine colors and five sizes. It also has an open gusset and fully-adjustable straps. It’s also machine-washable so you don’t have to worry about hand-washing it to prevent tears or damage.
On the market for more pregnancy or postpartum shapewear? Check out our fashion section for all your future shapewear needs!