Best maternity leggings to see you through your pregnancy in comfort

·12-min read
 (Isabella Oliver)
(Isabella Oliver)

When you’re pregnant, comfort is one of your absolute highest priorities. Buttons and zips can dig into your growing bump, and fabrics which might never have bothered you before can suddenly feel scratchy and irritating.

This is where the humble leggings come into their own. Maternity leggings are an absolutely essential part of any pregnancy wardrobe. If you pick the right ones, they will stretch and grow with your bump, offering the support you need without any of the discomfort.

What should I look for in maternity leggings?

One of the key things to think about when you are choosing a pair of maternity leggings is what type of fabric they are made from. Are they soft? How well do they stretch? Can you see your hand through the material or are they opaque? Check the care instructions before you buy as you are going to want leggings which can be popped into the washing machine without too much thought, especially as you are likely to still be wearing them in the first few messy weeks of looking after a newborn.

It is also worth thinking about what features are important to you. If you plan to wear them to the gym or while you are exercising, you should look for activewear leggings which will allow you to move freely and wick sweat away from your skin. If your skin is super-sensitive, seamless leggings could be a good option as there will be less to irritate you and cause you discomfort.

Some leggings also come with additional features like useful pockets which will hold your phone or some cash.

What different types of maternity leggings are there?

One of the biggest distinctions between maternity leggings is whether they are low-rise and fit under your bump, or high-waisted, which usually includes a panel which fits over your stomach. Which you choose will usually come down to personal preference but mums-to-be often find the over the bump style the most comfortable in the later stages of pregnancy.

You can also choose between casual leggings which are designed for day-to-day use and active leggings which were created with exercise and movement in mind.

To help you find the perfect pair of leggings to wear during your pregnancy and in the weeks and months which follow, we’ve put together a list of all our favourites.

Isabella Oliver Kerrison Leggings

The Kerrison leggings from British maternity superbrand Isabella Oliver could very quickly become one of your wardrobe must-haves during pregnancy. They are simple and versatile enough to go with pretty much any outfit and unlike some leggings which can seem thin and even a little see-through, the black option – known as Caviar Black – is a lovely deep colour like you’d find in a pair of good quality trousers. They also wash well so should stay looking great throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

The leggings include a large panel on the waistband which will cover your bump and support it as it grows. Soft, stretchy and extremely comfortable, they are made from a trademarked LENZING ECOVERO jersey, which is an eco-friendly viscose fabric made from natural and renewable raw material derived from wood grown in sustainable forests.

Isabella Oliver has built up quite a celebrity following over the years with their clothing spotted on everyone from Beyonce and Serena Williams, to Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez.

Buy now £29.00, John Lewis

Seraphine Tammy Bamboo Overbump leggings

Seraphine is one of the best-known brands for maternity clothes and its products have been worn by a number of A-lister mums-to-be including the Duchess of Cambridge, Katherine Jenkins, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kate Hudson. With a A-list clientele like that, it’s no surprise that its leggings are a popular addition to many people’s pregnancy wardrobe.

The brand’s Tammy seamless leggings are made from viscose with natural bamboo so they feel really soft on sensitive skin and won’t leave your bump feeling damp and clammy on warm days. The breathable material actually wicks moisture away from your skin and the over bump style will adapt to your changing shape, while still offering a smooth and streamlined silhouette.

One thing to note is that these leggings are classed as hosiery and do feel a little more like tights than some of the other options on this list and may be better paired with dresses, tunics and long tops.

Buy now £29.00, John Lewis

CONTUR Smooth Move leggings

Although not strictly maternity wear, this Smooth Move leggings from Contur are popular with mums-to-be looking for something to wear during a pregnancy exercise class or yoga session. As they don’t have an elastic waistband, they won’t dig into your bump and the soft supportive material will gradually expand around your growing body.

The leggings come in a wide range of colours, including bright, eye-catching shades and are made from ECONYL – a sustainable and regenerated fabric made from nylon waste. The leggings have a high waist and are designed to be supportive and offer muscular compression, which makes them a great option if you’re worried about aching legs, varicose veins or swelling.

Depending on the size of your bump, they might not make it to the very final days of your pregnancy but will be a handy go-to piece of clothing once your baby is born and you want to start getting active again. They even offer UV protection and are resistant to sun creams.

Buy now £59.99, Surfdome

H&M MAMA seamless leggings

These microfibre leggings from high street retailer H&M have been designed to have as few seams as possible so they are extremely comfortable and kind to sensitive pregnancy skin. Available in three practical colourways – black, dark grey and dark greige, which is a cross between grey and beige – they are more useful than eye-catching but will go with pretty much anything you already have in your wardrobe.

The high waist fits snugly over your bump, no matter how large it grows. There is also a ribbed detail down the sides. The material feels a little like thick footless tights (and beware, they can ladder if they get snagged!), but the leggings are super-stretchy and comfortable. And at £17.99 a pair, they are a very affordable option to see you through your pregnancy so you probably won’t mind if they only last months rather than years.

Buy now £17.99, H&M

M&S Maternity Over Bump Jeggings

Jeans aren’t always the easiest thing to wear when pregnant even if you go for a maternity option. However, these jeggings from British high street favourite Marks & Spencer mean you can get the look of denim with the comfort of leggings. At first glance, you’ll look like you’re wearing your favourite pair of skinny jeans but these jeggings are made from a cotton-rich, breathable fabric with plenty of stretch.

They come with a super high waist with large in-built panel to go over your bump. This does look a little different from the jeggings themselves so may give the impression that you’re wearing a navy blue t-shirt underneath your clothes if your top rides up.

If you’re looking for something which scores well on the environmental front, it is worth knowing that M&S denim is made using sustainably sourced cotton and steps have been taken to reduce the amount of water used during production.

Buy now £19.50, M&S

Frugi roll top maternity leggings

Frugi is known for its bright organic children’s clothing but it does make some great maternity wear too. These roll top maternity leggings are one of the brand’s biggest sellers and it is easy to see why. The material is gorgeously soft and made from 95 per cent GOTS certified organic cotton jersey and five per cent stretchy elastane.

There are no itchy side seams to contend with and the roll top style means you can choose whether to stretch the material over your bump or wear the waistband underneath. The cotton feel of the material feels very kind against sensitive skin and won’t make you feel hot in warmer weather. They are great quality and completely opaque so you don’t have to worry about that slightly see-through look you can sometimes get with leggings.

Buy now £26.00, Frugi

Lily & Ribbon Black Soft Touch Overbump Maternity Leggings Twinpack

These black maternity leggings from specialist maternity and nursing brand Lily & Ribbon are a great basic wardrobe staple you could wear again and again during your pregnancy. The high waist and over bump panel is generous enough to take you right through to labour, giving you plenty of coverage so you don’t have to worry about flashing your bump if any of your tops become a little snug. As they come in a handy twin pack, you’ll always have a pair ready to go when you want something soft and comfortable to wear.

Made from a polyester and elastane blend, the stretchy jersey material has plenty of give in it and they’ll be a forgiving and flattering option to wear after birth too. With two pairs coming in at less than £40, these leggings are great value for money.

Buy now £39.00, Lily & Ribbon

Bump and Milk Laura ribbed adjustable leggings

Bump and Milk is an eco-conscious maternity brand aimed at modern mothers, using natural materials instead of man-made fibres and all recyclable packaging. These baby blue maternity leggings come in a warm, ribbed material which feels like a cross between a pair of joggers and loungewear but with a close, supportive fit.

These cosy ankle-length leggings would be ideal for chilly days and look great teamed up with a hoodie for a casual look. Made from a cotton and elastane blend, the Laura leggings have a high waist band designed to go over your bump and offer full coverage. At £39 a pair, they are a mid-range option and you’re likely to continue wearing them for some time once you’ve welcomed your little one to the world too.

Buy now £39.00, Bump and Milk

Latched maternity and postnatal active support leggings

Latched was the brainchild of Natalie, a mum-of-two and self-confessed activewear addict who wanted to create high performance sportswear that would work for women both during and after pregnancy. The high waistband is stretchy enough that it can be pulled up over your bump or comfortably rolled down to sit underneath it.

The sweat-wicking fabric is squat-proof and provides light compression which will help with back pain and preventing varicose veins. While the waistband will support your bump, it has also been cleverly designed to make sure there aren’t any seams in uncomfortable places which might irritate sensitive skin or aggravate a healing c-section scar.

But our favourite thing about these leggings is that they come with two discreet pockets which are deep enough to be useful and carry your phone, keys and any other little essentials.

Buy now £45.00, Latched

Lucy Locket Loves casual leggings

The casual leggings range from British brand Lucy Locket Loves are not officially maternity wear but they have earned a place on the list as the super stretchy soft fabric means you can easily wear them throughout your pregnancy and they are great value for money. We love the huge range of fun prints available with new designs being added to the range all the time.

One thing these leggings aren’t is plain and boring and most of the designs are bold and eye-catching, although there are some subtler options if you don’t want to stand out too much. Comfy enough for day-to-day wear, they are made from a soft polyester and spandex blend with a triple brush finish.

The only criticism is that the bright pattern can seem a little faded in areas where it is stretched (like over your bump). There are only three sizing options but the brand is confident that these cover everyone from a size 8 to a size 26.

Buy now £16.00, Lucy Locket Loves

Lululemon Align™ High-Rise Pant 25”

The most expensive item on our list, these high-rise leggings from Lululemon have built up a bit of a cult following among pregnant women even though they aren’t marketed as maternity wear. The leggings are buttery soft and the weightless Nulu fabric is so comfortable, they really do feel like a second layer of skin.

Designed for workouts and exercise sessions, you’ll want to wear these sweat-wicking leggings even on days when being active is the very last thing on your mind. We particularly love the hidden pocket in the waistband which is deep enough that it could hold a phone, cash card or set of keys.

At £88, these leggings should be viewed as a long-term investment rather than a throwaway item to get you through weeks of pregnancy. The stretchy breathable fabric will accommodate your bump but it will also shrink back down to mould against your postnatal body too, meaning you can carry on wearing them for as long as you want.

Buy now £88.00, Lululemon

Verdict

You can’t go wrong with the Kerrison leggings from Isabella Oliver which wear and wash so well you’ll be reaching for them long after your baby is born. Comfortable and versatile, you could pair them with a smart dress for work or a night out, or team them up with a slouchy hoodie for a casual look. We also love that the super soft fabric is also sustainable.

A special mention also goes to the Lululemon Align High Rise Pants which were so comfortable we never wanted to take them off.

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