Keeping active is important when you are pregnant. While you won’t be participating in the more… hardcore… classes out there (and you can wave goodbye to burpees - thank god!), the NHS guidance recommends pregnant women keep moving and taking gentle exercise for the benefit of themselves and their baby.
After the initial morning sickness and over tiredness starts to subside, you may find that staying active will improve your mood, reduce stress, boost your energy, and encourage better sleep.
But which exercises should you be focusing on? Simone De La Rue, celebrity trainer and founder of the Body By Simone studios in California, New York and London advises to, “definitely do kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. I did these whilst sitting down (on a chair or exercise ball), holding your pelvic floor in contraction for up to 10 seconds, and releasing, and repeating. This will help you when it comes to labour. Similarly, the upper body will need a lot of strength once your child is born as holding the baby and breast feeding will affect your posture after birth. Find workouts which will strengthen your back, lats, rhomboids and shoulders.” If you have any worries, consult your GP or obstetrician.
But with a rapidly changing body, finding gym gear that fits, is practical and makes you feel comfortable can be daunting. Here is a list of some of the best brands to keep an eye out for if you are expecting.
PS. If you are looking for an eco-friendly activewear wash, take a look at Kair which will keep your new buys looking sharp and smelling fresh.
Like many of the maternity brands out there, Natal Active was born out of one mother’s frustration at a lack of choice when it came to bump-friendly sportswear. Sick of wearing baggy t-shirts and ill-fitting leggings while working out during her three pregnancies, Claire Gleave took matters in to her own hands. Her range of bright, beautiful sportswear is known for its great and comfortable fit. It’s also fabulous for when you decide to get back to the gym post-baby.
Rochelle Humes and Vogue Williams are among the brand’s celebrity fans.
Buy now, Natal Active
Luxe Maternity & postnatal leggings
Buy now £55.00, Natal Active
Artemis sports bra
Buy now £45.00, Natal Active
Seraphine is one of the stalwart, mid-to-high-end maternity stores that sells everything from nightwear, to maternity jeans and coats. The brand’s two-piece Active Kit is a great place to start, while the nursing sports bras - like their other nursing bras - are also comfortable and supportive. Meanwhile, the nursing sweatshirt is a great buy for when you’re out and about with your newborn.
Millie Mackintosh is a known brand-lover.
Buy now, Seraphine
2 Piece Active Kit – Pregnancy Yoga & Sportswear
Buy now, Seraphine
Cotton Blend Maternity & Nursing Sweatshirt
Buy now, Seraphine
Another brand that stemmed from a frustrated mother’s lack of choice, Latched was established when its founder Natalie struggled to find a nursing bra and/or jumper to wear when out and about with her first baby Harper. The brand’s range of these jumpers and hoodies are flattering, comfortable and practical and come in muted tones so they will go with existing sportswear pieces or bottoms that you might already have in your wardrobe.
Buy now, Latched
Buy now £50.00, Latched
Buy now £45.00, Latched
JoJo Maman Bébé
Another famous baby brand, don’t sleep on JoJo Maman Bébé selection of maternity activewear. It is particularly known for its high quality leggings. Like many non-maternity brands, its leggings come with zipped and side pockets for essentials such as your phone and keys. Worth also looking at their range of matching maternity bras.
Buy now, JoJo Maman Bébé
Buy now £35.00, JoJo Maman Bébé
Mid impact nursing sports bra
Buy now £25.00, JoJo Maman Bébé
Obviously one of the largest sports names on the market, Adidas also has an encouraging range of maternity sportswear suitable for active and lounge times. The brand’s leggings are comfortable and practical for a growing bump with a fold-over waistband, while their joggers are can-I-live-in-these cosy. The range is well-priced too.
Buy now, Adidas
Essential cotton leggings (maternity)
Buy now £30.00, adidas
Three stripes joggers (maternity)
Buy now £38.00, adidas
Another major sportswear player that has a small, but well-formed collection of maternity wear - most of which is made from sustainable materials. The label’s reversible pullover is particularly chic and comes in a number of fabulous, stylish colours, while the signature Nike tank tops are nice and long to accommodate a growing bump (or a long body like mine!). The tops also have a scoop neck - making breastfeeding that bit easier post-birth.
Buy now, Nike
Women’s Pullover (Maternity)
Buy now £72.95, Nike
Women’s Tank (Maternity)
Buy now £37.95, Nike
Not exclusively activewear, but Mamalicious offers a practical and good value option. There are various fashion forward options - such as co-ordinating bra and legging sets - that are perfect for the more trend focused mothers-to-be who don’t want to break the bank.
Buy now, Mamalicious
Maternity recycled blend active leggings co-ord
Buy now £32.00, Mamalicious
Maternity recycled blend nursing sports bra
Buy now £20.00, Mamalicious
Sometimes, you can’t beat H&M. The store has been a saviour for me throughout my pregnancy for its no-nonsense, value basics and the sportswear is no exception. Much like many of the maternity basic t-shirts, the sports tops - which are made in a breathable fabric - come with handy ruching on the side to stretch over a bump. They have various options for bottoms too (not just leggings), including cycling and running shorts. Good for summer pregnancies!
Buy now, H&M
MAMA Sports top
Buy now £17.99, H&M
MAMA Sports cycling shorts
Buy now £14.99, H&M
You can always get a good deal at Gap. The brand has a great range of maternity sportswear with particular highlights in the tops sphere. Be it tank, long sleeved or jumpers, all feature ruching to help flatter and stretch. The flannel hoodies are to-die-for comfortable. I can also recommend their maternity jeans, which are true to your pre-pregnancy size.
Buy now, Gap
Maternity GapFit Breathe T-Shirt
Buy now £12.48, Gap
Maternity Waffle-Knit Hoodie
Buy now £17.99, Gap
The high street saviour offer one of the most diverse ranges of performance wear out there with maternity iterations of the key pieces. With options for all kinds of workouts, check of the retailer’s in-house label 4505 as well as pieces from the likes of Speedo and Mamalicious.
Buy now, ASOS
ASOS 4505 Maternity icon yoga capri legging
Buy now £16.00, ASOS
South Beach Maternity light support leopard print sports bra
Buy now £20.00, ASOS