April 20, 2024

There are many benefits to moving your body while pregnant. Finding quality exercise clothes that fit properly and are made to move and grow with you can be hard though, especially when you hit the second trimester. The best maternity workout clothes are comfortable, supportive, stylish, breathable and adjustable to accommodate an expanding belly and changing body.

“Regardless of the workout, pregnant women should look for stretchy, high-waisted leggings along with a supportive sports bra,” says Heidi Loiacono, a women’s fitness specialist with the personal trainer service Gymguyz. When it comes to workout tops, she recommends opting for something loose and long. “If you prefer a more fitted look, be sure it’s not too tight and allows for ease of movement.”

Just remember that every pregnancy and every pregnant body is different. “What’s comfortable for one mom might be incredibly uncomfortable for another,” points out Kim Perry, a fit pregnancy coach who is currently expecting. We interviewed an impressive roster of fitness expert moms to find the best places to buy maternity workout clothes, and to learn about the workout pieces they loved during pregnancy and beyond.

MOST POPULAR

Beyond Yoga Spacedye Love the Bump Midi Maternity Legging

Sizes: XS to XL | Colors: 10 | Materials: 87% polyester, 13% elastane

If there’s one brand that came highly recommended by nearly every fitness expert we spoke with, it’s Beyond Yoga. All around, it’s one of the best places to buy maternity workout clothes.

These legging won the top overall place in our list of the best maternity leggings after extensive testing. According to mom Brooke Cates, founder of pre and postnatal exercise program The Bloom Method, “These leggings have that same buttery-soft feel that make so many women love the Lululemon Align legging. They fit securely on the body and honestly feel like a second skin.” We like that they can be worn over or under your bump, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. Tessa Arneson, founder of Maven Strong, says they “really stay up on the bump and come in the most fun colors.” They’re also quick-drying, moisture-wicking and feature UV protection for outdoor workouts.


Sizes: XXS to 6XL | Colors: 5 | Materials: 83% recycled nylon, 17% spandex

These ultra-chic, sweat-wicking maternity leggings are made from recycled plastic and feature a foldable, over-the-belly rise and barely-there feel. “They’re lightweight, stretchy, seamless, and are the most versatile on this list, taking you from the gym to lunch effortlessly,” says Cates. They come in an incredibly inclusive size range, are Oeko-Tex and Bluesign certified, meaning they’re free from a long list of harmful substances—making them especially appealing for pregnant women. Perfect for outdoor sweat sessions, they’re extra breathable and equipped with UPF 50+ protection.


Sizes: 0 to 20 | Colors: 11 | Materials: 80% nylon, 20% Lycra elastane

While Lululemon’s beloved Align Leggings aren’t maternity specific, so many moms swear by them, myself included. “These iconic leggings have yet to be replicated although many have tried,” says Cates. Ideal for low-intensity workouts, she loves “their buttery-soft texture, the way they stay put and don’t move throughout the day and their amazing ability to transition with you whether you’re pregnant or postpartum. They don’t become overstretched and far outlast just the pregnancy phase.”


Sizes: XXS to XXL | Colors: 9 | Materials: 72% polyester, 28% elastane

Vuori makes some of the softest and chicest workout essentials, and the quality is unparalleled—I’ve owned plenty of pieces myself. This sports bra is Cates’ go-to for pregnancy. “Not only is it another item that transitions well throughout the trimesters, but its shorter-torso design is great for a growing belly while the fabric and stretch is perfect for changing breast sizes while still being supportive.” The strappy back is a trendy touch, plus it comes in plenty of fun colors and classic neutrals to suit your style. We wouldn’t wear this to go for a run, but it’s great for low-impact activities, like hiking, yoga and stroller walks.


Love & Fit Strappy Back 2.0 Nursing Sports Bra

Sizes: XS to 3XL | Colors: 4 | Materials: 72% polyester, 28% elastane

Perry is a big fan of Love & Fit’s nursing sports bras. They “provide excellent coverage, support and are great for transitioning into postpartum,” she says. Pregnant moms will appreciate the adjustable straps and band, allowing this sports bra to expand with your growing breasts. It’s breastfeeding-friendly without looking or feeling like it, thanks to a stylish strappy back, and it has removable cups you can easily replace with nursing pads for when baby arrives. “The material is soft and comfortable you don’t feel like you’re wearing a bra,” writes one reviewer. “I mountain bike, run, hike, etc., and this bra is 100% supportive.”


Sweat & Milk Venice High Impact Full Coverage Nursing Sports Bra

Sizes: XS to XXL | Colors: 7 | Materials: 87% polyester, 13% spandex

If you’re a runner, into Crossfit or are a regular at Barry’s Bootcamp, this wireless nursing sports bra is a great option during pregnancy and beyond. A high-coverage design keeps your girls covered so you can focus on fitness, and a wide chest band provides ample support to minimize bounce. The shoulder straps are wide and adjustable, and there’s a six-row hook and eye closure in the back for extra comfort and flexibility as your body and breasts fluctuate in size. Many reviewers report it’s super easy to pump and nurse in one-handed.


Sizes: S to XL | Colors: 3 | Materials: 82% nylon, 18% spandex

Bao Bei may not have the big name recognition of Beyond Yoga or Lululemon, but our fitness experts praised the brand. These mid-length athletic biker shorts, in particular, are a favorite of Erica Ziel, a deep core exercise specialist. “Designed by a physical therapist with postpartum mom’s recovery needs in mind, they help give more feedback and support for the abdominals and pelvic floor after birth without being too restrictive, which could help with pelvic floor and core recovery postpartum,” she says. They’re flattering, comfortable and super slimming too, helping you feel more secure in your body after birth.


Sizes: 0 to 20 | Colors: 12 | Materials: 81% nylon, 19% Lycra elastane

If you live in your Lulu Aligns, the shorts are a summer pregnancy wardrobe staple. “They feel just like the leggings but with the comfort of a short for sweatier workouts and warmer days,” says Cates. They stretch to fit your changing body at every stage without stretching out and, while pricey, are worth the investment because you can use them beyond pregnancy. “They stay put, keep the belly in and they don’t show your cheeks even if you do more intense things,” writes one reviewer. Another calls the darker colors “squat proof.”


Sizes: XS to XXL | Colors: 3 | Materials: 92% polyester, 8% spandex

These bestselling maternity shorts have over 60 reviews and an almost-perfect 4.9-star rating. Made by women, they’re perfect for moms looking for a lightweight, looser-fitting short to get them through pregnancy and workouts comfortably without restricting movement. We like the wide, stretchy waistband for extra support and the built-in liner for full coverage. “I’m living in these shorts in the heat of summer during my pregnancy,” writes one reviewer. “So comfortable, true to size, love the pockets.”


Woman-Owned

Sizes: XS to XL | Colors: 6 | Materials: Polyester, spandex

Whether you’re running errands, running after little ones or going for an actual run, these workout shorts have you covered. They come in lots of cute colors and “have a super stretchy waist band that allow your belly to grow but don’t scream maternity,” notes Perry. There’s an incredibly comfortable spandex inner layer, covered by a lightweight outer layer. The inner short has a convenient hidden side pocket to stash your phone, keys or wallet. Size down if you’re in between sizes for the best fit.


Sizes: S to XL | Colors: 5 | Materials: 92% polyester, 8% spandex

Loiacono loves the price, selection and style, especially the cute side ruching, of these fitted maternity workout tanks. They accentuate your bump without being uncomfortable, and the ruching at the waist stretches as your stomach stretches outward. “They allow for the perfect amount of coverage along with the perfect fit,” she says. They’re also lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking to beat the heat and keep you cool and dry when you’re breaking a sweat.


Beyond Yoga Spacedye Keep Your Cool Maternity Tank

Sizes: XS to XL | Colors: 14 | Materials: 87% polyester, 13% elastane

Both Ziel and Perry recommend the Beyond Yoga workout tops. This buttery-soft and breathable racerback tank is great for layering on a cold morning or can be paired with matching bottoms to hit the gym. “It moves with you during your workouts and is so comfy you’ll want to wear it all day,” adds Perry. It features a convenient built-in bra, UPF 50+ protection and shirred sides for a great fit at any size. It’s also a piece you can easily rock without a pregnant belly, helping justify the premium price tag.


Nike Women’s Maternity Reversible Pullover

Sizes: XXS to XXL | Colors: 3 | Materials: 78% polyester, 22% cotton

Nike is known for its quality activewear, and this reversible maternity pullover is frankly genius. You can wear it with the split hem in the front for easy breastfeeding access or to warm up when babywearing on stroller walks. It can also be easily turned around so the split hem is in the back. We like that it’s sustainable and composed of 75% recycled polyester fibers. It’s long and loose-fitting, for those who don’t want anything pressing their bump.


Why Trust Forbes Vetted

While pregnancy may be uncomfortable, as parents ourselves, we strongly believe your maternity clothes shouldn’t. Our team is composed of many moms who have not only tested the best maternity workout clothes firsthand, but have extensively researched all the top brands, collected countless recommendations from fellow pregnant parents, and read through hundreds of reviews to gauge what activewear is worth investing in and what’s not.

For a story like this, we consult multiple fitness professionals specializing in pre and postnatal fitness to learn what types of clothes pregnant women should be working out in from a comfort, quality and health/safety perspective. We asked our experts about the activewear brands they know and love and the pieces they can’t live without.


How We Chose The Best Maternity Workout Clothes

While we used our own personal experience owning and wearing many of the brands included on this list, we leaned in to the expertise and product suggestions of seven highly-respected fitness professionals, many of whom are either currently expecting or moms themselves, to curate our list. These experts include the founder of leading pre and postnatal fitness app The Bloom Method, the former CEO of fan-fave women’s activewear brand Beyond Yoga, and a fit pregnancy coach with a sizable following on Instagram, and a deep core exercise specialist just to name a few.

All of these women live in workout wear (literally) and have tried countless maternity activewear tops, sports bras, compression shorts and over and under-the-bump leggings.


What To Look For In The Best Maternity Workout Clothes

There’s no one brand or style fits all when it comes to the best maternity workout clothes. “Choosing workout wear is such an individualized experience and is usually based not only on the activity being done but also the desired fit and feel of each individual,” says Cates. Whether you’re hitting the treadmill or the yoga mat, here are some key factors to consider prior to stocking up.

Fit And Feel

Newly-postpartum mom Hannah Eden, a certified Girls Gone Strong pre and postnatal coach, iFIT and Nordictrack trainer, recommends opting for maternity workout clothes that feel comfy, but not too tight. “From personal experience, the changes in our bodies can often affect our self-esteem, so it’s important to feel confident in the clothes you choose,” she says. “Don’t try to fit into pre-pregnancy clothing; this can leave us feeling pretty low.”

Michelle Wahler, co-founder and former CEO of Beyond Yoga, agrees. “Treat yourself to quality clothing that celebrates your body during your new chapter. Paying attention to fit and fabrics you like and enjoy being in is key.”

Adjustability

While you don’t want to be constantly adjusting leggings or pulling up your pants, workout wear that can adjust to grow with you is important. “Get gear with elastic waistbands and drawstrings,” advises Eden.

Fabric

Do you prefer a buttery-soft organic legging you can rock around the clock, something loose, lightweight and breathable, or compression apparel for running? “Moisture-wicking materials like polyester or nylon will help keep you feeling cool and dry, while lycra, spandex and elastane blends offer a softer material,” explains Perry.

To limit exposure to PFAS (forever chemicals), found in many sweat-wicking, water-repellent pieces like leggings and sports bras, always check labels and shop sustainably-made styles in organic and natural fabrics where possible.

“Most workout wear is not PFAS free but it is becoming more common,” says Cates. “I also tell women that while wearing intentionally-made clothing that isn’t full of harmful chemicals is important, you don’t have to throw away all your favorite leggings that might not be that ‘clean.’” Instead, she recommends prioritizing underwear with natural fabrics, because they have the most contact with your most intimate parts.

Cates says there are some amazing companies making really clean and innovative underwear for women, “some even fused with zinc that can help to prevent yeast infections and UTI’s.” Esme, Pact and Huha are her top favorites in this category. We also recommend the Bodily All-In Panty, which tops our list of the best postpartum underwear.

Support Vs. Stretch

“Higher impact exercises like running and crossfit will require more support, while activities like yoga, pilates and barre will need more stretch,” says Perry.

Cates adds that a higher waist band is ideal for expecting women to help to create a “holding the belly” type of sensation. “While some women love maternity leggings with higher waist bands designed specifically for pregnant women, some non-maternity designs also prove to support women throughout pregnancy and beyond.” A belly band can offer extra support for pregnant women who need it too.


What Should I Wear To The Gym During Pregnancy?

According to Wahler, “whatever makes you feel good and supported!” Everyone and every body is so different. “The key is being good to your body and allowing your body to be in whatever form it wants to be, and it might be different each day. Don’t try to cram yourself into something from your past. Don’t focus on size or numbers. Look for clothes that will grow and evolve with you and through your new stages of life.”

A good place to start is a with a great pair of maternity leggings (like our top pick from Beyond Yoga), a supportive and soft sports bra (like the Vuori Yosemite Bra) and a maternity tank top (like this one from Fitglam). Depending on the weather, you can add layers or swap leggings for shorts.

“Also, as women progress through their pregnancy, they may want to consider compression shorts or leggings,” says Loiacono. “This type of fitness apparel offers just the right amount of compression for the abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles, allowing for more support as those muscles become overstretched.”


How Many Months Pregnant Do You Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

This can vary from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. “I’ve had mothers tell me they began wearing our Beyond the Bump line as early as two months pregnant, all the way through one year postpartum and beyond,” says Wahler. “The most important thing is that you’re creating a safe space for yourself and your baby to feel supported, comfortable and safe throughout the pregnancy.”

For maternity workout wear that can go the distance, Cates recommends looking for versatile pieces and styles that are flattering and work well from workout to lunch with girlfriends or bustling kids to and from after-school activities. “Women want leggings they can live in, workout in, and feel great in, and if they stretch beyond the pregnancy period they often get extra points.”


More Maternity Recommendations

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