Maternity Underwear - All You Need to Know
3 February 2023
Growing a baby is such an exciting time.
Most people find that as they approach the six month mark of pregnancy their normal clothes and undies start to feel tight and uncomfortable. Even with a stretchy belly band to cover the growing gap between trouser waistband and your tops, you'll find your knickers start to feel uncomfortably tight.
Maternity knickers can be normal underwear with stretch or space for your growing baby bump and expanding stomach or they can include a leak-proof layer of moisture wicking absorbency too. Both types of maternity underwear will help you in feeling comfortable both during the end of your pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
We'll cover the following to help you decide what will work best for you in choosing maternity underwear:
Maternity underwear is designed to stretch with your growing belly and can offer support for your bump. As bodies change and shapes shift during pregnancy with weight gain, you may find you outgrow pre-pregnancy knickers and move into wearing a maternity wardrobe, including pregnancy underwear, panties and trousers.
In addition, whether you're looking to breastfeed or not, you may find that switching to maternity bras, which tend to be more comfy than 'normal' bras, without underwire are a good idea.
Your pairs of maternity and postpartum pants will still be comfortable to wear in the weeks after your baby is born and if, like cheeky undies, they have waterproofing and absorbent layers, can be used for bladder weakness, postpartum bleeding and as periods undies when your menstrual cycle returns. No need for mesh disposables knickers for labour anymore!
"Unfailingly brilliant products. The undies and pads have taken me through menstruation pregnancy and postpartum and MS incontinence.
The wipes kits are brilliant for baby and adult alike. The soak bucket is genius. And the clean/mucky boxes and bags make life so much simpler and less full of single use wipes and plastic.
I've found the lack of rubbish touching my skin better too. The pads I first bought are still going strong and the knickers are used everyday due to continence." Louise trustpilot Sep '22
Buying maternity clothes - sustainably
It's so tempting to rush out and buy a whole new maternity wardrobe, however not only is that expensive, it's also not very ecofriendly.
Because maternity clothing tends to only be worn for a short period of time, it's possible to pick up some fantastic buys online in places such as ebay or Vinted. Some maternity specialist companies such as Isabella Oliver also offer rental and pre-loved options directly on their website which is a fantastic idea.
Most people switch to absorbent maternity pants when they are around 24 weeks / 6 months pregnant. Here's how to wear maternity pants:
- Internal scans and sweeps - sonographers are free and easy with that gel
- pee leaks - if your bundle of joy is using your bladder as a trampoline or pregnancy hormones are causing you to have surprise urine leaks
- excess discharge - nobody warns you all this fun stuff is coming
- mucus plug loss - a sign things are on the move
- breaking waters - I drove to have my twins sitting on a shopping bag and old bath towel which my partner graciously left in the backseat of the car for me to find
- postpartum recovery & postpartum bleeding - the heavy flow may only last from a few days to a week but you could need absorbency for six weeks after the birth, reusable period panties will make sure you don't run out of protection. They are more absorbent, secure and comfortable than disposable postpartum underwear
- your normal menstrual cycle returning - so cost effective to continue wearing once your back to (a new) normal
Just wear them as you would normal underwear, then rinse them and wash at 30 degrees with your other washing - avoid fabric softeners and direct heat. You can read our wash and care guide here.
To choose maternity pants opt for :
- cotton underwear or organic cotton, breathable underwear that will sit comfortably and expand and contract with your body.
- low rise options like Feeling Sporty heavy which sit under your bump if you are not having a c-section
- Seamfree mid rise styles like Feeling Sleek sit just below your belly button and have lots of stretch.
- ultra high waisted styles like Feeling Confident sit just under your bra and gently hold your growing tummy. High rise maternity underwear are perfect when your bump leaves a little gap of skin between your trousers and your t-shirt - brrrr! These are great if you have a cesarean too, and can offer a gentle hold as you lose weight or your body returns to normal.
- consider what size maternity undies you'll need, you may find that you need to size up
You don't need to wear maternity underwear, but it is recommended as it alleviates discomfort and offers some support and security.
If you choose to wear maternity underwear, consider washable underwear in breathable fabrics which can help with blood loss, leaking urine while you work on your pelvic floor muscles, and the return of your menstrual period.
We hope you've enjoyed our Cheeky Ultimate guide to maternity pants. You can find lots of other useful products for new mums and babies. We are so sure that you will love our period pants and pads that we have created a 90 day trial scheme for them, so if they don't work for you, we'll refund you in full.
If you enjoyed this, we think you would like this blogs on The Ultimate Guide to Postpartum Undies or have a browse of all our blogs!
As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function.
The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...
About the Author: Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills! Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.