If there’s one thing I remember from pregnancy (other than the heartburn), it’s that staying active always helped my body feel better. What to wear to the gym during this time was, however, an interesting challenge.
Given that my youngest son was born four and a half years ago and I’m out of the maternity wear fashion loop, I reached out to some folks in the know to help with tips on where to find awesome maternity fitness wear.
The advice below is both from the amazing alumnae of my Mindful Return course (all of whom are in the thick of that pregnancy and post-partum period), and from Krystal Stubbendeck, maternity clothing expert and founder of Borrow for Your Bump.
Krystal told me that figuring out the best place to find maternity wear for the gym really depends on your budget. For this reason, I’ve grouped the advice below by expense. Krystal also let me know that Borrow for Your Bump just started testing active wear in their rental subscription boxes, and they’re finding that moms love having the variety of options they can constantly swap out. At Borrow for Your Bump, they currently carry Fit Bump and are planning to expand their options for maternity exercise clothes in the coming months.
Less Expensive Maternity Workout Options
- Larger non-maternity clothes! Several of my alums told me they usually simply wore regular workout tops in a bigger size – or ones that were stretchy – when they went to exercise. One mama said she ended up buying a pair of shorts with a drawstring and letting her belly pop out while wearing Victoria Secret workout singlets and a larger-sized sport bras. Another said she wore her normal workout leggings and tucked them under her bump.
- Old Navy Maternity. Lots of folks rave about Old Navy’s maternity clothes for cute and practical styles that won’t break the bank. One mama noted that their maternity leggings were comfortable and perfect for Barre.
- Target Maternity. There were a few votes for Target’s maternity activewear line, which folks wore even after baby arrived. “Comfy and not too expensive” was the consensus.
- H&M Maternity. Mamas told me their clothes are “cheap and practical.” One said, “I bought two pairs of maternity yoga pants there that I lived in, plus some tops that were both for maternity and then also good for nursing.”
- Don’t forget second-hand options. Local listservs, your new mama colleagues at work, second-hand shops, and consignments sales can all be great places to find some great maternity fitness clothes at low prices.
Premium Maternity Active Wear Options
- Beyond Yoga’s “Beyond the Bump” Line. I’m told their yoga pants are super soft and comfy, and great for post-partum, too. Krystal likes them because their pants and tops vary in color and style — “more than the drab options of black leggings and basic color tops,” she says.
- Athleta Maternity. Their yoga pants get rave reviews.
- Ingrid & Isabel gets a very enthusiastic recommendation from one of my Mindful Return mamas, who loves their all their stuff.
- BLANQI. Krystal told me she personally loved their high-performance tank and leggings which were great for postpartum, as well. “They offer a little more support for your back, and the use you will get is well worth the price tag. I chose the support leggings and under-bust support tank — both were great for working out and offered plenty of coverage (no see-through leggings). They also doubled as great coverage and compression when nursing and hiding my mid-section as it went back to normal.”
- Prana. Though not specifically maternity, you can get the Andie Top in a larger size, and I’m told the band on the bottom keeps your belly from peeking out!
Finally, for supportive sport bras, check out:
- Juno: Great support, and also perfect for nursing. It has adjustable Velcro straps that allow you to quickly and easily unfasten one side of the bra to nurse.
- Freya: Their bras are great for larger-chested women.
- Moving Comfort Fiona: Their adjustable Velcro straps and stretchy fabric let you slip one side of the bra down to nurse. I’m also told they make a great all-day alternative to a nursing bra!
- Moving Comfort Grace II: This bra closes in the front, allowing mama to unzip and unclip it to nurse. It also has a slightly lower neckline, so it’s ideal for smaller-busted women.
I hope you find some suggestions in here that make your maternity workouts more enticing. Here’s to staying fit, healthy, and fashionable during your pregnancy, mama-to-be!
Lori K. Mihalich-Levin, JD, is the founder of Mindful Return, author of Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave, and creator of the Mindful Return E-Course. A partner in the health care practice of a global law firm, she also is mama to two beautiful red-headed boys. Lori holds a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.