During pregnancy, you might find it difficult to drag yourself to the gym – after all, nearly everything in your body is changing, and your favorite workout just might not be doable right now. That doesn’t mean you should give up on fitness entirely, though. Breaking a sweat during pregnancy can be super helpful for regulating your mood, ensuring better sleep, and generally helping you feel your best while preggo.
With that being said, there is one more obstacle in working out while pregnant – what to wear! Depending on where you’re at in your pregnancy journey, you may or may not be able to fit into your usual workout attire. If you can, that’s great – but at some point, your belly is going to start taking up a lot more real estate, and you might need to find some new fits for the gym.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about shopping for maternity workout clothes right here.
Do I Really Need Maternity Clothes?
Let’s be real: You’ve got a lot of big purchases to make in the next few months. Do you need to spend more on maternity clothes? Your pre-baby-in-the-belly wardrobe might work for a few weeks, but eventually, you‘ll probs feel more comfy in maternity pieces as your bump starts poppin’.
Physical Changes During Pregnancy
Most women gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, but how and where you carry that extra weight varies from woman to woman. Of course, your belly is going to get bigger no matter what. By the end of the third trimester, you might not even be able to see your toes! Your breasts and ankles will likely get a little boost, and you’ll gain weight in other places as well.
Why Maternity Clothes?
Unlike weight gain when you aren’t pregnant, though, you likely won’t gain weight proportionately across your body — pregnancy weight gain features heavily around the bump. This is where maternity clothes come in handy. They’re specifically designed to fit in the places where you’ve grown and remain proportionate to where you haven’t.
For instance, if you size up your pants a couple of sizes during pregnancy, they might fit you better around the waist, but you might find yourself swimming in them around your knees and calves.
Try on a pair of maternity pants, however, and they’ll fit your body like magic — babies aren’t the only miracles here!
Maternity clothes are designed to be as comfortable and flattering as possible for mamas-to-be. And if there’s anyone who deserves to be comfy right now, it’s you!
Why Maternity Workout Apparel?
All of these factors are true for workout clothes, if not more so. When you’re working up a sweat, stretching, and bending this way and that, the last thing you want is to be in uncomfortable or poorly fitting clothing. Stocking up on well-fitting and flattering fits for your pregnancy workouts is definitely worth it.
Plus, you’ll likely find yourself wearing those maternity clothes for a while after delivery (and possibly again if you choose to have more kiddos). Maternity clothes are an investment that will benefit you for much longer than your pregnancy, especially with some garments like a cashmere robe that can be a life-long luxury.
What To Look For in Maternity Workout Clothes
Just like normal workout clothes, there are a few features you’ll want to look for in your maternity workout fits.
The first factor to consider is fabric quality. You want your clothes to be breathable and preferably moisture-wicking to keep you cool and relaxed during your workout.
Some high-quality fabrics to look for include polyester, Spandex, cotton, and more. If you’re working out during the winter, look for clothes that are insulating as well as moisture-wicking. (Merino wool is a good option, in addition to the fabrics listed above.)
For some workouts, you might want compression garments, which can help provide support during workouts without constricting your range of motion. You’ll still want this feature during pregnancy, but avoid clothes that are TOO tight. Overly compressive clothing can worsen certain pregnancy features, like swollen ankles and feet.
Maternity workout clothes should be supportive, too. You’re carrying around a lot more weight these days, especially in your tummy and breasts, so look for clothes that work with helpful features.
That might be a supportive waistband in your fave style of stretchy leggings or a shelf in your sports bra. You’ve got a little human growing inside you now; the more help you can get these days, the better!
What Workout Pieces Should I Invest In?
The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to build your maternity workout wardrobe. You can get a good start just by investing in a few key pieces.
We’d recommend starting with the following maternity activewear:
A Sports Bra
Your breasts will begin to grow in the first trimester, as soon as six weeks into your pregnancy. Supportive bras, including sports bras for workouts, are key to feeling your best during this time.
The purpose of a sports bra is to support your chest and compress it at the same time so that your breasts don’t get in the way while working out. All of that goes out the window when you’re wearing a bra that doesn’t fit.
Look for a sports bra that not only fits your new chest size but provides enough support to be comfortable while working out. Some bras are so comfy that you can wear them while sleeping, nursing, and running to the grocery store (that can def count as a workout). Plus, they look dang cute with high-rise yoga pants.
You’ll also want to invest in a couple of maternity tops. Your baby bump is going to start taking up a lot more room. Your old tanks and tees just aren’t going to cut it anymore.
The benefit of maternity tops is that they’ll be sized proportionately to your pregnancy body: roomy in the tummy and chest, smaller in the arms and shoulders. Maternity clothes are like having your own personal tailor!
Look for fabrics that are compressive and supportive without being too tight. You don’t want the shirt to ride up while you’re working out, but you still want a material light enough to be comfortable when you’re sweating.
Here’s one of our favs: The Body Ribbed Tank. Made from Oeko-Tex certified fabric, this tank is moisture-wicking, breathable, and 100% free of yucky chemicals. The supportive shelf bra and super fine rib knit hold you in and give ya a boost at the same time — a win/win. (PS: you can pair it with matching shorts!)
Basically, shop for styles that you feel good in. Whether you prefer racerback tanks, regular tanks, long sleeves, or tees, choose the tops that you know you like to maximize your comfort during this time.
Of course, you’ll also need maternity bottoms to work out in; your regular waistband size likely won’t cut it anymore. As with your top, you’ll want to look for clothes made from a high-quality moisture-wicking material.
Check for compressive waistbands that will stay up around your tummy but loose-fitting pants; bottoms that compress around your ankles can exacerbate pregnancy-swollen feet and ankles.
And just like shopping for new workout tops, you’ll want to stick to styles that you already know and love (with some adjustments made for pregnancy, of course!). If you prefer working out in pants, you might love the Ultimate Before, During & After Crop Flare or a pair of comfy joggers.
Or,3 if you prefer wearing shorts at the gym, look for a cute pair of maternity bike shorts that will fit you in the best way possible. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, comfort is everything when it comes to building your maternity workout wardrobe!
And although not technically clothes, our guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning shoes. It’s very normal for your feet to go up a half size or more during pregnancy, and aching arches and ingrown toenails are par for the course during this time.
Choosing shoes that fit your newly swollen feet and provide good arch support is crucial to getting in a good workout while pregnant. You might be tempted to skip out on new shoes and push through the pain, but trust us, it’s not worth it. Toss in some retro-style compression socks for chilling after your yoga class, and call it a day.
Make It Work
And there you have it: You deserve to look and feel your absolute best during this time!
Invest in maternity items that make you feel like a goddess (or as much as possible when the morning sickness sets in) in styles that you know you like. Chances are, you’ll get a lot more use out of them than you think.