What is Maternity Underwear and Why Should You Wear it ?

The decision to purchase maternity underwear

A lot of women ask if it’s necessary to buy maternity underwear for pregnancy. No rule says you should, but consider that maternity underwear has been specifically designed for a purpose. It keeps you comfortable throughout your pregnancy with a freedom of movements. If you don’t want to buy underwear which is maternity labelled, well that’s fine. But keep in mind that you will need to upsize after your first trimester. It’s important not to resist buying bigger sizes. It can be a difficult time for self-image while your body is changing, but you’ll feel wonderful with a little fashion pick me up. Embrace your beautiful new curves and feel as comfortable as possible. If you want to please yourself, buy one of the many maternity bras and underwear sets which are now available.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right maternity lingerie for you:


Maternity underwear is usually designed to be extra stretchy, to allow for your growing belly. There are low-rise options to cradle under your bump and high-rise options which fit over the entire belly. Most designs these days are seamless, so they are unobtrusive and don’t add any extra bulk to your frame.


It’s best to put away your favourite spanxs. Look for underwear that moves with you. Comfortable maternity underwear shouldn’t roll or bunch. It also shouldn’t dig in at your belly or your legs.


Choose soft, breathable fabrics to avoid irritating the skin. A combination of cotton and spandex is often necessary to satisfy the need to be stretchy, but also breathable.

Let’s take a look at the most popular styles

Boy shorts/French knickers

Many women feel these are a happy medium between bikinis and briefs as they provide the full belly coverage. As they provide better leg and bottom coverage, they look more flattering. Many of these also have lace edging which is a lovely touch. These are also available in seam free versions for a streamlined fit. They are ideal if you like a bit more coverage and don’t want to wear too many layers across your bump.


Maternity bikini briefs are designed to stay put. They have an elasticated waist and leg openings which are designed not to roll down or bunch up. A stretch waistband can provide added support. Be sure to buy bikinis that don’t dig in at your hip crease. Otherwise, they will feel uncomfortable. A cross-over feature at the front of the briefs is a good idea. It gives a little bit of space to cradle your bump without applying extra pressure.

U-Shaped underwear

If you’re finding that the regular maternity bikinis are uncomfortable sitting underneath your bump, the U-shaped underwear is likely to be best for you. These are specially shaped to cradle the bump. There are even varieties which feature antibacterial protection in the cotton fabric to better protect you from infection.

Fold over briefs

These briefs allow you to fold the waistband down to support your belly. However, if you feel like tucking your bump in a bit, you can still leave the waistband up. The fact that you can wear them to suit you is a big plus in terms of comfort.


If you usually wear thongs, you don’t have to stop when you’re pregnant. Keep in mind that they could become uncomfortable if you have any unfortunate side effects that often come with pregnancy, like piles. Maternity versions are available which give fuller coverage in the front, while still having the conventional thong design in the back.

Boxer Shorts

A lot of women love wearing their partner’s boxer shorts. Of course, they aren’t going to fit very well when you’re pregnant and will offer you zero support. Luckily, maternity-style boxer underwear is available. Maternity boxers are usually made from cotton-spandex blends which provide stretchy comfort.

Briefs (over belly)

Maternity briefs fit over the belly to provide full support. The benefit of these is not only the support they provide to the belly, but also to the back. Because they sit over your bump, you don’t need to worry about them rolling down. They are designed with extra room in the front for your belly to nestle in. There are many seam free versions available so that they are unnoticeable underneath your clothing. While many feel that full maternity briefs are “granny underwear” there are some better-designed pieces available today with cute prints. However, If you live in a warm climate, they may feel too hot and constricting.

 Maternity shapers

Like regular shapers, these are ideal for wearing underneath a form-fitting dress. Their unique design can elevate your bump and provide support so that you feel a little lighter too. While there are maternity shapers to smooth your hips, thighs and rear, be wary of being constricted. It might be best to save these for special occasions only.

Disposable Maternity Briefs

Although unglamorous, disposable maternity briefs are a great idea. Whether it is for your time in hospital, or just after, disposable briefs make it easy to stay clean without having to worry about doing a lot of washing. Most are made of paper. However, you can still find some made of cotton, which a lot of people may prefer in terms of comfort and breathability.

Above all, don’t be afraid to try the different styles. Comfortable maternity underwear is out there!