The postpartum period can feel like a total whirlwind. You’ll still have a bump for a little while, and your body will have gone through some pretty major changes, so feeling comfortable is key. The solution? A pair or two of postpartum leggings will take you from long walks with the pram to postnatal yoga classes and naps on the sofa with ease.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
Hatch’s The Ultra Soft Before, During & After Leggings take our Best Overall category, as we love its gentle fabric and compression—not to mention, they look great with everything from oversized sweaters to workout tops. Our favorite under-$20 pick is ASOS DESIGN’s Over-The-Bump Leggings, which reviewers have rated well for comfort with bumps of all sizes.
So, what should you look for when buying leggings for that precious postpartum stage? Since you can expect your bump to get smaller in the weeks following delivery, the key to a great pair is in the design. “You want to buy prenatal leggings that have been designed to also work postnatally,” says Hollie Grant, founder of The Bump Plan. These leggings are typically made with a soft and stretchy fabric that’s especially considerate of your changing body. A compressive element can help to support a weakened pelvic floor and abdominal muscles for those more active days.
To find the best available, we searched the internet, drew on our own experience, and asked two trusted experts, Grant and fashion journalist Frankie Graddon, to share their recommendations.
HATCH The Ultra Soft Before, During And After Legging
Hatch has made a business out of catering to a woman’s pre- and post-pregnancy needs. Enter: The Ultra Soft Before, During & After Leggings. They’re made from a super stretchy fabric that’s designed to grow with your bump and then shrink back as your belly slowly goes down again. They can be worn high on the waist or rolled down to allow you to enjoy as much longevity as possible. We predict you’ll practically live in them.
Price at time of publish: $98 or two for $176
Material: 92% modal, 8% spandex | Sizes: XS–XL | Colors: Vintage Grey, Black | Inseam: 26 inches
ASOS DESIGN over-the-bump leggings
It’s easy (and understandable) to slip into the habit of wearing leggings daily during pregnancy and in the months after. In that case, you’ll need to have a couple of basic but reliable pairs in your rotation. ASOS DESIGN’s Maternity Over-The-Bump leggings are perfect for this purpose, as reviewers said they loved them for their flexibility and comfort. “These were my reliable go-to most comfortable leggings when I was pregnant,” wrote one reviewer. “I loved them so much that I had seven pairs so I never had to worry about what to wear.” There were also conflicting reviews on the opacity of the leggings, an issue that often has to do with a too-small size.
Price at time of publish: $15
Material: 93% viscose, 7% spandex | Size Range: 2–16 | Colors: Black | Inseam: Unspecified
Storq Sport Pocket Leggings
We already love Storq for its commitment to offering extended sizing, but its Sport Pocket Leggings are a great example of the brand’s goal to offer one product for virtually everyone. Design-wise, the style offers light-to-medium compression for pregnant and non-pregnant people alike, and the wide waistband can be folded down or pulled up over the belly, depending on the desired support of the wearer.
Price at time of publish: $88
Material: 77% polyester, 23% spandex | Size Range: XS–3X | Colors: Navy | Inseam: 26.5 inches
Lululemon Align High-Rise Pants
Lululemon’s Align pants are beloved among customers for their incredibly stretchy, lightweight, and soft Nulu™ fabric (composed of nylon and Lycra® elastane). The fabric is especially convenient for postpartum women looking for a second-skin feeling and a range of color options. (There are upwards of 20.) The style also features a hidden pocket in the waistband for a card or a key that will come in handy when you don’t want to have to fish them out of a diaper bag.
Price at time of publish: $98–$118
Material: 81% nylon, 19% Lycra® elastane | Size Range: 0–20 | Colors: Wild Indigo, Pomegranate, Pink Peony +more | Inseam: 25, 28, or 31 inches
Best for Yoga
Sweaty Betty All Day Leggings
For Graddon, Sweaty Betty’s All-Day leggings were her go-to pick for yoga class. “They’re made from a firm but stretchy fabric that made me feel supported, yet [they] could expand as my body did,” she says. As she recalls, the waistband, too, was snug enough that it didn’t slip but not so tight that it dug into her stomach. She also found that the fabric was pretty opaque, which is important when you’re trying to perfect your downward dog.
Price at time of publish: $88 for Full Length Black
Material: 80% polyester, 20% elastane | Size Range: XXS–XXL | Colors: Black, Vista Blue, Dusk Pink, Phlox Pink | Inseam: 27 inches for full length or 24 inches for 7/8 length
Blanqi Everyday High Waist Postpartum Leggings
This high-waisted style from Blanqi is designed specifically for the needs of a postnatal body with a super high waist and seamless construction to minimize irritation and keep you held in. It gets bonus points for cool and calming color options, like slate (blue) and sage (green).
Price at time of publish: $74
Material: 95% nylon, 5% spandex | Size Range: S–XL | Colors: Dark Green, Navy, Medium Blue +more | Inseam: 25 inches
Motherhood Essential Stretch Secret Fit Leggings
Having a baby doesn’t mean you stop doing what you love, be it a power walk, a trip to the mall, or a casual lunch with friends. And still, your garments will make a world of difference in how comfortable and supported you feel postpartum. To cover you in virtually every situation, a pair of versatile leggings like Motherhood’s The Essential Stretch leggings is key. They’re maternity leggings made with a super-soft jersey knit fabric that won’t irritate your skin, even as the extra-long waistband holds you in. Wear them with everything from boxy button-downs to sweatshirts and hoodies.
Price at time of publish: $18 on sale
Material: 87% cotton, 13% spandex | Size Range: XS–XL | Colors: Black, Navy | Inseam: 28 inches
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in a Pair of Pospartum Leggings
When shopping online, it’s always best to take a look at the brand’s product description and size guide to ensure your choice runs true to size. (Some will even make recommendations based on the fit of another product, which comes in handy for brand loyalists.) As a general rule, you should take your usual size in maternity or postnatal leggings and size up if you’re buying a non-maternity style to give you the comfort you need as your bump slowly goes down.
Since your body goes through so much change during and after pregnancy, design details like compression or an extra-wide waistband could be very effective at helping you feel supported. Maternity and postpartum leggings alike are best at accounting for this and will best stretch to accommodate your changing body. Regular leggings like the Sweaty Betty offering above can also work but are more of a toss-up if they haven’t come recommended from a reliable source.
Should I wear compression leggings postpartum?
Once you’ve had a baby, your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are weaker than they were before. Compression leggings can help not only hold you in but also get blood flow to the area to reduce any potential inflammation, similar to how compression socks help the ankles, feet, and legs. This is especially important on more active days when you’re walking or exercising. For lounging at home, you may not need as much support, so a standard pair of leggings with a lower elastane content will suffice.
Why should I wear leggings after giving birth?
Leggings are ideal after giving birth as they provide comfort and support at a time when you’ll need both in spades. If you’ve had a C-section, it’s best to avoid anything too tight around your waist as your incision heals, so it’s best to avoid high-waisted compression styles. And still, if you’ve had a vaginal birth, you may feel tender in the area, and the right leggings can help you navigate this period more comfortably.
Why Trust Byrdie
Catherine Hufton is a Byrdie contributor who also writes about fashion and shopping for other titles such as Elle UK, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle. She is also a mom to two young boys, so she has plenty of experience in shopping for stylish maternity and postnatal clothes. As such, many of the retailers featured are places she has shopped herself over the past few years.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any postpartum leggings from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.