Life·11 min read

A Practical Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Underwear

Undergarments for pregnancy and postpartum
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Bodily, Kindred Bravely
Sep 9, 2022

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When you first imagine your pregnancy wardrobe, you may picture oversized sweaters, comfy leggings, or cute dresses that show off your bump. But it’s not all about that outer layer. You’ll almost certainly also need some new bras and undies, for either pregnancy or postpartum, or both.

From under-belly maternity panties to pumping bras that are practical and pretty, here are some of the best things you’ll actually want to wear under your clothes every day. Of course, everyone’s body and needs will be different — but these recs can help you get started.

Psst…this is part of our Relatable Fashion Week series. For more of our recs for your pregnancy and postpartum wardrobe (and beyond), click here.

Undies

Simple but comfortable 100% cotton undies…

The sexiest underwear you’re ever going to buy? Probably not. But these are comfy, breathable, and forgiving both in early pregnancy and postpartum (they may not fit when you’re super-duper pregnant). Psst…we rec going up a size or two for maximum usefulness (and comfiness). ($18.96/12 pack, Amazon)

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Basic under-belly maternity underwear…

There may come a time when your old underwear — even pairs that are a size or two up — just doesn’t feel right anymore. These are designed to work under your belly (but will still fit when baby’s outta there, too). ($20/3 pack, Motherhood Maternity)

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Over-belly panties for those who prefer more coverage…

If the under-belly design doesn’t appeal to you, opt for undies that come up much higher on your bump. This pair is made with 95% certified organic cotton and 5% elastane for stretch. When you’re done with ‘em, you can even return them (along with underwear from any other brand) to Knickey, which will recycle them and give you rewards points to use in the future. ($30, Knickey)

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Postpartum underwear that works for C-section recovery…

Another high-waisted option, these are designed to sit above a C-section scar (but are suitable for anyone). While simple, the lace design also adds a touch more style when you may be wanting it the most. Psst...use code THESKIMM at checkout for 20% off through October 1. ($34.99/5 pack, Kindred Bravely)

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Disposable underwear like the ones you get in the hospital…

If someone hasn’t already told you to take extra disposable underwear home from the hospital, here’s your reminder. But it’s also smart to be prepared and have these waiting for you at home. They’re stretchy, comfortable, and ideal for loading up with pads to accommodate postpartum bleeding (without ruining underwear you actually like). There’s a C-section version with a higher waist, too. ($15.99, Amazon)

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Leakproof underwear for things that didn’t leak before…

Pregnancy and new motherhood can involve all kinds of, well, leaking. From extra discharge or pee during pregnancy to blood and, yes, pee even when pregnancy is over, it’s safe to say that you may appreciate a pair of leakproof undies — like these, which can absorb up to 8 teaspoons of whatever you’ve got going on — if you prefer not to use panty liners. They’re also available in over a dozen colors and sizes XS–4XL. ($32, Knix)

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Shorts, tights, and socks

Bike shorts to keep you comfy all year round…

You don’t need to be pregnant to appreciate some good bike shorts under a dress in the summer (see ya, chafing). This super-soft pair is also good for sleeping or just lounging around the house, and will be handy no matter what stage of pregnancy or postpartum you’re in. Psst...use code THESKIMM at checkout for 15% off through October 1. ($58, Storq)

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Some straightforward maternity tights…

It’s pretty simple: When your regular tights don’t fit anymore, try a pair designed to grow with your bump. These are available in three shades and four sizes. Plus, they can be machine-washed and dried. Win. ($17, QVC)

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Compression socks to help with leg and foot issues…

If you’re working on your feet all day, dealing with swelling or varicose veins, or just flying somewhere, under-knee compression socks or stockings can help. They’re a great staple to have even beyond postpartum. (And talk to your doctor about any specific medical concerns, of course.) ($28, Bombas)

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Bras

A basic nursing bra that’s popular for a reason…

Kindred Bravely will probably start haunting your targeted ads as soon as you announce your pregnancy (just us?). And this popular nursing bra has a lot going for it. Comfortable, supportive without being too tight, and easy to clip down for feedings, it also has a helpful range of sizes (for each size, S–3XL, there’s an additional “busty” version). And it’s available in five neutral shades. Psst...use code THESKIMM at checkout for 20% off through October 1. ($44.99, Kindred Bravely)

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A seamless nursing bra for anyone with a larger cup size...

According to one Skimm HQ’r, who “has not worn a single other bra” since giving birth, this one is the GOAT. It has a wide back band, lightly contoured cups for comfortable support, and is made from fabric that helps body sweat evaporate so you’ll get that cooling effect while wearing it. ($52.68+, Amazon)

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An inexpensive option if you want to stock up…

A well-liked nursing bra with more than 13,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, a pack of these come in at under $10 per bra. Save that extra money to buy some nicer bras when your boobs finally settle into whatever size they’re going to be post-pregnancy. ($25.99/3 pack, Amazon)

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A barely there bra that works for breastfeeding (or not)...

While this isn’t the right bra if you're looking for a ton of support, if you want something super light and soft — either because you’re not leaving the house all day or because your boobs are in a lot of pain — this fits the bill. It’s also ideal during pregnancy if you start to resent your underwire bras for digging into your skin. ($38, Hatch)

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A clip-down option that maximizes comfort…

Another bra that’s perfect if you’re looking for comfort over serious support. It’s highly adjustable and optimized for breastfeeding (a board-certified lactation consultant helped with the design) — but also just really soft. ($48, Bodily)

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A sports bra that clips down for nursing…

This moisture-wicking racerback bra is a good option for postpartum workouts if you still want easy nursing access. It’s not designed to provide a super-high level of support, but you may still appreciate having a separate bra for mommy-and-me (or mommy alone) workouts. Psst...use code THESKIMM at checkout for 20% off through October 1. ($44.99, Kindred Bravely)

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A hands-free bra for hours and hours spent pumping…

If you plan to spend any significant amount of time pumping, a hands-free pumping bra (which holds pump parts in place so you can get things done — or scroll on your phone) is a must. This one’s super popular and can be worn either with or without straps. You can keep it with your pumping supplies and just zip it over a regular nursing bra when you need it. ($29.99, Target)

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A prettier pumping option…

You may be looking down this list of nursing bras and wondering where all the, er, pretty ones are. Here’s a great nursing and pumping option designed with more than just utility in mind. ($56, The Dairy Fairy)

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A sports bra for support if you’re formula feeding…

If you can’t breastfeed, or choose not to, you may be advised to wear a sports bra 24 hours a day until your supply goes down. This one is fast-drying and has adjustable straps to help you find the right fit. ($27.97+, Amazon)

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