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Image / Style / Shopping

The best maternity leggings and jeans, according to new and expectant mums


By Lauren Heskin
14th Jan 2024

rosie huntington-whiteley / Instagram

The best maternity leggings and jeans, according to new and expectant mums

Finding comfortable and fitted maternity leggings and jeans is no easy feat, so we asked some new moms what they wore during pregnancy.

First off, congratulations! You’re expecting and trying to survive the first trimester while keeping it all under your hat – not easy. And there are probably lots of things flying through your head – how you’ll tell your family and friends, whether it’ll be a boy or girl, calculating your due date.

If you’re still in single-digit weeks, you’re probably not yet thinking about maternity clothes. However, while your bump probably won’t “pop” for another while, you will need to let go of your high-waisted jeans pretty quickly. Bloating, a classic first-trimester symptom, usually kicks in around week nine and between that, constipation, trapped gas and your growing belly, you will be grateful for a little extra room.

If you’ve already been through this pregnancy spiel before, you’ll know that for most of your pregnancy, you’ll get away with your usual clothes on top, especially loose-fit t-shirts, jumpers and shirts. However, it’s a different story when it comes to your lower half. Even if you decide a maternity wardrobe is a waste for nine months of wear, you will inevitably need to invest in maternity trousers of some kind – unless you want to be waddling into the labour ward pantless (sadly not an option).

A necessity from the end of your first trimester onwards, the right maternity leggings and jeans can be difficult to find. That’s partly because maternity sections in most of the high street shops are woeful, and that’s if you can find them at all. As IMAGE editorial director Dominique McMullan put it, “Your choices are either preppy, dull mom clothes or cheap and ugly wrap dresses.”

And then there’s the question of what size you should get – you want something that’ll fit you now but also remain comfortable as you get bigger. So I did what any woman would do – I asked my pregnant and mom friends what maternity jeans and leggings they would recommend. And the winner? The Lululemon Align leggings, especially if you’re tall. However, if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to that, there are still plenty of other pairs that these new mums loved.

Dominique

The maternity jeans I turned to were from H&M, in my normal size. I bought two pairs – one light and one dark. I went for the boyfriend style which seemed to balance out my upper half as it grew. I have worn them for two pregnancies now and while they are nothing to write home about, they do the trick. 

But really my number one recommendation for lower half pregnancy dressing is to pick up a pair of the Lululemon Align leggings. They’re not maternity leggings, they’re just comfortable, soft and supportive. I wore them right up to D-day. Because really, who wears jeans anymore right? Right?! 

Jenny

The Lululemon Align leggings, above, are what I lived in the whole way through. I found it really hard to find trousers that were long enough for me (I’m 6ft) and also maternity wear. Though they aren’t actually maternity, they are great, super comfortable, and they stretched over my bump all the way along. I even wore them post-birth too.

Sorcha

I lived in a pair of black Uniqlo Ultra-stretch jeggings for the last few months of pregnancy. I’m 5’10, so the length was perfect and the stretchy material worked well as I got bigger. I paired them with oversized jumpers for my winter third trimester.

They were one of three maternity clothes items I bought and by far the best. I banished them to the attic once I gave birth but have they’re there to get me through if there is a next time!

Libby

I got a H&M pair of maternity jeans and loved them. They were just the right amount of slouchy to put with a tight top to show off my bump and I felt so cool in them with a turn-up and my Birkenstocks during my summer third trimester. Towards the end, I couldn’t face bending down to tug up my skinny maternity jeans in the heat, but a good pair of boyfriend jeans are nice and airy right until the end.

Siobhan

I definitely had a few favourites – leggings and sweaters were my go-to pregnancy uniform. I feel like people are often divided between Lululemon and Sweaty Betty but I’m a Lululemon fan. The fabric was really soft and stretched with my bump all the way until I gave birth. I’ve even worn them post-pregnancy as well and the fabric isn’t too stretched, which is great.

I left my Uniqlo ones behind when I hurried home at the beginning of Covid and wished I had them for my first two trimesters. Unfortunately, by the time we were reunited, they didn’t stretch over my third-trimester bump. However, I have loved them post-pregnancy. They’re loose but make me feel a little more put together when I wear them with a blazer.

Elizabeth

When I was getting close to 20 weeks, I tried to pick up some maternity pants because I was getting that bit bigger. However, I couldn’t find any maternity options in-store so I ended up ordering two pairs of jeans from River Island online, one grey pair and a blue pair. I loved them and wore them almost to the end and now a few weeks post-partum I’m back in them, just because they’re nice and soft. I would definitely recommend over the bump rather than under the bump.

I also lived in a pair of H&M over-the-bump joggers, they were just so comfortable.

Feature image via @rosiehw.We may earn a commission if you buy something from any affiliate links on our site. This article was originally published in January 2023.