The days of throwing on an ex-lover’s hoodie, ill-fitting T-shirt you got free for doing a sponsored something, or letting the elastic waistband of your favourite leggings disintegrate to the point of being almost maternity-wear are happily, a thing of the past. The last two years have seen a sizeable shift in how the fashion world caters for pregnant women and finally – that now also includes some genuinely nice activewear too.
Starting, perhaps sheepishly with just a few leggings and tank tops, retailers soon realised that just like their non-pregnant counterparts, maternity activewear couldn’t be so generic as to amount to a couple of stretchy basics. There needed to be different strokes for different folks: runners don’t want to same sports bras as yogis; and cyclists by no means want the same shorts as anybody else. And for the life of us we can’t figure out why the majority of maternity swimsuits out there are inexplicably 1950s pin-up-inspired and almost exclusively patterned with polka dots? Hardly what one needs while doing laps in the lido before work.
With a surge in brands designing just for pregnancy fitness, as well as your favourite high street saviours like Topshop and ASOS launching activewear collections (yes, in maternity fits too), things are most definitely looking up. Here’s our pick of the very best out there.
ASOS 4505 Seamless Maternity Yoga Leggings
Best for: yoga and pilates
Last month ASOS launched their first ever activewear range, and rather thoughtfully there are maternity versions of the best bits. These leggings are on-point with sheer panel detailing, and are as comfy as they are cute. We’d recommend buying a size smaller than usual as they come up on the larger side.
£25, ASOS, Buy it now
FittaMamma Maternity Exercise Shorts
Best for: cycling
Designed specifically with cycling in mind, these clever shorts are made from fully opaque fabric, meaning there’s no risk that anyone sat behind you in traffic nor spinning class will be subject to the dreaded shorts-going-see-through-at-the-bum thing.
£24.99, FittaMamma, Buy it now
Bravado Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra
Best for: yoga and Pilates
There are many reasons why this sports bra is so great. On a superficial level, the back straps can be switched around to match whichever top you’re wearing, which is obviously cute. On a practical level though, this really trumps the rest. The bra has full drop away cups with secure one-handed clips for easy nursing, as well as shape-enhancing removable foam inserts. The fabric also cleverly uses a technology to stop odour-causing bacteria – pretty important if you’re sweating a lot, and/or breastfeeding. It’s also wire-free which is recommended during pregnancy to avoid any potential damage to breast tissues or blocked milk ducts that can be caused by poor-fitting wired bras.
£34, John Lewis, Buy it now
Madeleine Shaw x Mamas & Papas Swimsuit
Best for: aqua-fit classes
Mamas and Papas collaborated with Nutritional health coach Madeleine Shaw to create a really and truly cool activewear collection. This one-piece is so great because of its zipped back – meaning it isn’t a clingy nightmare to get over your chest while you change. Crucially – for any water sports – it also has inbuilt bust support and some less-crucial but much-appreciated flattering black panels which give a pleasing waistline.
£17, Mamas and Papas, Buy it now
Mamalicious Active Long Sleeved Maternity Cardigan
Best for: warming up and cooling down
Every sporty person has at least one well-worn zipped top in their gym arsenal, and now there’s an as-cool maternity one to take you through the next months, years, however long you fancy. The drawstring sides are designed to look good at every stage of pregnancy (and beyond), and the zipped pockets mean you can throw your keys and phone in there and run, walk, cycle or head to the gym bag-free.
£45, Mamalicious, Buy it now
Blooming Marvellous Maternity Yoga Pants
Best for: yoga
If you love Lululemon’s famous yoga pants, this similar style from Mothercare are an inexpensive stand-in pair to tide you over for the foreseeable future. Designed to wear during and post pregnancy, the wide waistband can be worn both over or under your bump depending on where you’re at size-wise, and what feels comfy for your workout.
£18, Mothercare, Buy it now
Topshop Maternity Raglan Hoodie
Best for: outdoor adventuring
Topshop’s maternity collection is one of the very best out there, serving up not just the basics but the freshest trend bits too. Case in point, this soft, loose and almost-too-nice to workout in blush-coloured Yeezy-esque hoodie. Just the ticket for hiking, power walking or a chic-as commute to the gym.
£26, Topshop, Buy it now
Speedo Maternity One Piece Swimsuit
Best for: swimming lengths
Although at first glance this looks a bit too pretty to workout in, stay with us. What you can’t see is the bust support, nor the four-way stretch fabric, which supports but doesn’t restrict you while you swim. The fabric is also ruched at the sides, meaning it looks great at every stage of bump-growing, and the low U-back style means getting in and out of it is relatively simple.
£39, Speedo, Buy it now
Madeleine Shaw x Mamas & Papas Printed Leggings
Best for: spinning and cycling
These under the bump leggings, although designed with yoga in mind are actually pretty perfect for bike-based exercise too. The soft tulip waistband won’t dig into you while you lean over the handlebars, and the snakeskin print means you’re still looking like your old spinning class self while you’re at it.
£11, Mamas and Papas, Buy it now
ASOS 4505 Maternity Training T-shirt
Best for: running
Arguably the very best item from the new collection, this top is a runner’s dream. The raglan sleeves mean arms have a large range to move in, and it is that perfect kind of slim fit which isn’t too constricting but is definitely not baggy. It is basically a maternity version of every marathon runner’s favourite training tee.
£10, ASOS, Buy it now
Next Black Maternity Printed Technical Leggings
Best for: all activities
These are proper workout wonders, combining really supportive seamed legs with a panel of power mesh covering the bump for extra support. While you’re still smaller early on in your pregnancy or after you’ve had your baby, just fold over the mesh support to create a smaller panel.
£24, Next, Buy it now
FittaMamma Ultimate Maternity Sportswear Top
Best for: running and high intensity workouts
This top really means business. It is in fact double layered, the back panel made of sweat-wicking mesh. Also, unusually for a top it features an ultra-firm waistband which supports your hips & pelvis, a feature the brand sweetly likens to wearing a sports bra on your baby bump. We recommend you wear it from the 10th week of your pregnancy as well as for postnatal exercise.
£64.99, FittaMamma, Buy it now
Seraphine Neon Detail Maternity & Nursing Sweater
Best for: walking and low-impact exercise
A luxuriously soft sweater will never let you down, and this little beauty also doubles up as a nursing top with shoulder poppers. The thumb-holes are exactly what chilly-walks call for, while the neon details mean you’ll always look a little bit fancy.
£45, Seraphine, Buy it now
Mamalicious Training Maternity Top
Best for: outdoor training
The perfect longsleeve to wear with leggings for colder days. As great for running as it is for staying cosy during Savasana pose, the ribbed details around the neckline, wrists and sides mean this bad boy isn’t twisting, rolling up or generally budging an inch.
£30, Mamalicious, Buy it now
No pregnant woman should go without a good pair of leggins and the 4505 seamless option from ASOS is a reliable, comfortable and affordable must have . We recommend you continue to wear your maternity gym gear postnatal too, and definitely not just for working out in, as their supportive but stretchy fits will help with that in-between-sizes time while your body is in recovery. Just like with other maternity clothing, resist the temptation to buy a size larger than your pre-pregnancy one, as the maternity cuts will allow for weight gain in all the usual places. Loose and ill-fitting activewear won’t provide the support you really need, so best stay true to whatever size you wore before.
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