If you’re pregnant, it’s easy to convince yourself to stay planted on the couch, but your OB will be the first one to tell you that getting regular exercise has its major benefits. By getting moving, you will reduce aching and constipation, improve your energy levels, sleep better (a must!) and even make labor/delivery easier by strengthening your muscles. Even though you’re on board with the exercise advice, finding the right workout clothes for your growing belly can be difficult. You want them to be functional, yet still stylish — and most of all, comfortable. Why not just throw on an oversized tee sitting in your closet? Well, feeling confident in your clothing could be that little extra boost you need to feel motivated to work out.
Here’s a breakdown of the four things you want to consider when building your pregnancy workout wardrobe:
- Soft and breathable fabrics: When you’re already uncomfortable during pregnancy, the last thing you want to add to that is stiff clothing. Look for soft materials that naturally have some stretch to them like cotton with a nylon or polyester blend. You might find that you overheat when you’re carrying a child, so these breathable fabrics are ideal for all seasons. Also consider moisture-wicking materials that not only keep you dry during a workout but can be easier to take off when they’re not sticking to your skin.
- Size: Maternity sizes are the same as your regular size, so you don’t necessarily need to size up unless you feel more comfortable doing so. As your body changes, it’s nice to invest in workout wear that grows with you as opposed to just sizing up in your regular workout brands.
- Style and design: Unlike typical workout wear, tees and tanks might feature ruching on the side so it can accommodate a growing belly, plus you want them long enough so they don’t constantly ride up. Workout pants and shorts will likely feature over-the-belly waists that you can fold over if you’re still early on in your pregnancy, or if it feels more comfortable to do so. The wider waistbands will help you feel supported, but not overly squeezed. When it comes to workout bras, you’ll probably gravitate towards a wire-free option that has helpful features like removable cups for comfort and nursing clips if you decide to breastfeed.
- Extras: Belly bands can offer a ton of back support while you’re exercising and they all grow with your belly. If you’re experiencing swollen ankles and feet, consider knee-high compression socks that offer some relief.
The good news is that building your workout wardrobe only takes a few key pieces. These days there are even more options to choose from: There are your mall stores you already know and love (like Nike, more on that below) that carry activewear collections, but there are also entire brands devoted to clothes just for pregnant women. We dive into our editor favorites:
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