Updated on December 14, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
If your pre-pregnancy pants are getting a bit on the tight side, it’s time to explore new, roomier options. It can be a strange transition to watch your belly grow and say goodbye to your waistline, but the right pair of maternity jeans will allow you to still be stylish throughout your entire pregnancy. Fortunately, maternity fashion has come a long way in recent years, which means you don’t need to say goodbye to skinny jeans even though you’re expecting!
Here are our top 7 picks for the best maternity pants of 2021:
Best Maternity Pants
(Best for early pregnancy — $)
Why it’s great: Although these aren’t technically labeled as maternity pants, they’re a great option if you’re looking for leggings. The extra-high, 3-inch elastic waistband allows for comfort as your belly grows, and the cotton/spandex material is breathable and soft. They are available in regular and plus sizes and come in several lengths: full-length, capri, slip short, bike shorts, and knee shorts.
Keep in mind: A few reviewers noted it’s best to order one size up from your normal size. For maternity purposes, this would probably be an especially good idea. Also, although the waistband is definitely high enough for the first six months or so, you might need something with a higher waistband for the final trimester.
Good for: These leggings are great to wear under tunics or dresses, lounging around the house, or working out, making them a versatile staple to have in your wardrobe. The color and length options only add to the versatility.
(Most comfortable jeans — $$$)
Why it’s great: These classic skinny jeans from Levi Strauss & Co. are a high-quality, comfortable option for day-to-day wear. They feature a baby bump panel that is suitable for all stages of pregnancy, and come in classic denim or black. The jeans are made of a high-quality blend of cotton, polyester, and elastane for some extra stretch. The waistband is designed with special cooling technology for added comfort as your baby grows.
Keep in mind: These jeans fit tight through the thigh, hip, and ankle, so they might not be the best option if you’re looking for roomier jeans.
Good for: Many reviewers noted the design of the waistband makes these a great fit for early pregnancy when many other designs of maternity pants tend to slip down. Pair them with a stretchy t-shirt for at-home style, or with a dressier blouse for out-on-the-town chic comfort.
(Best leggings for the third trimester — $)
Why it’s great: If you tended to live in your yoga pants before your pregnancy, you won’t regret buying at least one pair of these maternity leggings from Vocni. The high waistband makes them suitable for the entire nine months of pregnancy, and especially comfortable at the end when nothing else will stay up on your belly.
Keep in mind: The waistband is adjustable, allowing you to add or remove length throughout your pregnancy. Also keep in mind that these are designed to come up over your bump, so the waist is quite high.
Good for: Comfort and versatility at the end of pregnancy.
(Most stylish — $)
Why it’s great: The 80s have never been so stylish – or comfortable! These jumpsuit overalls from Aedvoouer are a perfect fit for anyone looking for retro style and lightweight comfort during pregnancy. They are made of lightweight, breathable cotton linen blend, with adjustable shoulder straps and front pockets for convenience.
Keep in mind: Aedvoouer recommends hand washing these overalls. Also, the legs are pretty baggy, so if you’re looking for jeggings, these aren’t for you.
Good for: These are perfect for moms who are looking for style and comfort around the house. They will fit during all stages of pregnancy and can be easily dressed up with a chic blouse for a date night.
(Best quality — $$$)
Why it’s great: These jeggings from Motherhood Maternity are the epitome of everyday casual maternity style. They come in five different colors – medium wash, tahoe wash, dark wash, grey wash, and black – and are made from a blend of cotton, rayon, modal, polyester, and spandex. They also have (real!) back pockets and feature the Motherhood Maternity signature Secret Fit belly panel, designed for maximum comfort through all stages of pregnancy.
Keep in mind: These jeggings aren’t quite short enough to be capris, but they are a bit on the shorter side, and hit right at the ankle. The medium and Tahoe wash styles have rips in the knees, while the other three styles do not.
Good for: Everyday comfort and style that will last.
(Most comfortable — $$)
Why it’s great: These maternity pants from Liu & Qu are designed for everyday style or athletic use. If you’re looking to add a bit of color and artistic flair to your wardrobe, you’ll find it here. The pants are available in a variety of shades and patterns, including purple, peacock blue, camo, and floral print. They are made from a blend of viscose and spandex for a comfortable, stretchy fit. They also have functioning pockets!
Keep in mind: Though the material is stretchy, these are not skin tight and are meant to be loose-fitting. Also, although the Amazon page says true to size, many reviewers noted that they sized up and the fit was perfect.
Good for: Cute comfort for lounging around the house or hanging out with baby during the postpartum period.
(Best jeans for third trimester — $$)
Why it’s great: These classic jeans from Motherhood Maternity feature a pull-on closure and stretchy fit. They are made of cotton, polyester, rayon, and spandex, and come in either medium or dark denim wash. The seamless maternity panel stretches as your baby grows, and rides high over your bump for comfort in the final trimester.
Keep in mind: The front pockets are not real, but the back pockets are. A few reviewers noted that the ankles on these pants are slightly loose, so they might not be the best option if you’re looking for a tight, skinny jean fit. However, if your ankles tend to swell during your pregnancies, these are the perfect jeans for you.
Good for: These are durable, comfortable skinny jeans that are ideal for later stages of pregnancy.
FAQs about maternity pants
1. What waistband style should I choose?
Maternity pants come in a few different styles of waistbands. The most common are underbelly waistbands, side panel waistbands, and over belly waistbands. Over belly, waistbands are best for long-term use, but they can be uncomfortable in the first trimester and early second trimester before your belly has really expanded. Side panel waistbands often have a normal zipper and button closure, with elastic on the side to allow for growth. Underbelly waistbands are great in the earlier stages of pregnancy since they are flexible but not super intrusive. If possible, try all three to figure out which you prefer, since it really comes down to preference.
2. What size is best?
Maternity clothing sizes typically follow non-maternity sizes. For example, if you are a size 8 in non-maternity clothing, you will probably be fine with a size 8 in maternity pants. However, some brands have different sizing options, so be sure to check size charts when purchasing maternity pants online.
3. When will I need to buy maternity pants?
Most women start to outgrow their pre-pregnancy pants in the second trimester, around week twenty or so, but again – this really varies. If you start to notice yourself feeling bloated or unbuttoning your top pants button frequently, it’s time for a change. But if you’re still in the early weeks of your pregnancy, don’t rush – you have some time!
4. How many pairs do I need?
The best way to figure out the answer to this question is to track how many pairs of pants you go through in a typical week before you purchase maternity pants. It also depends on what clothes you are required to wear to work, the season, and your own personal preference. If you lean in a minimalist direction, a couple of pairs of maternity leggings and 3-4 pairs of pants should be sufficient.
Finding the perfect pair of maternity pants can be a little like discovering a lost $50 bill in your coat pocket from last winter – it’s amazing when it happens, but not dependable. These seven options take out the luck factor. Whether you’re looking for casual comfort, chic elegance, or everyday style, you’re sure to find something you like.