The benefits of exercising whilst pregnant are becoming increasingly well known and luckily, there's a growing range of companies producing amazing yoga pants to keep you active through the nine months.
Long gone are the days of kicking back and eating for two. Today a growing number of women are opting to continue exercising throughout pregnancy, with yoga remaining a firm favourite among many mums-to-be. It's no surprise considering research has found prenatal yoga can help women experience a more comfortable pregnancy and less painful labour. And what pregnant woman wouldn’t want that?
More good news: the days of wearing your partner's baggy old t-shirt over your bump to the studio are finally over. Today maternity apparel is big business (set to be worth a colossal $7 billion globally by 2023) and brands are responding accordingly: pregnant yogis can now find a range of suitable activewear options that will adapt with their changing bodies and support their growing bumps.
What to look for
How pregnancy impacts you and which trimester you’re in will likely influence what you’re looking for in a pair of maternity yoga leggings. In the first trimester, many women barely have a bump, meaning many can get away with a pair of standard yoga leggings. In some cases, especially in the very early days, maternity leggings might actually be too big.
During the second trimester, most women start to get more of a pronounced bump and at the same time their energy levels improve and first trimester symptoms such as nausea and vomiting start to wear off. For many, this is considered the honeymoon trimester and you can make the most of it by exercising in super supportive maternity leggings that have room for your growing body and reduce bump bounce.
When it comes to the third trimester, while many women are keen to remain active it’s fair to say that once the bump gets really big the main priority is usually comfort. Squeezing into tight compression leggings isn’t always appealing at this stage and many prefer looser styles that are easier to pull on. Plus, this style is also ideal for the postpartum recovery period.
Best for first trimester
Asquith London Flow With It Leggings
Buy now: Asquith (UK) / Asquith (US) | $74.97
For the first trimester, you can’t beat Asquith London's bestselling Flow With It leggings. The soft elastic waistband is supportive but doesn’t cut in – a must if you’ve got any first-trimester queasiness.
While these leggings are 100% opaque, the material is breathable meaning you aren’t going to overheat. Plus, they are supremely soft against the skin thanks to the blend of bamboo, organic cotton and elastane.
The four-way-stretch helps the leggings to keep their shape while moving with you, so if you’re feeling up to a bit of yoga amidst the nausea and exhaustion many women experience at this stage, they're a great option.
They also come in a great range of sizes, from XS-XXL, as well as four different colours including this eye-catching navy snake print. And if all that weren’t enough, you can rest easy knowing they are chemical-free, responsibly made and sustainable to boot.
Best for second trimester
FittaMamma Ultimate Maternity Fitness Capri Leggings
Buy now: FittaMamma (UK) / FittaMamma (US) | $88.99
If you like your workout gear backed by science, look no further than FittaMamma. Its range of workout gear was tested as part of a study by leading experts at the University of Portsmouth. The results? FittaMamma fitness wear reduced bounce of the bump in all directions by 48% – now that is some serious support!
When you consider many women experience lower backache and pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy, anything to help alleviate this type of discomfort is worth consideration.
We tried the Ultimate Maternity Fitness Capri Leggings and it was immediately obvious they had been designed by people in the know. From the mesh panels behind the knee for sweat-wicking, to the ergonomic flat lock seams that offer full freedom of movement while avoiding chafing, these leggings are expertly crafted.
We think the super supportive style makes them the perfect option for high impact exercise classes or running – ideal for burning off all that second-trimester energy.
Mamalicious Active Tights
Buy now: mamalicious (UK) | £25
Tights, rather than leggings, the first thing to note about these is that they are a doddle to pull up over the bump – there’s no pregnant wriggle required here! On the flipside, they are thinner and stretchier, meaning they offer less support than the other leggings we reviewed.
As such, they would be perfect for a lowkey pregnancy yoga class where flexibility and comfort come first, but you'd want something with a bit more compression for anything more high impact, like running or a HIIT class. At just £25 per pair, these are a great budget option.
Reebok Yoga Lux 2.0 Maternity Tights
Buy now: Reebok (UK) / Reebok(US) | $65
Activewear heavyweight Reebok has recently launched a new line of maternity wear, including the Yoga Lux 2.0 Maternity Tights. Available in black or blue, they are made of sweat-wicking, high-stretch fabric that aims to grow with you throughout pregnancy.
We found the support band around the belly offered excellent bump support, ideal for second-trimester growth. While fitted, these tights aren't so tight that they feel restrictive, making them a great choice for yoga. And with sizes starting at XS (0-2 UK) and going up to XL (20-22 UK), these leggings will be a great fit for a wide range of yogis.
One word of warning: if you’re after a true black, you might want to try something else as these are more like a very, very dark grey.
Cadenshae Maternity Leggings Classic Full Length
Buy now: Cadenshae (UK) / Cadenshae(US) | $85
If you're looking for a pair of yoga leggings that will not only function well throughout your pregnancy and beyond but are ridiculously flattering too, check out this fine offering by New Zealand based maternity activewear brand Cadenshae. They really have thought of everything.
The high waistband acts as a compression panel to hold your bump in place before birth and offers an extra level of support during the postpartum period. If preferred it can also be worn folded down, making them a versatile choice popular with mums around the globe.
And speaking of postpartum use, the waistline has been ingeniously designed to scoop low, so should you have a c-section it won't irritate the scar. And while the brand is based on the other side of the world, they offer free shipping on orders over £60 and free returns and exchanges for customers in the UK.
Seraphine The 2 Piece Active Kit
Buy now: Seraphine (UK) / Seraphine (US) | $109
To really show off that second-trimester bump, go for the 2 Piece Active Kit from Seraphine, the maternity wear brand beloved by celebrities, royalty and everyday mums alike.
The kit includes the Capri leggings and matching racerback tank top, which worn together are great for highlighting your bump as it grows throughout the second trimester. And it’s not just about looks; the two-piece set is made out of breathable high-performance stretch fabric to offer comfort throughout your workouts.
The workout pants come with a comfy, seamless waistband that can be worn over the bump while pregnant and folded down once you've had the baby, meanwhile the racerback is cut long and ruched at the sides to accommodate your growing bump.
This is a great option for women who don’t want to faff about purchasing lots of different pieces, just pick up the kit and you’re ready to sweat throughout pregnancy.
Best for third trimester
Blooming Marvellous Maternity Yoga Pants
Buy now: Mothercare (UK) | £18
Sizes: 8-20 (UK)
Crafted out of breathable cotton, these Maternity Yoga Pants from Mothercare’s Blooming Marvellous range are supremely comfortable. Combined with elastane for a comfortable fit, these will stretch with your growing bump for the final few months of your pregnancy. Plus, the wide waistband doesn't cut in at all and can be worn over your bump or folded down underneath, whichever is comfier.
These would be a great option for the third trimester as they are easy to pull on and once up, offering a great range of motion. If you’re on the shorter side like our tester, you might need to get them taken up as they did drag on the floor.
Given their soft style, they also don’t offer much in the way of compression so they’d be best for some gentle prenatal stretching (or equally, a sofa-based Netflix binge). Speaking of which, these would be utter bliss during the postpartum recovery period.
Available in sizes 8-20, and in black or charcoal, these are a great option for mums-to-be looking for a relaxed pair of yoga pants at a very affordable price.
Isabella Oliver Ashley Maternity Pant
Buy now: Isabella Oliver (UK) / Isabella Oliver (US) | $105
Sizes: 4-12 (UK)
Kitting yourself out with a whole new maternity wardrobe can be expensive and given it's needed for less than a year, it makes financial sense to buy items that have more than one purpose.
Enter the Ashley Maternity Pant from Isabella Oliver. These comfy pants are perfect for some gentle yoga, but they'd look equally good dressed up for a relaxed sports luxe look. We particularly liked the tapered fit, which felt flattering rather than slobby.
The striped accent adds a spot of sporty detailing, meanwhile the pockets are a great extra addition that not only look great but are practical too.
The premium jersey material is incredibly soft, making these a great choice for achieving ultimate comfort in the third trimester and postpartum period. Plus, if you give a hoot about the ethics of the brands you purchase from, you’ll love Isabella Oliver. The environmentally and socially conscious label has recently launched a maternity clothing recycling scheme to help reduce the amount of clothing going to landfills each year.
They accept any brands and the pieces will either be re-loved, repurposed or recycled by them. Plus, if you participate, you’ll receive £20 off your next order.