Getting dressed in the morning when you’re pregnant can be a struggle. From an expanding belly to growing pains, backache and nausea, your body requires clothes that offer a whole new level of comfort and, while there are some pieces you can still get away wearing (hello, smock dresses), others need an upgrade to keep you feeling comfortable and secure.
We can think of no other item more fitting for nine months of growing new life than a pair of maternity leggings. A must-have everyday basic, it’s likely that your regular leggings will see you through most, if not all, of your first trimester. But for most expecting mums, you’ll need to make the switch to a pair designed with your growing bump in mind.
So what’s the difference? Unlike standard leggings, maternity styles have an extra bit of fabric at the waistband designed to support your bump and sometimes your back too. Some sit over the bump and high on the waist, while others are low-rise or can be folded down to sit underneath, depending on your preference.
Unlike some maternity clothing, leggings are an excellent investment too, as they grow with you, meaning you won’t have to keep buying new ones as your pregnancy advances. Plus, many styles can be worn postpartum, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re not splashing cash on an item you’ll only get to wear fleetingly.
They are also a versatile wardrobe staple that goes with pretty much everything from oversized shirts to casual tees, silky blouses, blazers and more.
How we tested
Our tester, who is in their second trimester, put a range of maternity leggings through their paces, wearing them while running a day’s worth of errands, during Netflix marathons and workouts. Those that made the cut surpassed our expectations when it came to delivering a comfortable all-day fit, fabric quality, sizing and cost. These are the styles that will have you (and your bump) covered.
The best maternity leggings for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Jojo Maman Bebe black bump support maternity leggings: £18, Jojomamanbebe.co.uk
- Best leather-look style – River Island black coated maternity leggings: £24, Riverisland.com
- Best size-inclusive leggings – M&S maternity over bump leggings: £12.50, Marksandspencer.com
- Best for support – Spanx Mama look at me now seamless leggings: £68, Selfridges.com
- Best patterned pair – Lindex mom patterned leggings: £19.99, Lindex.com
- Best for workouts – Nike One women’s high-rise leggings (maternity): £54.95, Nike.com
- Best cropped leggings – H&M mama 2-pack capri leggings: £17.99, Hm.com
- Best for sustainability – Isabella Oliver Kerrison maternity leggings: £29, Isabellaoliver.com
- Best jeggings – Seraphine super stretch maternity jeggings (twin pack): £59, Seraphine.com
Jojo Maman Bebe black bump support maternity leggings
This pair of leggings has quickly become our favourite ever. Made from a soft, yet thicker, material than most others we tried, they feel more like you’re wearing a set of tights with extra coverage. The leggings are ribbed, designed to provide additional support across the tummy and lower back, and we also loved that they’re seamless, making them feel even more comfortable.
Super stretchy, they’re a breeze to get on and off and keep their shape after washing. Available in XS to L (UK6 to UK18), they run a little on the long side, which is great for those with long limbs, and we found they turn up easily at the ankle for anyone that’s petite. We think these will remain a staple in our wardrobe throughout pregnancy and long after.
River Island black coated maternity leggings
Best: Leather-look style
Proving that pregnancy can be fashionable, this pair of leggings ticks the style and comfort boxes. Made in a sleek leather-look fabric, they may look restrictive but we were surprised to find they have a decent amount of stretch, making them easy to get on and off – so don’t worry, you won’t have a Ross from Friends moment wearing these. The leggings feature an overbump waistband in the same coated material, which helps to hug your curves for all-day comfort without squeezing your bump.
We also found them to be surprisingly breathable and appreciated the ankle grazer length, which means they can be worn with everything from trainers to boots. The leggings are available in sizes UK6 to UK18.
M&S maternity over bump leggings
Best: Size-inclusive leggings
Looking for an easy everyday pair? This simple style from M&S is a purse-friendly purchase that does the job. Soft to the touch, they have a decent amount of stretch, which makes them great for any stage of pregnancy, and an extra high waist that extends right over your growing bump with an elasticated waistband.
The skinny-fit design is snug, giving you plenty of support without being so restrictive they’re difficult to get on or off. We also loved how size-inclusive these leggings are – not only do they come in sizes UK6 to UK22 but there is also a range of different leg lengths, including short, regular and long.
Spanx Mama look at me now seamless leggings
Best: For support
A brand best known for its shapewear, it should come as no surprise that Spanx’s leggings were the most supportive on our list. Super-thick, we were initially concerned we’d struggle to get them on or that they’d feel too restrictive on our bump. However, because the fabric is so stretchy and the leggings are designed with the brand’s “mama magic” waistband, they made our growing belly feel immediately supported, while our legs had never looked better.
With a super high waist, the leggings can expand with you and your bump through all stages of pregnancy. We also loved that, aside from two stylish raised stripes on the outer leg, they’re completely seamless, meaning your hips and thighs are smoothed over and you don’t need to worry about getting dreaded camel toe. The leggings are available in sizes XS to 3XL (UK6 to UK34).
Lindex mom patterned leggings
Best: Patterned pair
Say hello to your new favourite pair of patterned leggings. Proving that you don’t need to sacrifice style when shopping for maternity clothes, this pair is ideal for expectant and new mums looking to inject their wardrobe with some fun. Available in sizes XS to XXL (UK8 to UK28), the leggings are made from lightweight organic cotton and feature a two-tone black and grey swirly motif reminiscent of zebra print.
When it comes to fit, they have a maternity panel that sits over your bump with an elasticated waist to prevent them from slipping. We found that the material was breathable with no worrying about them being see-through. Perfect if you’re looking to make more of a statement, they’re easy to style with everything from simple T-shirts to longline knits.
Nike One women’s high-rise leggings (maternity)
Best: For workouts
It’s vital that you stay comfortable and feel supported during your workout sessions while pregnant, which is where this pair of leggings come in. Made from a soft fabric, they require a little more effort to get on, like most workout leggings, but provide a snug fit once you’re in. While they’re high waisted and can cover your bump comfortably, we liked that you’re able to fold down the waistband when you’re ready to relax and require less support.
We tested this pair during a pregnancy yoga session and found that they stayed in place while allowing full freedom of movement and providing maximum coverage – so you don’t need to worry about accidentally showing off your undies. They’re equally perfect for everyday wear and look great paired with a hoodie on down days. The leggings come in sizes XS to XL (UK4 to UK22).
H&M mama 2-pack capri leggings
Best: Cropped leggings
If you prefer a cropped style or are on the shorter side and struggle to find a pair of leggings to fit, consider this option from H&M. Made from soft jersey material, they’re ideal for hot weather as the cotton fabric helps keep you cool, while the three-quarter-length fit means they pair wonderfully under short dresses too.
The leggings are designed with a wide panel at the waist, promising to keep you comfortable throughout your pregnancy. They come in three colour combinations including the choice of two pairs of black, black and grey marl or navy and grey marl. Our only niggle would be that the breathability comes at the cost of coverage, so we think this pair is best worn with longer tops. Sizes run from S to L (UK8 to UK18).
Isabella Oliver Kerrison maternity leggings
Best: For sustainability
These leggings make light work of pregnancy dressing and do their bit for the environment at the same time. They’re cut from stretchy “lenzing ecovero”, which is an eco-responsible viscose fibre derived from sustainable wood and pulp. Isabella Oliver also rates each of its products on its environmental and social impact taking a range of factors into consideration, such as water use, use of chemicals and people’s wellbeing, with this pair of leggings scoring 82 per cent.
The leggings impressed when it came to fit, too. They are flattering, incredibly high-waisted, which makes you feel immediately supported, and didn’t slide down or feel too tight. They’re available in a choice of black or navy and come in sizes UK4 to UK18.
Seraphine super stretch maternity jeggings (twin pack)
If you love wearing jeans but are finding it increasingly difficult to wiggle your way into your favourite pair, let us introduce you to jeggings – a stretchy garment at the intersection of leggings and jeans. Giving you the look of traditional denim while simultaneously providing a soft, stretchy feel, this twin set promises to be your style saviour, especially if you’re a skinny-fit fan.
Made with a soft cotton blend, the jeggings are comfortable and will see you through pregnancy and beyond, coming in a range of sizes from XS to XXL (UK6 to UK20). We also loved that, unlike most maternity leggings which have fabric that either goes over or below the belly, this style offers the best of both worlds as they can be pulled up just above your belly button or folded down, depending on your preference. Yes, they’re pricey, but if you’re missing not being able to wear jeans, you’ll be practically living in these throughout your pregnancy.
The verdict: Maternity leggings
Jojo Maman Bebe’s super stretchy leggings take the crown for us, owing to their “second skin” feel, affordable price point and ability to see you through pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. For something a little more fashion-forward, we really rate River Island’s leather-look leggings, which ensure you’ve got style, support and comfort nailed.