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How to choose maternity leggings

When it comes to putting together your maternity wardrobe, you want to go for the most comfortable clothing. There are a lot of changes that take place in a woman's body during pregnancy, and you'll inevitably have to rely on some outfits more than others. 

Maternity leggings are a must-have everyday basic that will support your bump as well as add a layer of comfort to your maternity outfit. A few quality pairs can last you throughout your entire pregnancy. Read on to discover all you need to know about maternity leggings, including how to choose them.

What are the different types of maternity leggings?

There are two main styles of maternity leggings:

1. Over-the-belly waistband 

    These are also commonly referred to as over-the-bump maternity leggings. As you might have guessed from the name, they feature a waistband that sits over the belly. The panel is constructed to be stretchy and comfortable, offering varying degrees of support depending on the type you purchase. 

    These maternity leggings are suitable for any stage of pregnancy, as well as postpartum. If you have over-heating concerns or an itchy belly, you might want to steer clear of over-the-belly maternity leggings.

    2. Under-the-belly waistband

      These are also known as under-the-bump maternity leggings. What distinguishes them from their over-the-belly counterparts is the lack of a belly panel, which means they don’t cover your belly. They feature an elastic waistband at the top of the leggings which stretches along with your burgeoning belly.

      These maternity leggings are best suited for the first trimester and postpartum. They are also a great option if you don’t like any pressure on your belly.

      What size maternity leggings should you go for?

      Maternity leggings come in a variety of sizes, including one-size leggings and plus-size leggings. If you don't know your size, the best thing to do is to measure the widest part of your hips, and then use the measurement along with the provided sizing guide of the seller or manufacturer you plan to purchase from.

      For the waist size, measure around the fullest area of your bump, typically around the navel or slightly below it. Unless stated otherwise on the manufacturer’s sizing guide, it’s recommended that you use your pre-pregnancy size.

      Are normal leggings an option?

      You can usually get away with wearing regular leggings by going up a size or two, especially if you're not too keen on over-the-belly maternity leggings. However, if you want support and belly coverage, it's a good idea to go for leggings that are specially designed to be worn by pregnant women.

      When should I start wearing maternity leggings?

      All women are different, so the body changes you experience might not be the same as that of another expectant mom. Most women are comfortable wearing their normal clothes during the first trimester of pregnancy. You might start to size up on clothing when you’re around 4 to 5 months along. You can start wearing maternity leggings as early as you want – not only are they comfortable and easy to wear, you’ll also find varieties that are work-appropriate.

      Are leggings safe to wear during pregnancy?

      Leggings are perfectly safe to wear during pregnancy. Once you have a bump, you may prefer to switch from regular leggings to maternity leggings for ultimate comfort.

      How to choose maternity leggings

      Here are some tips for choosing the most suitable maternity leggings:

      • Fabric

      Fabric is an important consideration when choosing leggings as it plays a big role in how comfortable you’ll be. Cotton leggings are very soft, breathable, and generally comfortable. The downside of cotton is that it doesn’t hold up well to stretching. Polyester leggings are water-resistant and sweat-wicking, but they tend to harbor smells easily. Spandex leggings are stretchy, hugging the body in all the right places to give a flattering fit. However, spandex on its own is not very comfortable – it would feel sticky and suffocating.

      Nylon leggings are exceptionally lightweight, durable, and easy to care for, but it tends to shrink, so you want to follow the wash and dry care instructions carefully. A nylon-spandex blend may be the way to go as it is durable, stretchy, lightweight, and flattering. Nylon-spandex leggings are also soft and cozy, plus they wick away sweat efficiently.

      • Thickness

      The thickness of maternity leggings will not only affect opacity and coverage but also warmth. You may want to steer clear of extra-thick leggings such as those with fleece linings as they will make you hot. Go for tights with a medium thickness – they will provide enough coverage while keeping you cool and comfortable. Leggings that are too thin on the other hand will be see-through.

      • Fit

      A well-fitting pair of leggings shouldn’t dig into your skin – they should just be tight enough to not ride up or down as you go about your daily activities.

      • Length

      Leggings come in a variety of lengths, from short-length to Capri-length to full length.

      The type you go for will depend on your needs. If it's hot out, you may want to choose short-length leggings. If you have varicose veins, you may want to go with full-length varieties to cover up.

      • Belly panel 

      You will come across varieties with belly panels that come over your waist, varieties with a support band that sit below your midsection, and even varieties with crossover panels to provide added support.

      • Care instructions

      Make sure you check the care instructions of maternity leggings before making a purchase. Some varieties can be tossed in the washing machine, while others are made for hand wash only. Similarly, some styles have to be air-dried, while others are fine to put in the dryer.

      Final thoughts

      Leggings are an important item to have in your pregnancy wardrobe as they are soft, stretchy, and comfortable. They are also incredibly versatile, which means that they can be styled in a variety of fashionable ways. A good pair of maternity leggings should feel lush against the skin, provide plenty of support for your burgeoning bump, and come in a weighted fabric that will give you a premium look and feel

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