Which maternity jeans are best?

It can be hard to say goodbye to your favorite pair of jeans as your body changes during pregnancy. Fortunately, you’re not sentenced to nine months of wearing muumuu-like maternity dresses. Maternity jeans fit like your favorite pair of denim with added room for your bump.

They come in the same styles as regular jeans, but they include specially designed panels and waistbands to accommodate your belly. Plus, their fabric is softer and stretchier. For skinny maternity jeans, Motherhood Maternity Women’s Indigo Blue Skinny Denim Jean is the top pick.   

What to know before you buy maternity jeans

Waistband type

There are three different methods maternity jeans use to stay up.

  • Over-the-belly waistbands, also called full panels, feature a wide panel of stretchy fabric pulled up over the belly. They offer a bit of compression that may help with back or pelvic pain. 
  • Under-the-belly waistbands, also called demi panels, feature an elasticized waistband that sits under your bump as it grows. They aren’t as noticeable under tops as full-panel maternity jeans. 
  • Side stretch panels offer a waistband most similar to regular jeans. They feature two elasticized stretch panels that expand with your belly. These side panels are located at the pockets.

Be sure to pull up your maternity jeans by their denim and never by the elasticized panel or waistband, which can cause them to lose their elasticity. 

Size

While you might think you need to size up in jeans when pregnant, maternity jeans are sized according to your pre-pregnancy size. This is because maternity jeans have a lot of stretch to accommodate weight gain. If you size up, you might end up with loose-fitting pants that don’t stay up. Select maternity jeans come in petite and tall lengths. 

Style

Maternity jeans come in skinny, straight-leg and bootcut. You can also find them in more relaxed fits, such as girlfriend or boyfriend cuts, or in trendy wide-leg and flare styles. You may find that picking a style that resembles your pre-pregnancy cut makes the transition easier. Full-panel maternity jeans may feel best for you if you’re used to high-rise jeans. 

What to look for in quality maternity jeans

Color

Maternity jeans come in a variety of washes, from light to dark. Dark washes may be more appropriate for work and have a slimmer appearance. Lighter washes offer a more casual summertime look. White and black maternity jeans are also available. 

Panel material 

The panel of over-the-belly jeans is a soft, non-denim material typically made of blends of stretch fabrics, including nylon, polyester, spandex and elastane. Pay attention to the care instructions when laundering. 

Panel color

The panel can be the same color as the jean or come in lighter colors, such as beige, or darker tones, such as black. Consider if you’ll be wearing dark tops with your jeans or lighter ones. Pick a panel color that won’t show through. 

Pockets 

While most maternity jeans come with pockets, not all are functional and many are just for show. If pockets are important to you, check if they’re functional since some are only meant for decoration. Back pockets are common but be sure the spacing is flattering to you. 

How much you can expect to spend on maternity jeans

Depending on the quality of the material and brand, maternity jeans range in price from $15-$150. 

Maternity jeans FAQ

When do I need to start wearing maternity jeans? 

A. The rule of thumb is to switch to maternity jeans when your regular jeans no longer fit or are uncomfortable to wear. This varies from woman to woman. Side and demi panels are ideal for the first and second trimesters. Full-panel jeans are ideal for the third trimester. 

How should maternity jeans fit? 

A. Your jeans should fit snugly but comfortably. They shouldn’t put pressure on your belly, but they need to be secure enough so that they don’t fall down. Overall, maternity jeans have more stretch than regular jeans, so they should feel more comfortable. 

How do I wash maternity jeans? 

A. Wash your jeans in cold water. Air-dry them unless otherwise instructed by the care label. The elastic fibers in the waistband can lose their stretch when exposed to heat. And you don’t want your jeans to shrink in the wash while your belly is expanding. 

What are the best maternity jeans to buy?

Top maternity jeans

Motherhood Maternity Women's Indigo Blue Skinny Denim Jeans

Motherhood Maternity Women’s Indigo Blue Skinny Denim Jeans

What you need to know: This stylish pair features a soft over-the-belly panel, and are great for women who don’t want to forgo their skinny jeans. 

What you’ll love: The denim is stretchy, and the pull-over panel is comfortable. It comes in four washes and one distressed option. They have the comfort of jeggings but have a thicker material that you can wear in colder weather. 

What you should consider: The front pockets are fake. The cut isn’t as skinny as some wearers would like. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top maternity jeans for the money

Rumor Has It Maternity Over-the-Belly Super Soft Stretch Skinny Jeans

Rumor Has It Maternity Over-the-Belly Super-Soft Stretch Skinny Jeans

What you need to know: These affordable maternity jeans come in five washes and extended sizing.

What you’ll love: The over-the-belly panel is ideal for wearing during the third trimester. These jeans have functional pockets. The sizes go up to 3X. Their skinny cut is stylish. 

What you should consider: The waistband can slide down and needs to be pulled up throughout the day. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Women's Maternity Baby Bump Bootcut Jeans

Signature by Levi Strauss and Co. Gold Label Women’s Maternity Baby Bump Bootcut Jeans

What you need to know: These classic bootcut jeans feature an under-the-belly waistband that feels like you’re wearing regular jeans.

What you’ll love: The low, elastic waistband allows airflow while also being strong enough to keep them from falling. They’re comfortable and fit like normal jeans. The bootcut is flattering and receives rave reviews.  

What you should consider: The jeans can only be worn during the first trimester and maybe into the second trimester of pregnancy. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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