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Best maternity jeans: I ask, you answer

Categories: maternity


It’s been eight and a half years since I was last pregnant, but I can still remember how hard it was to find maternity clothes I really liked. Everything I could afford was poorly made, while the pieces I really liked were out of my budget. I made due with regular pieces in larger sizes; when I outgrew the waistband on my pants, I would rubber band them closed (I cannot tell you how many times the rubber band broke while I was in the middle of teaching a class — awesome).

These days, there are much better options for stylish, affordable maternity wear; every time I walk through Target, I see all sorts of adorable, well-priced pieces, and fast-fashion chains like Forever21 and H&M are carrying maternity wear that almost makes me want to have another baby.

But not quite.

Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 12.06.32 PM
GAP maternity jeans (these did not exist when I was gestating, sadly)

Maternity wear has come a long way since my last baby — certainly the biggest improvement has to be in maternity jeans. I hated every pair I had during both my pregnancies; the polyester-based fabrics were horrible, and the “maternity panel” typically covered everything from my crotch to my bra. Not a good look.

I get a lot of emails about the best maternity jeans, and I have to confess that I’m at a loss to answer them, not having worn maternity clothes since 2002. But I know that some of you are well — and recently — versed in this, and so I’m turning it over to you. Who makes the best maternity jeans? Is it worth it to splurge for a high-end pair, or can you be chic and comfy with something more mid-priced?

Help the pregnant mamas out, girls. Leave your suggestions in the comments and let’s see what brands are really the best.

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19 comments so far...

  • LOVE my Gap maternity jeans. Wearing them right now. So far, they are my favorite, and I haven’t bothered to go looking for anything else, but with how I gain weight, I may need a full panel at some point. I am hoping their full panel is as comfy as these. I got one pair of lower end ones from Motherhood, and their panel material makes me itch. Biggest waste, just went out and bought another Gap pair instead.

    My problem is finding pants that fit as well as my maternity jeans. I need a non jean option that fits just the same way. Dress pants are too much for my job, but I can’t wear jeans.

    Amelia Sprout  |  January 7th, 2011 at 8:21 am

  • Japanese Weekend had great jeans, and Amelia, they had twill and other non-suit work-appropriate pants that fit as well as the jeans. I wore them for a long time after I delivered as well, and cried when my husband pointed out that I couldn’t wear them forever (gotta love the hormones).

    The fit is similar to the Gap. I never felt the need to go to the full panel, but my SIL swore by them towards the end. I wouldn’t run out and buy a pair until you know the demi isn’t going to work for you all the way through.

    I agree, the Motherhood jeans made me itch.

    Chichimama  |  January 7th, 2011 at 8:41 am

  • I also love the GapMaternity jeans - I wore there during the early months (and, I hate to admit it, I am wearing them now, 1 month post c-section…)

    Also, I hadn’t been pregnant in 7 years and had horrible memoriesof full-panel pants. My sister had 3 babies in that time and swore these full panel pants were the best. I was a skeptic until my 3rd trimester. The microfiber panel is stretchy and comfortable, and the jeans are still flattering. I still felt cute at 9 months pg when I wore them with a little heel and a cute top!

    Melanie  |  January 7th, 2011 at 8:58 am

  • I’m on my second pregnancy and the first go round I wore a lot of Motherhood Maternity jeans. My only problem with those is that they shrank over time and would end up being pretty short. But the price was great at Motherhood. This time around I heard a ton of good things about these so I coughed it up and paid for them and OMG am I glad I did. I could LIVE in these jeans. Best. Jeans. Ever. Can’t recommend them enough.

    Amanda  |  January 7th, 2011 at 9:46 am

  • Well, it’s been even longer since I’ve been pregnant, but I also instituted the use of rubber bands on my pants when pregnant and quickly switched to a sturdy loop of elastic, to avoid the broken rubber bands at the least convenient time. Just a thought, for those in that in between period between regular clothes fitting and maternity clothes fitting.

    lisak  |  January 7th, 2011 at 9:54 am

  • I was very happy with my LOFT (online) maternity jeans- they worked really well from about 5 or 6 months until the week before my daughter was born in May. For earlier, I had a pair from Old Navy and they were awesome- and also good post-partum for a few weeks because they didn’t have a panel, just an elastic waist.

    Erin  |  January 7th, 2011 at 10:38 am

  • When pregnant with my son i was allll for those underbelly bands for all pants - they were awesome! my favorite etc. Now i am pregnant with my 2nd, a girl. and wow, under belly bands made me nauseous. so that was fun! apparently fit can also depend on how you are carrying. I am MUCH more comfy in full panel this time around!

    and as a tall ‘plus sized’ pregnant person can i tell you how hard it is to find, well, anything in my size? I am in between XXL and 2X (depending on the brand/item/etc) and so far have had good luck with Old Navy, and Motherhood (on some items, they still make me mad, but at least they carry them in the store and i can try them on!)

    Pants are by far the hardest to fit since everyone seems to have different ideas of how a woman’s body changes during pregnancy. some are HUGE in the leg and too tight in the belly (really? what man designed this?) and others are the reverse, falling down but too snug on the leg.


    kate  |  January 7th, 2011 at 11:29 am

  • thanks for bringing up this topic! i definitely need the advice of others!

    i have some Get Used by Lexi jeans that I found at the Motherhood store that are super super cute. I could use something more comfortable but they’re comfy enough that the cuteness is worth it.

    Leah @ JustPluckingDaisies  |  January 7th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

  • I bought ONE pair of maternity jeans, and looked around for a long time for them because since I only wanted one pair since I wear dress clothes most of the time for work, they needed to be a damn good pair of pants! I ended up with a pair from Motherhood - a dark, straight leg wash, and they were great from months 4-9. They were full panel, but I needed the extra support, and my only problem seemed to be the panel stretching TOO much toward the end and then the pants riding down. I had to wear a belly band OVER the full panel to keep them in the right place. But, I was also pretty huge at the end :)

    I also want to put in a suggestion of Gap’s maternity dress pants. I bought some of the low-cut, no panel ones that had elastic and buttons on the inside that made them adjustable, and they were AMAZING. I was able to wear them until like, seven months along, and I still wear them now because they look nothing like maternity pants but are adjustable so I can wear them until I get back into my old clothes.

    Women today certainly are lucky that we have cute choices - even looking back at my sister’s maternity clothes from ten years ago makes me cringe a little, not to mention the sacks that my mother wore!

    Jamie  |  January 7th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

  • I had my son two years ago. I switched to the full belly panel pretty early because the under-belly panel pants didn’t stay up on me very well and I always ended up with saggy butt. NOT attractive. I had great luck with Gap maternity pants and jeans, and my very favorite pair of maternity pants in terms of fit and comfort were a pair of cords from Old Navy.

    Genesis  |  January 7th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  • Gap fit well at first (demi panel then over belly by the second trimester) but those last few weeks I lived in a Demi panel old navy pair. I hated the old navys at first because they sag, but sag room is what you need at 34+ weeks!
    My face tops were all non maternity from forever 21. anything with ruched sides looks great on a baby belly.

    HollyLynne  |  January 7th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  • We actually make our own super stretch skinny jeans in dark denim and black. The are our best sellers. I have connections to get denim and then I have them converted in NYC. We do over and under the belly. They are close to a jegging but more like a Jean so they are durable. Check them out on our website or stop in to pick up a pair. $69.
    most of our customers have 2 pairs!

    Madison Rose Maternity  |  January 9th, 2011 at 7:01 am

  • Hands down, The Gap all the way. They have a style to suit just about everyone’s preferences (from full panel to no panel) and they’re actually really cute jeans. I have 3 pairs from The Gap, and I’ve lived in them during my whole pregnancy- I’m 40 weeks along now and am simply too big to fit into the trusty pair I’ve been wearing, but too far along to want to spend money on a size up.

    I’ve also got a collection of jeans passed down on to me from other friends from places like Motherhood Maternity, Old Navy, and Liz Lange… but I hated ALL of them, and felt awkward in every pair. I finally felt cute again when I spent the extra cash and got my Gap jeans. :)

    Rachel Heath  |  January 10th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

  • Tala jeans! I ogt compliments on them from the girls at the department stores post-partem but pre-return-to-old-jeans. Also liked my GAP jeans.

    Lawmommy  |  January 10th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

  • Not a mom, but my sister is, and she loves GAP! These days, however, with department stores becoming more and more aware of what’s fashionable and trying to provide those items for cheap, I imagine you can get good maternity clothes there.

    Portable Closet  |  January 18th, 2011 at 11:48 pm

  • Try these - great new designer maternity jeans range by Mama Jeanius

    Katie  |  February 2nd, 2011 at 10:35 am

  • The Gap, for sure. I managed to get some of their 1969 bootcut jeans at a used clothing store, so they were cheap (though for good-fitting maternity jeans, I was ready to spend quite a lot). The have no panel, so they don’t look like maternity jeans at all. Inside, there’s an adjustable elastic with button holes on either side, so you can customize how big or small the waistband is. They’re amazing. I plan to wear them postpartum, undetected, for however long I need to. Hands down, the best maternity jeans I’ve ever tried on.

    SRL  |  May 27th, 2011 at 10:23 am

  • Gap definitely makes great jeans, maternity or not. I also really like JW jeans, and Rock and Republic. R&R makes pretty much my favorite jeans so I really love that they have some maternity items too.

    I hope you don’t mind me dropping this link here (and you can remove it if you do), but I have put together a blog myself where I’m highlighting lots of my favorite pregnancy clothes and of course jeans are in there too -

    Shirley Stark  |  July 26th, 2012 at 11:00 am

  • I bought some maternity wears online from morph maternity. They are amazing collection.All of their tops are adjustable and padded,so no fear of leakage after birth.They are affordable too.

    sandra  |  March 5th, 2013 at 12:17 am