13 Best Postpartum Leggings to Support Recovery in Comfort
You’ve likely gotten used to slipping on a comfy pair of leggings throughout your pregnancy. And with good reason! After the work you’ve done, you deserve a little comfort. And while many maternity leggings can still work after you’ve given birth, the best postpartum leggings do a lot more than cover your belly. Keep reading for advice from health professionals on what to look for in postpartum leggings, as well as our picks for the best options on the market.
For many women, giving birth will be one of the biggest changes their body will go through in their lifetime. “During pregnancy, your blood volume increases as much as 50 percent, and takes time to return to baseline postpartum,” says Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a physical therapist, birth coach and the president of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. “A good pair of postpartum leggings will help with circulation of your lower extremities, relieve groin and pelvic pressure, reduce discomfort from c-section and vaginal delivery wounds, reduce lower back pain and provide perineal and abdominal support." She also notes that “due to an increase in progesterone postpartum, there is increased swelling in your extremities, and postpartum leggings will help reduce that, along with the discomfort that comes along with it."
So can you just use the same maternity leggings you wore during pregnancy? There’s some crossover, to be sure, but Kandis B. Daroski, PT, a pelvic health physical therapist at Hinge Health tells us, “postpartum leggings are designed to provide support to encourage recovery, whereas maternity leggings may provide some support but are mostly designed to fit over a new and unique body shape.”
After you give birth, your uterus takes time to return to its normal size so your belly will likely continue to appear swollen. Abdominal, pelvic and lower body swelling can also occur after a vaginal or cesarean birth, explains Daroski. Many postpartum leggings will add a gentle compression to the abdomen and lower back, which can decrease swelling and provide support to your healing body.They can also “serve as a way to stimulate and bring awareness to the abdominal muscles to help them contract and engage during movements of daily life, something that is often difficult during postpartum recovery."
And last and certainly not least, they’re comfortable! As Daroski says, “during a time when the vagina and abdomen are healing, it’s important to be comfortable and have clothes that have enough give to adapt to your changing size.”
“Postpartum leggings are a must-have for new moms,” says Shandra Scruggs, a registered labor and delivery nurse. “Designed to accommodate body changes after childbirth, they have a high waistband for gentle compression, supporting the abdominal area. Soft and stretchy materials provide comfort during recovery, making them versatile for many activities, including light exercise, errands or relaxing at home.” Find our top picks for the best postpartum leggings below.
While these leggings have a hefty price tag, they can support your changing body from pregnancy into postpartum—and their high-quality premium fabric will ensure they’ll still be in great shape if you decide to have another baby too. With light compression and a stretchy waist panel, they can be worn folded down for increased abdominal support or up all the way under your bust for extra coverage while breastfeeding in a shirt without buttons.
Size range: S to XXL | Material: 87% polyester/13% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry
Beyond decreasing swelling, another reason to consider postpartum compression leggings is to combat the effects of relaxin, the hormone responsible for relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis in order to make room for a growing baby, explains Daroski. “Once the baby is born, it takes time for relaxin to return to normal levels, which means your ligaments will remain less supportive,” she says. “This can lead to lower back and pelvic pain in some. Compression can add some additional support to help reduce pain and improve daily movement in those early days of recovery.”
These leggings are made with Belly Bandit's signature compression technology that will securely tuck your tummy (and smooth out your thighs and behind) while providing core support to keep aches and pains at bay. Plus, they’re made with an ultra-soft, breathable fabric that you'll happily live in.
Size range: XS to XL | Material: 90% nylon/10% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash cold, lay flat to dry
These c-section leggings may be more expensive than some of the others, but you’ll need to be extra careful with your body after recovering from abdominal surgery, so their medical-grade gentle compression may be worth the higher price tag.
“Those who deliver by c-section have an abdominal surgical incision that needs time to heal, which means the core is not as strong, and the low back and pelvic floor may compensate to help you stand, walk and carry baby,” says Daroski. These postpartum compression leggings, recommended by Jeffcoat, are made with anti-chafing fabric and designed to reduce swelling and help heal c-section and episiotomy wounds, perineal trauma, abdominal muscle separation and lower back pain. While postpartum belly bands that serve the same purpose should be worn for only a few hours a day, these leggings can be worn as long as you like—you can even sleep in them!
Size range: XXS to XXL | Material: Not listed | Care instructions: Wash in cold water and line dry. Do not use softeners or bleach.
When you're ready to get up-and-moving after baby is born, you can slip these leggings on and carry your phone with you in the handy side pocket. But it's not just this feature that makes these postpartum leggings a great pick. They're made of a quick-drying, moisture-wicking, antibacterial material that are helpful when you work up a sweat (on purpose or not). The high waistband can be folded for under belly support or worn up for extra coverage when breastfeeding. And guess what? The best postpartum leggings with pockets are affordable too!
Size range: XS to XL | Material: 78% nylon/22% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry
Seraphine is one of the most popular brands in the maternity space, and their postpartum leggings are no exception. Made with medium compression thoughtfully optimized for the postpartum stage, the high waist will smooth and, most importantly, support your core and lower back and gently realign your uterus after giving birth.
Size range: S to L | Material: 81% polyamide/17% spandex/2% cotton | Care instructions: Machine wash, line dry
Reviewers agree that these postpartum leggings tick all the boxes. Unlike some other performance fabrics, these leggings are not only breathable, but ultra-soft to the touch. They offer mid-level compression and UV protection, and without a front-rise seam, you’ll always be comfortable. The grips on the waist also keep them from rolling. Bonus: They aren't see-through!
Size range: XS to 3XL | Material: 87% polyester/13% spandex | Care instructions: N/A
These leggings from the trusted maternity brand Storq are so soft you’ll never want to take them off. They are available in a wide range of sizes, up to 4XL, and will keep you cozy throughout your pregnancy and comfortably tucked in postpartum—they are even c-section friendly. The midweight, silky jersey fabric is suitable in all seasons too, so they’ll be your go-to no matter what time of year your baby is born. These should definitely be added to your list of maternity and postpartum clothes for hospital and beyond.
Size range: P to 4XL | Material: 92 percent modal, 8 percent spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry
If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive and are looking for a pair of leggings that you can wear throughout your pregnancy and the postpartum phase, the leggings from Hatch are just perfect. The ultra soft and stretchy fabric will expand with your growing belly and return to size after you deliver. They can be worn pulled up over your stomach while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or folded down for c-section-friendly, postpartum underbelly support. Just note that these aren’t compression leggings!
Size range: XS to XL | Material: 92% modal/8% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry
When looking for what to wear after giving birth on the regular, it’s important to find a pair of postpartum leggings that offer compression, yes, but also comfort. And these postpartum leggings are the perfect choice for everyday wear. They offer gentle compression to help re-engage your core, but not the pressure of shapewear. Their high-waisted design is ideal for breastfeeding and will keep everything in place while your body heals. The fabric is also extremely breathable so you can wear them while you’re doing light exercise, heading to the grocery store or rocking your baby to sleep.
Size range: XS to XXL | Material: 95% nylon/5% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash
Reviewers rave about these high-quality seamless leggings that are designed for recovery from both vaginal birth and c-section—the compression panel sits high enough up that it will never rub your scar. They have a high-waisted belly panel (that will never slip down) with just the right amount of compression to strengthen weakened abdominal muscles and speed up your recovery, while smoothing everything out. The fabric is also thick enough that it’ll never be see-through, even when you squat down to pick something up. These should definitely be added to your list of postpartum clothes for hospital and beyond!
Size range: XS to XXL | Material: 86% polyamide/14% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry
While you should take all the time you need to heal and rest (as much as possible with a new baby), when you’re ready to start moving again, these leggings from Isabel Maternity will give you all the comfort and support you need. They hug your waist without ever feeling too tight and allow for plenty of movement, whether you’re going for a long walk with the stroller or heading to a postnatal pilates class. But they aren’t just for breaking a sweat—you’ll likely want to keep them on while you’re lounging at home too.
Size range: XS to XXL | Material: 82% polyester/18% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry
These high-waisted postpartum leggings are made with Bao Bei’s exclusive core compression technology, with fabric panels that will support your abdomen, low back, pelvis and legs. They’re designed to help alleviate postpartum cramps, swelling, pain in the abdomen, low back, pelvis and legs and support diastasis recti. Plus, they have a cute cropped cut that will look great with an oversized sweater or tee when you feel up for leaving the house for a stroll with baby.
Size range: XS to L | Material: 82% nylon/18% spandex | Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry
It’s possible to find compression leggings that check all the postpartum boxes without breaking the bank. Enter these high waist leggings from Mothers Essentials. They have no center seam and feature a moisture-wicking fabric and medium compression support to help your body heal during its postpartum phase. They also cost less than $20—checks all around!
Size range: XS to XL | Material: 92% polyamide/8% spandex Care instructions: N/A
It’s hard to know exactly what your body will need postpartum. When it comes to what leggings to wear after giving birth, we decided to do the research for you. We talked to experts about the importance of finding a good pair of postpartum leggings and searched through the brands and retailers that we trust to find what they have to offer. When selecting the best postpartum leggings, we considered several factors, including the compression level, the size range, the material and how to properly take care of them. We also made sure to read user reviews to see what real consumers have experienced when wearing these leggings, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, is a physical therapist, birth coach and the president of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. She is the author of Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide To The Sex Life You Deserve.
Kandis B. Daroski, PT, is a physical therapist at Hinge Health. She specializes in pelvic health.
Shandra Scruggs is a registered labor and delivery nurse, doula and founder of the soon-to-launch maternity app Simply Birthed. She has worked in healthcare since 2012, first as a critical care nurse before transitioning to become a labor and delivery nurse.