Confident & Comfy: Maternity Shapewear During Pregnancy

Inside: If you’re pregnant and looking for a way to support the extra baby weight or smooth out your silhouette, you might be considering maternity shapewear. But is it safe? And what are the best options? In this post, we’ll answer those questions and more.

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Ah pregnancy, I remember those days well.

The mix of awe and wonder at the life growing inside me combined with the occasional frustration of not recognizing my reflection in the mirror or all the aches and pains.

As a mom of four, I can appreciate and respect the challenges that come with how quickly and uncontrollably our bodies change during pregnancy.

And the desire to improve the appearance of our changing body, while also seeking comfort in the midst of all these changes, is completely natural. 

But are these compression garments safe? And what might be the best option for you and your pregnancy?

So, whether you are looking for extra physical support or just wanting to feel more confident rocking your baby bump, this post explores the safety of maternity shapers, some possible risks associated with wearing them, and the best options available. 

Disclosure: Although I am a certified prenatal/postnatal exercise specialist and personal trainer, I am not YOUR trainer. The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute of the information and advice you receive from a healthcare professional. This website does not replace the medical advice you receive from your provider.

What is Maternity Shapewear?

As your body changes, you may be feeling a little less comfortable in your clothes, both physically and emotionally.  

Maternity shapewear is a type of undergarment designed to smooth out your figure during pregnancy or help provide extra support as your body changes.

It is made from stretchy, breathable materials and is designed to accommodate your growing belly and changing body. 

Unlike regular shapewear, which can be tight and constricting, maternity shapewear is a soft fabric designed to be comfortable and supportive.

Some maternity shapewear also includes features like adjustable straps, breathable fabrics, and moisture-wicking properties for extra comfort. 

While these garments can be tempting if you’re looking for a little extra support and confidence in your growing body, it’s very important to consider the safety aspects before incorporating them into your pregnancy wardrobe.

pregnant mom holding her belly with one hand on top and one hand on the bottom. She is wearing a fitted dress with shapewear underneath

The Safety Of Maternity Shapewear

Before choosing maternity garments, it is important to understand the potential risks and benefits before deciding whether it is a good idea for you. 

Potential Risks

  • Reduced circulation: 
  • High compression shape wear can be potentially harmful because it can restrict blood flow and circulation to both you and your baby. This can lead to a variety of complications, including increased blood pressure, and possibly even blood clots. (source)
  • Excess Pressure on the Pelvic floor: 
  • Garments of belly bands that are worn too tight around the core can place excess pressure downward onto the pelvic floor. This can increase your chances of things like incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and pubic bone pain. Increasing your chances of pelvic floor issues is the last thing you want to do!  A pregnancy support belt or pelvic girdle may be a better option.
  • Increased Body Temperature: 
  • Your body tempurature is slightly higher during pregnancy and adding an extra layer of clothing can increase it even more. This can cause you to sweat more, especially in the crotch area. The extra moisture and cause skin irritation and increase your risk of yeast infections. Not fun!
  • Impaired Breathing:
  • Anything that makes breathing more difficult is never a good idea during pregnancy. You and your baby both need all the oxygen they can get. 
  • Overall Discomfort:
  • Pregnancy can be very uncomfortable as it is, wearing clothing with a lot of compression can make you even more uncomfortable. This can make you feel extra stressed and unhappy, neither of which are ideal during pregnancy.
  • Decreased body image:
  • You may gravitate toward the idea of using shapewear to smooth out your pregnant curves but keep in mind that your body is supposed to change during pregnancy. Shapewear can cause unrealistic expectations of what your body should look like during pregnancy. 

Always discuss any concerns you have with your healthcare provider to rule out if you may have a medical reason to avoid shapewear during pregnancy.

Related: 15 Best Tips To Cope With Negative Body Image During Pregnancy

Benefits of Maternity Shapewear

Despite these potential risks, there are also some benefits to wearing maternity shapewear during pregnancy.

  • Support for your growing belly and changing body:
  • The more your body changes, the more you may be feeling the need for some extra support. Shapewear can provide extra support for your pregnancy bump and help alleviate some of the discomfort that comes with carrying a growing baby. Mamas that are carrying twins or who have a lot of amniotic fluid can especially benefit from the added support because their bellies tend to be heavier on the front body.
  • Alleviate discomfort and pain:
  • The mild compression of shapewear can help relieve lower back pain, pelvic pain, and pain in your hips.
  • Boost in self-confidence:
  • It comes as no surprise that maternity shapewear can help smooth out extra lumps under your clothing, helping to give you a little boost in confidence and feel more comfortable in your pregnant body.
  • Extra Support During Exercise:
  • Garments specifically designed to support your belly can help to provide extra support to your core muscles. It is important to note that maternity shapewear will NOT prevent Diastasis Recti but it CAN help reduce the degree of separation when used in conjunction with a prenatal core exercise program. 
  • Assistance with Postpartum Recovery:
  • The compression provided by shapewear can help reduce swelling and if your have had a c-section, it can protect the incision site. Shapewear can also help support the abdominal muscles immediately after pregnancy however these should not be used as a long term solution to healing your core postpartum.

Related: 61 Affirmations To For A Smooth Stress-free Pregnancy

Choosing the Right Maternity Shapewear

From belly belts to tummy sleeves to thigh pettipants, there are a variety of maternity shapewear styles available, 

Medium control shapewear can provide a little extra assistance without feeling too restrictive, while postpartum shapewear may offer a more comfortable fit.

Normal Spanx may also be an option, as long as they don’t constrict at the tummy.

So how do you pick the best options for you and your body?

  • Consider Your Needs
  • Think about why you want to try maternity shapewear. Do you need extra support for your belly, back, or hips? Are you looking for shapewear that can be worn discreetly under your clothes to smooth out your silhouette? Chooseing the right shapewear for your body type and pregnancy needs will help you feel confident and comfortable throughout your pregnancy.
  • Importance of proper fit and sizing
  • It’s very important to choose shapewear that fits your body properly because poor fitting support garments can cause discomfort and even harm to you and your baby. Make sure to measure yourself accurately according to the manufacturers instructions and consult the sizing chart to ensure you get the right size. 
  • Considerations for different stages of pregnancy:
  • As your body changes throughout your pregnancy, you may need different types or styles of shapewear to accommodate your growing belly and changing shape. Look for shapewear that is designed specifically for your stage of pregnancy, whether you’re in the first trimester or nearing your due date.
  • Materials and features to look for:
  • Maternity shapewear should be made from soft, breathable materials that won’t irritate your skin or cause overheating. Look for shapewear with adjustable straps, belly support panels, and seamless construction to ensure maximum comfort and support. An open gusset is also a huge plus to help with bathroom breaks!
  • Choosing the right compression:
  • The level of compression you need will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Some women prefer light compression to provide gentle support, while others may need more firm compression to alleviate back pain or swelling. Try on different levels of compression to find what works best for you.
  • Finding the right style for you:
  • There are many different styles of maternity shapewear available, from full-body suits to belly bands and leggings. Consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing a style, such as extra space around the belly area to accommodate your growing baby, or support for your back or hips.

Ultimately, the right amount of compression in the right places will depend on your body and your preferences. 

Keep in mind that maternity shapewear is designed to be comfortable and supportive not restrictive and uncomfortable to wear.

Types of Maternity Shapewear and Supportive Bands

There are several types of maternity shapewear available, including: 

  • Full-body suits or body shapers
  • This type of shapewear is designed specifically for pregnant women and is made from stretchy, breathable materials that accommodate your growing belly. Body shapers are designed to smooth out your silhouette and create a slimming effect. However, they can be uncomfortable and constricting during pregnancy.
  • Belly bands and support belts
  • These are designed to provide support to your growing belly and can help alleviate back pain and discomfort.
  • Compression socks
  • I consider this shapewear because they can help reduce swelling in the legs while also helping to improve circulation and support varicose veins. 

Top Rated Maternity Shapewear


Maternity Mid Thigh Sculpting Bodysuit

Full body shapewear with non compressive core to allow for babies growth. It is designed with an open gusset for stress free bathroom breaks.


Bump Maternity Support Bodysuit

The breathable material is designed for back support and accommodates your favorite bras. It provides vertical support and has a gusset opening.


Seamless Maternity Shapewear and bump support

Made with 90% Nylon + 10% Spandex which gives it moderate compression and perfect for all stages of pregnancy.


Motherhood Maternity Shaping Panty

This panty shaper is designed to smooth hips, thighs, bottom, and belly for a smoother look while supporting your bump


Thighs Disguise Maternity Support Shorts

This breathable fabric helps to lift your pregnant belly and smooth your tummy, thighs and bottom. The stretchy belly helps accommodate your growing bump.


Can Maternity Support Bands Help Prevent Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti is a condition in which the abdominal muscle separate (such as during pregnancy) and are unable to close on their own, leaving a gap between the rectus abdomen’s muscles and down the midline of the abdominal wall. 

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent this natural and necessary part of pregnancy. These muscles must stretch in order to make extra room for your growing baby. 

Wearing a maternity support band can help to provide more support to the core and abdominal wall and possible reduce the degree of separation. 

However, it cannot prevent Diastsis Recti completely.

Starting a core and pelvic stabilization program early in pregnancy is the most effective way to minimize your risk of developing diastasis recti.

Related: Should You Avoid These Exercises if You Have Diastasis Recti? Maybe Not!

picture of pregnant mom with abdominal separation during pregnancy and postpartum

Is Regular Shapewear Safe During Pregnancy?

This really depends on you and your body.

Some moms might be able to get away with regular shapewear or their pre-pregnancy underwear throughout most of their pregnancy while others may need more gentle support from shapewear designed for pregnancy. 

Regular shapewear tends to be made with much higher compression fabrics.

This high compression shapewear can put too much pressure on your abdominal muscles, internal organs and baby bump. 

Not only will this be very uncomfortable but it can even harmful because it can restrict blood circulation, potentially leading to blood clots. (source)

Are Waist Trainers Safe During Pregnancy?

Waist trainers or abdominal binders are definitely a no-go during pregnancy. 

These garments are designed with one thing in mind-syncing the waist.

This is the last thing you want when your body is going through significant change.

Not only does your body need room to grow and change, anything that squeezes your midsection can cause a whole host of problems including (but not limited to):

  • Compression of internal organs
  • Possible restriction of blood flow and circulation, affecting oxygen and nutrient supply to the placenta.
  • Excess pressure downward onto the pelvic floor leading to incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or pelvic pain

Let’s not forget about embracing the joy of being pregnant!

It’s about celebrating your body’s natural changes and enjoying this incredible journey. Instead of trying to squeeze into a waist trainer, opt for maternity shapewear that provides gentle support, enhances your comfort, and boosts your confidence while allowing your body to do its thing.

Related: The Brutal Truth About Postpartum Waist Trainers & Why They Are a No-Go

When to Wear Maternity Shapewear

Maternity shapewear can be worn for anything such as special occasions like weddings, parties, photo shoots or just long days on your feet.

It can also be worn during the earlier months of your pregnancy when you may not be showing yet but still want to smooth out any bumps or lumps.

However, it’s important to listen to your body and not wear shapewear for extended periods of time.

If you experience any discomfort or pain, remove the shapewear immediately.

an image of two pictures of a fit mom wearing maternity shapewear. in the first image she is showing the belly band under her clothes. in the next picture she is wearing maternity shapewear under a black dress. she is looking down at her belly and holding it with both hands.

Final Thoughts on Maternity Shapewear

Maternity shapewear seems to be a controversial topic and not everyone agrees on its benefits or risks. 

Kim Kardashian and other celebrities have been known to wear shapewear and share their experiences on social media, but it’s important to set realistic expectations and prioritize your physical health and your growing baby.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to wear maternity shapewear, just be sure to choose shapewear that is safe and provides the support you need and avoid wearing it for a long time.

It can be a good choice for pregnant women who want additional support. However, it is important to be aware of the risks.

You may even find that regular underwear or a pair of pants with light compression is enough to provide the extra support you need!

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