December 18, 2022 8:52 am

Clothes and kit – pregnancy and postnatal

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Sporty wardrobe updates so you can move comfortably and with confidence

Pregnancy can cause a whirlwind of changes in the body. Although a wonderful time in life, things like changes to breast size and sensitivity, weight gain, pelvic floor issues (especially leaking), swollen joints, aches and posture-related pain can crop up and conspire to put you off your game.

As we now know – an active pregnancy is best. So here are some basic wardrobe tweaks to ensure you continue to enjoy the amazing benefits of exercise before and after your little one enters the world.

Breast support

You don’t need us to tell you that breasts change size and shape during pregnancy. A well-fitting sports bra is an essential piece of kit for all women at all times, but it’s especially so now.

Pregnant or post-natal, our fitting guide still applies. It’s unlikely you’ll be in high-performance mode when pregnant or post-natal but even so – supporting your boobs is vital to dial back the risk of pain, injuries and just plain old discomfort.

You should be OK buying just one adjustable, high-impact bra to see you through, but stay mindful – any significant changes in the size or shape of your breasts and you may need to replace your replacement.

Post-natal, if you’re breast-feeding, you’re unlikely to want to compress your boobs so an encapsulation bra may be best. Specialist maternity sports bras are much more common and versatile now than ever before (front-fastening, detachable straps, nursing bras, sport-specific) so don’t be afraid to test before you invest.

Maternity bras – our picks

Our top picks for maternity and postnatal bras are from Natal Active, Latched, Nike Swoosh and Cake Maternity.

Please note – no one gets any commission or revenue if you buy through these links. We genuinely think these are the best of what’s out there.

In most cases we link you straight to the manufacturer but please do your own research, particularly when it comes to price!

Well-fitting trainers

If you’re not (yet) convinced of the value of well-fitting women’s sports trainers, click here to learn why all is not what it seems in the ladies’ footwear section.

Pregnancy is a time when things change size and shape – and the feet are no exception. During pregnancy, women’s feet often swell; they commonly lengthen in size and the foot arches tend to drop as a result of ligaments relaxing and loosening.

Such changes will last through the postnatal phase too.

So if you’re pregnant make sure your footwear works for you and the exercise you’re doing. If you need to invest in a new pair of trainers, bear in mind they will stand you in good stead well into the postnatal period.

We suggest you hunt out designs that are sufficiently wide enough, and that support your foot arches. Supportive insoles can make a huge difference too, especially where comfort and fit are borderline, while compression tights or stockings can help to relieve and reduce lower-extremity swelling.

The bottom line is to take choosing trainers seriously in order to support the very foundation of your movement while your body’s changing and growing.

Accessories and more

The market for women’s sports clothing and accessories nowadays is huge, and it covers life-stages such as pregnancy and post-natal comprehensively enough.

Maternity sports leggings have a high waistband to fit comfortably over your bump, and many women find wearing a belly band (also called a maternity belt or pregnancy support belt) helpful to support their growing bump and relieve pressure as they run and jump. A band can also help support the lower back which often niggles due to the additional strain of a growing tummy, as well as changes in the pelvis and its supporting ligaments.

A word of warning – pregnancy is a time when brands and media in general like to convince you into products, gadgets and items that, well, that you don’t need …

The same applies here – so be discerning.

We recommend you first get the basics sorted and it’s as simple as the above: comfortable and confidence-inspiring kit, a supportive bra and the best-fitting trainers you can find …

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