Maternity Athletic Wear 101

Every item on this page was chosen by The Fed & Fit team. The site may earn a commission on some products (read more here).

In today’s post, I’m sharing a complete guide on maternity athletic wear that will help make you feel FABULOUS. I include tips on what to look for in each piece and advice on when to invest in true maternity wear vs. roomier non-maternity wear.

maternity athletic wear

Good gravy, did I need this post a few months ago. BUT ALAS, that is why I blog! I think it may have been Bill Staley of Primal Palate who mentioned it (now years ago) on my podcast. I’d asked he and his wife Hayley for a few pieces of advice they’d want to give new bloggers. He said (if I’m remembering correctly), “write about what you’d want to read.” I still think this is excellent advice for bloggers (and probably other professions). DON’T just write what you think the world wants you to write, write about the things that have you curious, Googling, searching, researching. It’s THOSE unanswered questions that are the true need, the true “unexplored wild frontier” of this content-creating profession.

Sorry for the mini blog advice tangent. 


When I found out that I was pregnant this past Spring, my clothing game plan really only accounted for the fact that I’d eventually need some of those big ole’ true maternity covers-the-belly pants when the baby really started to grow. I figured that until that time came, I’d just continue wearing my regular pants.

Real life experience taught me that my expectations were a little off. You see, I did NOT account for the fact that I would put on not-strict-belly weight in my 1st trimester. I didn’t think about the fact that pregnant women start to retain water and a little more body fat early on (for excellent and important reasons). I didn’t think that my feet might swell sooner than the last couple months and that my (we’re going to get personal) chest would get bigger almost immediately. I didn’t think that the athletic wear (or “athleisure”) I LIVED IN for function + comfort would suddenly feel incredibly uncomfortable …even *before* I had an obvious baby bump.

I’m not a fan of tight clothes, but at first, I endured the too-tight bras and somewhat uncomfortable-around-my-hips pants …determined NOT to spend more on clothing than necessary. Though I was prepared to buy TRUE maternity wear (for later in pregnancy), I didn’t anticipate buying 1-2 size bigger normal clothes to bridge the gap between my pre-pregnancy body and my “WOW there’s really a baby in there!” later-in-pregnancy self. Squeezing myself into my old clothes and pretending I was comfortable had me not looking forward to the workday. I started to favor pajama bottoms and avoided leaving the house. Then, eventually, I’d had enough. I scrambled out of desperation to feel like myself again and caved. I purchased some stretchier, more comfortable not-quite-maternity clothes and  something truly magical happened …I immediately felt better. As soon as I had bras, tops, jackets, pants, shoes, and socks that fit my now-more-swollen body, I felt like a new women. I wanted to leave the house, to go socialize, to go loaf around in the gym. I was finally comfortable and it made a WORLD of difference on my overall outlook.

The primary reason for today’s post is to serve as a loving and friendly PSA for you fabulous, glowing, growing, and possibly uncomfortable pregnant women: PLEASE KNOW that a few strategic athletic wear purchases are worth the investment. Though you may only wear them for a few months (between finding out you’re pregnant and then for several months after the baby comes), you DESERVE to feel comfortable.

In today’s guide, I’m walking you through ways to *strategically* prepare your wardrobe for your new body. We’re not going to go nuts on new purchases, but we are going to be smart about prioritizing our comfort. I’m giving you lots of options with notes on what sizes I chose for each. Don’t think of this as a “you must buy them all” kind of recommendation, but rather a list for inspiration. If you’re looking to add some roomier comfort to your athletic pregnancy wardrobe, click around and see what resonates with you.

Let’s start from the top down.

maternity athletic wear

Sport Bras for Pregnancy

This is probably the one category where you really need to customize to your needs. I’m a relatively petite person up top and was AMAZED by how quickly the girls got bigger in my 1st trimester. Though the growth really stopped there and I remained the same size through my 2nd and now start of my 3rd trimesters, I definitely felt uncomfortable in my old bras. I recommend going to the store and trying a few on for size. I decided to buy bras that were about 2 sizes larger than I wore before, giving myself a little more room to grow. These are a few of my favorites:

Sleeveless/Short-Sleeve Tops for Pregnancy

I’ve found that 3-4 new oversized tops were all I needed to feel comfortable. Otherwise, my current athletic tops were pretty stretchy already and comfortably fit around my growing body. The following have been really nice to keep on hand for days when I wanted a little baggier look:

Long-Sleeve Tops for Pregnancy

For this category, I think it’s important to note when you’re going to be pregnant. Our little nugget is due January 13th, so we’ll be in some cooler months towards the end and then once she’s here, it’ll be officially cold. For this reason, I wanted 4 options for long-sleeve tops. Two are non-maternity and two are maternity. If she were due in the middle of the Summer, I’d probably slim this down to just one non-maternity long sleeve to get me through any cool late Spring weather.

Athletic Outwear for Pregnancy

This category takes some strategizing! I found it important to have a non-maternity and a maternity option for both a zip-up jacket and a sweatshirt tunic. The non-maternity was GREAT to wear before my belly got really big and I loved having the maternity option for the later months. I’ve also adored having some roomier, soft outer layers for easy putting on/off as I needed.

Underwear for Pregnancy

Let’s go there. I do NOT like tight underwear or anything remotely uncomfortable for a bottom cover. At first, I was tempted to go without undies (as they started to get a bit tight) for a part of my pregnancy, but that’s not an option during this time (most ladies will understand). SO, I gathered some of the smoothest, comfiest, no-show undies I could find. I ordered about 1 size larger and have found that they are just right, even now in my 3rd trimester. Note that I do plan on mixing up my undie game for post-delivery. I’ll share more about that when I write my “what’s in my hospital bag” post!

Athletic Pants for Pregnancy

This is the one category where I (admittedly) went a little crazy. I truly live in athletic wear 5 days out of the week, so I wanted at least that many pants. I also like having the option between leggings and wide-leg. My favorites are below!

Athletic Shorts for Pregnancy

I only needed to wear athletic shorts for a short period of my pregnancy, mostly because I prefer pants AND the majority of my pregnancy would be in the cooler months. That being said, I did find a few options that I loved. I think that having a stretchier waist band made all the difference.

Athletic Socks for Pregnancy

This is probably a category that doesn’t occur to most, but I found it important. My feet haven’t swollen *a lot,* but I have noticed that some of my previous socks started to leave indentations around my ankles (due to swelling). For that reason, I started wearing more no-show socks that left my ankles free to breathe. It made a BIG difference! Here are my favorites (note you can totally wear these even if you’re not swollen and carrying a little nugget):

Athletic Shoes for Pregnancy

I was probably the most resistant to this last category. I knew that my feet would swell a bit, but I wasn’t ready to replace all my shoes with a bigger size because …what if my feet KEPT growing?! My advice here: don’t stress about what you don’t know. If you’ve found that your shoes are getting a bit pinchy in the ankle or tight in the toes, it’s OKAY to grab yourself at least one pair of comfy new shoes. I have found that the following shoes left plenty of room for my ankles to breathe.

  • Nike Free RN – great walking shoes that do NOT squeeze the ankle. I ordered a 1/2 size larger.
  • Pure Boost X ATR – I am in LOVE with these shoes. They’re so comfortable and not tight around my ankles. I also ordered 1/2 size larger.

BONUS: How to Organize Your New Stuff

This part is important and was the final piece to my feel-good puzzle.

  1. Pull your pre-pregnancy clothing out of the drawers and from the front of the closet.
  2. Set them aside in bins or baskets to store until you need them again.
  3. Fill your drawers and front of closet with only clothing that makes you feel fabulous!

If you’re more visual, below is a clickable picture roundup of the pieces I have listed above! I hope you find it helpful.

[show_boutique_widget id=”650930″]

Meet the Author
Cassy Headshot

Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
Get to know Cassy

Reader Interactions


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

  1. Katie says

    Katie —  11/04/2017 At 19:25

    I just want to say THANK YOU for this post. I’m 13 weeks pregnant and am feeling overwhelmed at how much my body is changing already. I almost started crying shopping at the mall today because I am in no mans land between not fitting into my current clothes and not fitting into true maternity. Like you, I have swelled to my pre-paleo self – particularly in my thighs and other places besides a true baby bump! It’s mentally really difficult, even with the joy of being pregnant and being healthy for the little one. Thanks for all of the recommendations – they are truly life changing!

    • Cassy says

      Cassy —  11/04/2017 At 20:32

      I have SO, SO been in your shoes!! I’m glad you found this helpful. I hope you find something comfortable soon!

  2. Annie Rellergert says

    Annie Rellergert —  11/04/2017 At 20:45

    Oh Thank you Thank you Thank you for this post! I could not agree more with your approach of writing things that you would want to read or would have been helpful to you! I am 35 weeks on Tuesday and this would have been SO AMAZING to have had a bit earlier in pregnancy, but make no mistake it is SUPER helpful now too! I will refer to this in the future as well if the good lord blesses us with more children. I did the whole “wearing too tight clothes and feeling uncomfortable” for way too long! I wish I would have known how much happier it would make me to just invest in some staples over all. But you live you learn!

    I really cannot wait for your “what’s in your hospital bag” post, I’m hoping it’s posted before I go into labor, but if not, I will definitely still enjoy reading it and sharing with my expectant friends.

    I really appreciate all the work and thought you put into this post to help others. I know it’s a lot of work and I snagged a few items from your list. THANK YOU!!!!

    XO Annie

    • Cassy says

      Cassy —  11/05/2017 At 06:59

      This warms my heart, Annie! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I wish you a smooth, easy last few weeks before the arrive of your little one!!

  3. Laura says

    Laura —  11/04/2017 At 21:31

    Where’s the shirt in the top photo from? The one With the ruffles.