Best Maternity Jeans

Updated January 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

31 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
411 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best maternity jeans

Last Updated January 2020

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful seasons of any woman's life, but it isn't without sacrifices. Just when you've accepted the fact that sushi, wine, jacuzzis, and practically all the best cheeses are off limits for the next nine months, you're forced to retire your favorite pair of jeans, as well. The good news? Maxis and muumuus aren't your only option — the right maternity jeans can bridge the gap between a growing bump and a stylish wardrobe.

Unlike regular jeans, maternity jeans are specially designed to accommodate your baby bump. And with an eye toward comfort, most maternity jeans are softer, stretchier, and more breathable than their everyday counterparts.

However, choosing the perfect pair of maternity jeans can be tricky. Just like other denims, maternity jeans come in a wide variety of styles, fits, and colors. On top of that, you'll also need to determine which waist band type is best for you.

To give you a leg up on finding the best maternity jeans, we put together this detailed guide. We also included a handful of product recommendations to get you off to a great start.

If you're the type who practically lives in jeans, consider purchasing different colors for work and leisure. Dark washes can be ideal for weekdays at the office, while lighter washes offer a more relaxed weekend look.

Key considerations

Waistband type

Maternity jeans come in three waistband styles: full panel, demi panel, and side stretch panels. Figuring out which one would work best for you is the first step toward finding a great pair of maternity jeans. Let's take a look.

Full panel: This style features a wide, stretchy panel of fabric that's pulled up over the belly. Full-panel maternity jeans can be used throughout pregnancy and, thanks to extra warmth and a bit of compression, they may even help ease back and pelvic pain. However, full-panel maternity jeans might not be ideal if you have dry, itchy skin.

Demi panel: Also known as under-the-belly maternity jeans, demi panel models feature a short elasticized waistband that sits under your bump. If you're looking for something a bit more discreet or breathable than full panel maternity jeans, this style is a fantastic alternative.

Side stretch panels: If you just can't stand the thought of being seen in maternity wear, this style is the closest you'll find to regular jeans. Rather than relying on a full waistband, these maternity jeans provide stretch for your baby bump via two inconspicuous elasticated side panels situated at the pockets. If low-rise cuts are your go-to style, you should feel right at home in a pair of side panel maternity jeans.

Size

Unless the manufacturer sizing chart states otherwise, it's best to simply stick with your pre pregnancy jeans size. Sizing up can seem like a good idea when you’re growing by the day, but doing so could leave you with jeans that are loose in all the wrong places. Also, keep in mind that most maternity jeans have a good deal of stretch, making them better able to accommodate the weight gain and swelling that go hand-in-hand with pregnancy.

Style

From skinnies to bootcuts and everything in between, maternity jeans are available in all your favorite styles. Some manufacturers even offer cutoff denim shorts, so you can still enjoy your go-to summer look. We recommend choosing a style that flatters your body shape. For instance, shorter frames can benefit from the lengthening effect of skinny jeans (preferably in a dark wash), while bootcuts complement curvy shapes beautifully. When in doubt, classic straight legs are always a safe bet.

EXPERT TIP

Don't forget to factor in your height when choosing a size. Shorter ladies measuring between 4'11 and 5'3 tall might need to look for petite sizes, while taller gals standing 5'8 and over may have better luck achieving a good fit with tall sizes.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Color

Maternity jeans come in a multitude of colors to suit just about any look and occasion. Lighter washes exude a laid-back, casual air that's perfect for weekends or warm weather. Darker washes, on the other hand, can be dressed up or down and also tend to have a slimming effect that many ladies find particularly desirable during pregnancy.

Pockets

If you've never seen or worn maternity jeans before, it may come as a surprise that many have faux front pockets rather than real front pockets. If a fully functional set of front pockets is important to you, don't forget to check for this feature before you buy.

Back pockets are fairly common, but placement and style can vary. Wideset pockets with flaps, embroidery, or other highlights can add an illusion of fullness to an otherwise flat and compact backside. For a slimming effect, opt for plain, large back pockets that are spaced closer together.

Detailing

Every denim-loving diva knows that it's the little details that really bring a look together: Contrast stitching produces a polished effect and adds a bit of pop to uniform colors. Embroidery, beads, or sparkles will liven things up and can showcase an outgoing personality. Distressed denim has a casual feel, but can easily be dressed up with a blouse, a blazer, and heels for an edgy, on-trend look. Whatever your style, maternity fashion has certainly come a long way from the drab duds of yesteryear and it's worth taking the time to shop around for something you'll love.

EXPERT TIP

Choosing maternity jeans that more or less resemble your regular cut can help make the transition a little easier. For instance, if you usually wear high-rise jeans, full-panel maternity jeans will have a more familiar feel. If mid- or low-rise jeans are your favorite, a demi panel or side panel design might be a better fit.


Staff  | BestReviews

Maternity jean prices

Inexpensive: Maternity jeans priced between $15 and $20 are usually full-panel models made with thinner fabric and lightweight stitching. While jeans within this price range can work for occasional wear, we'd be cautious about putting too much pressure on the seams.

Mid-range: You can find maternity jeans in every style, including side panel designs, for between $20 and $40. Fabric quality and stitch strength typically increase along with the price.

Expensive: If you're after superior quality and comfort, or if you want a designer pair of maternity jeans, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $150 and over.

EXPERT TIP

Don't ditch those maternity jeans straight after you give birth. Full-panel varieties in particular can help you feel confident, comfortable, and secure during the early stages of healing.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Don't overlook panel color. Some full-panel maternity jeans have waistbands that are the same color as the jeans themselves, while others have panels in lighter shades like beige. Darker panels will go largely unnoticed if your shirt rides up and are ideal for dark-colored tops. Lighter panels, on the other hand, are a must for thin blouses or light-colored shirts.
  • Make comfort a priority. Maternity jeans are made to be comfortable, so don’t settle for anything less. If your jeans pinch, squeeze, or irritate your skin, you might need to size up or try a different waistband style.
  • Try different waistband styles. Finding the perfect maternity jeans can take some trial and error. If you find that demi panel maternity jeans ride down a little too easily as your bump gets bigger, a full-panel pair might do the trick. Similarly, if full-panel jeans make your belly feel hot and itchy, a demi or side panel option could be a better fit.
  • Never pull maternity jeans up by their elasticized panels. Too much tugging and pulling on the panels can cause them to lose elasticity. When pulling your maternity jeans up, grip the denim rather than the waistband.
DID YOU KNOW?

Choosing maternity jeans that more or less resemble your regular cut can help make the transition a little easier. For instance, if you usually wear high-rise jeans, full-panel maternity jeans will have a more familiar feel. If mid- or low-rise jeans are your favorite, a demi panel or side panel design might be a better fit.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for an ultra-comfortable option that doesn’t sacrifice style, the Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Maternity Skinny Jeans are hard to beat. These trendy jeans are beautifully soft, stretchy, and breathable, and they come in multiple colors. However, they do have a slightly relaxed fit, so you might want to size down if you prefer super skinny jeans.

If you want something discreet and casual for everyday wear, the side panels on the Ingrid & Isabel Maternity Skinny Jeans with Inset Panel provide plenty of stretch without giving away the fact that you're wearing maternity jeans. They're also soft and flexible, but beware — this style has a tendency to ride down a bit as your belly grows.

You don't have to reserve demi and side panel maternity jeans just for pregnancy. Most modern versions come in stylish designs, and many women find them so comfortable that these often become well-loved everyday jeans.

FAQ

Q. When should I start wearing maternity jeans?
A.
Most women make the switch to maternity jeans when regular jeans start to feel uncomfortable or just don't fit anymore. But that's not to say you can't start sooner. If bloating and nausea in the early weeks of pregnancy have you craving all things comfortable, there's no reason not to pull on a pair of soft and stretchy maternity jeans. We recommend side or demi panel jeans for the first and second trimesters and full-panel varieties for the third.
 

Q. What's the best way to wash maternity jeans?
A.
As with all denims, maternity jeans are usually best washed in cold water and hung up to air dry. Because heat can cause elastic fibers to lose their stretch, keeping water and dryer temperatures as low as possible is especially important when laundering maternity jeans. To avoid damaging your jeans, consult the manufacturer care instructions before washing.
 

Q. How should maternity jeans fit?
A.
Different styles and cuts tend to have different fits, but as a rule of thumb, maternity jeans should be fairly snug to prevent sagging. Remember, these jeans tend to have more stretch than others, so there's really no need to size up in anticipation of weight gain. With that in mind, maternity jeans should never cause discomfort, and if yours are pinching or digging into your skin, it's best to exchange them for a bigger size.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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