Maternity Shapewear vs. Maternity Support Systems
What level of support are you looking for?
Do you need to alleviate back pain, or are you just looking to smooth out those pesky pregnancy love handless?
Are you fighting pregnancy SPD, (symphysis pubis dysfuntion: a condition where the joint at the front of your pelvis becomes unstable due to too much relaxin and swelling) or maybe it’s varicose veins (swollen veins that bulge near the surface of the skin) that are your problem?
Check out our table that talks about the different levels of support at the bottom of this page to make sure you are looking in the right category, then we can dive into the uses of maternity shapewear and which Spanx style products might fit your needs!
There’s a lot to choose from in the shapewear category, what with leggings, girdles, Spanx, slips, and etc, so we’ve worked hard to narrow it down to a couple of products that have worked well for mamas with little to no complications.
Best Maternity Shapewear for Bridesmaids or Special Events
The hardest part about pregnancy is feeling confident when you go out. So many events and so much to do, but your body is changing every day, along with your appetite and your clothing size.
Holidays and baby showers and maternity photo shoots can really mess with your head when the outfit you planned a month ahead of time looks lumpy and dumpy the day of the event. That’s why it is a really good plan to invest in a high-quality piece of shapewear. Do away with the love handles, lift and support that tummy, and smooth over that frustrating cellulite butt.
Criteria For Special Event Maternity Shapewear
- Do away with the love handles that are
- accentuated by your tummy being pulled tight in front of you.
- Lift and support that tummy for the envied “basketball” baby bell shape that only a lucky few get to naturally experience.
- Smooth over that frustrating cellulite butt that is growing at a slightly faster than expected pace with the pregnancy water weight.
Weddings are another biggie. I’ll never forget being 7 months pregnant and a bridesmaid and going out for the bachelorette mani/pedi night. The girls at the salon spoke very little English and were shocked that I was going to be in the wedding PREGNANT.
I hadn’t realized that it was a cultural abnormality, but it’s not at all uncommon these days. All of the major bridal shop chains now carry a selection of maternity bridesmaid and bridal gowns, so it’s definitely not outside of normal to be in a wedding party while expecting.
Maternity bridesmaid and bridal gowns are no longer an impossibility to find, but without the right gear under your gown you will struggle with feeling special on that special day.
The Belly Bandit Thighs Disguise Pregnancy Shapewear – Our Top Pick For Special Events
For special events, the best we’ve found is the Belly Bandit Thighs disguise. Made
specifically for thigh and butt smoothing, these are also fabulous for hiding an outie belly button and eliminate all undergarment lines, while being breathable and soft.
That makes them a usable option for summer, too. Especially since the longer legs cut chaffing from the thigh rubbing!
The only reason these aren’t our top-daily-wear-choice is because they are a smidgen fragile and don’t hold up as well as you would want for your everyday undergarment choice.
- Mid thigh length allows for most lengths of dresses, but is still is long enough that the legs won’t roll up.
- “Wonder Weave” material means that this pair of shaping shorts are comfortable even for warm out door events.
- Not for daily wear — These are slightly fragile and won’t hold up to daily wear.
Favorite Support Providing Shapewear for Pregnancy
The Blanqi BodyStyler Tank
The Blanqi BodyStyler Tank and it’s sexier cousin, the Underbust Tank are both fantastic for getting some support while smoothing everything out. These tanks are made to come down over your hips to smooth over love handles and lift your tummy.
These are actually some of our favorite support items as well as favorite shapewear pieces. It’s worth having one in every color. They’re fantastically breathable and flattering, and stay down where they belong for almost every mamma we’ve talked to!
ALERT: Choose your size using the official size chart from Blanqi to avoid a negative experience!
The brand also recommends that
“If in-between sizes, we suggest you size up if in your 3rd trimester.
1-3 Months: Use your pre-pregnancy size
4-6 Months: Use your pre-pregnancy size
7-9 Months: Use your pre-pregnancy size and size up 1 size if in-between sizes”
The underbust tank provides a little more support and is more of a universal fit, since it doesn’t have to accommodate breast sizes, but it’s definitely an undergarment, which cuts back on its wearability.
- Breathable material makes these tank tops all day every day wear.
- Long length means that they can be used to help hold pants and leggings in place.
- Basic color selections means that you can match them to most of your outfits.
- Underbust model allows you to use the tank as shapewear with more formal outfits, as it does not interfere with your neckline.
- Supportive enough to provide pain relief and help with keeping you centered.
- “too long” for more petite mamas, these tanks can fit like a dress for some people.
- The super structured weave of the material makes some people feel that the tanks look too much like underwear for wearing in a way that they are visible.
The full tank is a clothing item that many people are comfortable wearing as a stand-alone piece in warmer weather, or as a visible layer in cooler weather. Most prefer to wear it as an underlayer when going out, but love it for daily wear.
Top Maternity Support Leggings For Comfort During Pregnancy
We like the Blanqi leggings but….
Our typical Go-To favorite brand is Blanqi. Their fit is to die for,
their materials are super comfortable, and mammas love the technology that goes into their support systems, but the Blanqi Maternity Performance Support Leggings have seemed to, across the board,
have a lot of trouble holding up to wash and wear.
They are raved about and loved by so many, but we can’t fully recommend them because we haven’t been able to figure out what it is that causes them to pill and fade. That being said, they are the most comfortable maternity leggings you will find.
- Maximum support for a legging that will leave you feeling “gently hugged” and centered all day long.
- Breathable, soft materials.
- Seem to pill and fade after only a few washings. We reccomend turning them wrongs side out and washing them in a pillowcase or mesh garment bag, and only washing them as needed.
We are gonna recommend you try these leggings as well….
Because of the pilling Blanqi Belly Lift Leggings, we’re gonna give our official recommendation to the Leading Lady Maternity Support Leggings.
This is tricky, though, because we are going off of brand reputation more than the
reputation of these particular leggings. We dug around and couldn’t find hardly any reviews for these leggings, and I just had my baby, so I can’t try them out myself, but as soon as I can get a friend to wear them for a couple months of a pregnancy, I’ll get our own personal review up.
That all being said, Leading Lady is a dependable brand and they put a lot of science into how they created these leggings with low back support, breathable material, and opacity that allows them to be more of a pant and less of an undergarment.
A legging that holds up to almost daily wear and provides low back support is a dream come true! Let us know how they hold up for you, too, so we can build your experiences into this review!
- No embarrassing see-through attributes make these almost a pant replacement.
- breathable and soft, you will want to wear them around the clock!
- Low back support is a dream come true.
- Newer product with very little consumer feedback to base research off of, so we are trusting the reputation of the brand.
Best Pregnancy Shapewear For Everyday Use
The everyday shapewear needs to combine practicality and comfort. It needs to wash well, breathe well, not roll or wad, and last for a good amount of use.
The go-to for many women (go figure) is the Motherhood Secret Fit Shaping Panty. While being a basic, over the tummy, seamless short, they do a good job streamlining the shape of your sides and thighs and prevent the bulges that normal underwear cause.
These only provide marginal support, as they’re designed more to smooth and erase lines than to support your tummy but they will help with posture and center your weight. They are also optimal for wearing underneath dresses to prevent your thighs from chafing and sweating.
- Comfortable daily wear option that keeps you from feeling saggy and unsupported, but doesn’t make you claustrophobic .
- Legs prevent sweating and chafing and let you enjoy skirts and dresses year round.
- Minimal support, so not efffective for pain relief.
Motherhood is traditionally respected as a good company with good customer service. You’re not likely to be disappointed with their products or their treatment of you. They stay current, use soft, quality materials and have a lot of products that will make you feel pretty and pampered.
(If you haven’t invested in some of their basic cotton maternity panties, they are the best thing ever for sleeping.)
Maternity Support Systems
|Type of System||What it Is||What it Does|
|Bands||Elastic wrap that can be worn folded down around the hips OR as fully covering the belly||Helps keep maternity pants from falling down while giving a small bit of "hugging" compression support to the tummy.|
|Tanktops and Camisoles||A full or underbust tank top or camisole with ribbing and elastic built into the back and belly areas.||Provides lift for the tummy and recenters your weight by tipping the tummy back towards the spine.|
|Belts||A structured, wide belt with either velcro or hooks to make it adjustable. Sometimes has groin and shoulder straps.||These go under the tummy and are adjustable to allow you to find the level of compression and lift that you need.|
|Cradles||A structured sling and belt system that goes over and under the tummy and often includes groin and/or shoulder straps.||The highest level of support possible, this lifts the tummy and holds it in place while working to correct your posture and give back support|
|Shapers||Usually leggings or "Spanx" styled, these tend to be briefs that come up over the tummy.||Smooths out love handles and lifts the buttocks and tummy. Provides compression and holds everything in place.|