Maternity Workout Clothes
Look Good While You Work It
It's true. More and more women these days actually DO exercise for the whole nine months. And one of their major needs is good maternity fitness gear.
Bicycling, jogging and walking are ideal pregnancy activities, as well as prenatal exercise classes developed especially for pregnant women. After all, exercise increases lung capacity, improves circulation, eases back pain from added weight, keeps weight under control, helps prepare your body for labor and delivery, and enables you to recuperate more rapidly after childbirth.
However, until recently, the lack of workout attire for pregnant women has been a common problem. As the baby gets bigger, so does the mom. And it can become very uncomfortable if you do not have the proper workout attire that supports and breathes in the right places. Even buying larger sizes of the regular athletic gear just doesn't work, because the larger sizes are not shaped to the pregnant form.
Fortunately, several maternity companies have finally addressed the shortcomings of maternity exercise apparel, accepting the idea that comfort and support go hand in hand. Although the clothing needs to be cool and non-restrictive, it should also firmly support extra-full bellies and breasts, and over-strained backs and legs bearing the increased weight.
What to Look For
A couple of factors should be taken into consideration when buying workout clothing and will often vary due to individual taste. The first factor is the climate in which you're working out. For cooler climates, long sleeves, leggings and a light-weight jacket might be more appropriate. In warmer climates, short unitards or bike shorts might be enough. A second factor is the type of exercise you are doing. For a low impact exercise like yoga, a jog bra might be fine. However, if you choose to run or do a higher impact exercise, a good sports bra would be much more supportive.
Fabric is another personal preference. Some women find that a cotton/spandex blend wicks moisture away effectively. Meanwhile, others prefer the higher tech Supplex or Lycra blends that are very stretchy and also do a good job of wicking moisture. However, there is one drawback to both types of blends: they can easily shrink if not washed in cold water and hung up to dry.
What's Your Style?
For some women, the unitard is a maternity staple because they create a long line and don't cut into the thighs. They also provide support under clothing without lines or elastic digging in, even if you gain a lot of weight during pregnancy. Most unitards come in a sleeveless or with long or short sleeves, short or full legs, and can also be worn after the baby is born.
If you are not one to go the unitard route, many women really like the idea of fitness separates. For example, you can use a pair of bike tights and sports bra tops with tanks or tees over them. This way, you can buy a couple of each and mix and match throughout the entire week. You can also wear the longer maternity leggings if you are looking for a little extra coverage when modesty is important. The separates do provide a little easier bathroom access than unitards, and when you are pregnant, you know this is a big issue.
I would recommend a few basics for nine months of working out that would cover all the bases.
- 1 pair maternity fitness shorts
- 1 pair maternity yoga pants (long or capri); for yoga or any activity
- 2 really good and supportive bras
- 1 supportive swimsuit for any kind of water workout
- 2 maternity tanks or tees for layering
If you want to find something to wear after the baby is born, look for a style that was specifically designed with that in mind, such as Fit Maternity's maternity/postnatal unitard. Remember that your fitness wear should fit comfortably and that waistbands should rest either over or under the belly to minimize unnecessary pressure across the middle.
The following places offer comfortable maternity workout wear for a variety of price ranges:
$ Target (stores & online): Liz Lange designs a wide range of maternity clothing for Target, including active wear (tees, sweats, pants and shorts) for exercise and lounging. For a greater selection, visit Target's website.
$$ Gap Maternity (stores & online): Perfect for the pregnant woman, you'll find tanks, tees, hoodies, pants, and sports bras.
$$ FitMaternity.com: This website offers a variety of maternity exercise clothing and accessories. Find styles for yoga, swimming, tennis and general exercise, as well as support belts, briefs, and sports bras for pregnancy and nursing.
$$$ PrenatalCradle.com: These support belts and braces can help alleviate back and joint pain during pregnancy.
$$$ Motherhood Maternity (stores & online): You'll find active collections and swimwear in a variety of styles, fabrics and colors.
$$$$ Mimi Maternity (stores & online): Check out their active wear (tees, sweats, pants and leggings) and yoga collection (clothing, props and accessories).
$$$$$ A Pea in the Pod: Get designer maternity active wear and swimwear clothing to suit your style.
With your doctor's approval, exercising throughout your pregnancy is not only possible and beneficial, but, with today's maternity fitness wear options, you can be fashionable and comfortable, too! Why not take advantage of the selections available and choose the proper fitness wear for you? Enjoy staying fit through your pregnancy and look good while doing it!