How do maternity pants work?
And which panel style is the best?
Maternity pants are not the same as regular pants. Maternity bottoms are designed to fit you the way your pre-pregnancy bottoms with one exception: the waist band.
Maternity bottoms have a belly band or built in features at the waist that are designed to keep your pants on and comfortable while your bump grows.
Pro Tip: when trying on maternity pants always make sure to sit down in them. Kind of hard to do that when you’re shopping online but when you shop with us, you can return what isn’t comfortable. Why sit? To test to make sure the bottoms will be comfortable. You want to make sure where the belly band and fabric meet doesn’t pinch, squeeze, or rub your bump.
Common Panel styles and how to wear them
Full Nylon panel
This panel is also called the secret fit (Motherhood maternity) or sooth fit (Old Navy & Gap) panel. It’s made of a nylon spandex blend and designed to fit over your bump. It stretched as you grow and will remain fitted.
Full Panel Cotton Blend
You’ll also see this style called a 3-in-1 panel because you can customize how you wear it. This is a full panel designed to be worn over your bump. You can also fold it in ½ so that it only goes part way up your bump. Or you can fold it in 3 and wear it as a low rise panel below your bump. The one complaint about this panel style is that some expecting moms find themselves pulling them up a lot. Ensure when you pull up you’re not pulling on the band, this will cause it to unstitch. Make sure to pull up from the pant fabric.
Low Rise Panel
The low rise panel is designed to fit you below your bump. It can be made of a variety of fabrics, from cotton blend, to nylon cotton blend. Sometimes the is even some structure sewn into the panel. This panel style can go all around, or could be just in the front for your bump.
Depending on the brand this panel has different names. Pocket Panel, hip panel, or inset panel. These bottoms look like regular bottoms except the front pockets have been replaces with two triangles of elastic. This is a low rise design tailored to fit below your bump. Usually the elastic is the same colour as the pant. This is the panel style preferred by people who like to continue their tucking style.
The Partial Panel
There's a few styles in this heading. The front only inset panel. This bottom style has a panel sewn into the pant that is only on the front. The sides and back are pant fabric. This is usually an over the bump or partway up the bump. Don’t forget to sit when you try this style on!
There is also a low rise panel that is front only, and a low rise panel that is back only.
Over the Bump
This style of panel is hidden. What I mean is the panel is the same as the fabric and there’s usually no seam to let you know when the panel starts. This style is common in skirts and leggings.
This is a low rise style designed to fit below the bump. These pants have elastics inside the waistband that you can tighten until your belly fills out the space. These look like regular bottoms.
Which panel style is best?
Which is best really depends on a few things, and it won’t be the same for everyone
- Skin sensitivity, you might not like anything tight on your belly
- How you want to dress, do you want to tuck your shirts in or wear them loose
- How you like your rise, did you prefer low rise before your pregnancy
The best panel style usually boils down to personal preference and might change for you as your pregnancy progresses. That’s one of the reason’s my shop has an advantage over traditional maternity brands. I carry multiple brands in once place.
I have a great selection of pants, jeans and skirts with different panel styles to choose from. The best part is, all our bottoms (unless new) are under $20, so trying out the different styles to see which is best for you won’t take money away from your baby! Our collection is curated, you don’t have to worry about quality and durability -that’s my job. You just have to focus on finding pieces you love in your size.