After birth, dealing with bodily changes can be its own challenge day-to-day. Many new parents find that their previous clothes simply no longer fit, including their maternity or paternity clothes that had been made to accommodate their pregnant bodies.
As your womb shrinks over time, and with your baby born, it can be difficult to find clothes that safely accommodate this middle ground while also making room for the changes your body is going through.
Leggings are a common pick for new parents because of the comfort and style they offer. As a popular fashion item, there are many styles and forms to choose from and they are available in a range of sizes.
Most popular with new parents is that they are stretching, meaning they can accommodate you in a transitional period for your body and may not have to be thrown away after your body changes once more. These changes are normal, and buying clothes specifically to accommodate them can be frustrating – having clothes that are both post-partum and simply wearable every year is a great medium.
Leggings also offer breathability for the skin unlike heavier materials and clothing, while offering low-impact on the skin. Many new parents will have stitches, minor or major surgical procedures to contend with as they heal: leggings offer an ideal medium in this period.
Additionally, some leggings are designed to support the skin as it heals specifically from both childbirth and C-sections, which can weaken and damage abdominal muscles. These can be a great support addition in recovery, so not every pair of leggings is the same in this regard.
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Post pregnancy support leggings
Some leggings come with support for the stomach after pregnancy. It is important to find leggings designed with this in mind, as recovering from surgical procedures can be delicate and difficult.
Material should not be too heavy, so as to restrict oxygen to any wounds or stitches which need to be kept clean and free of too much moisture as they heal. But there is some evidence to suggest that supporting the abdominal muscles during healing can help them “set” right, and so binding the stomach is advised – though not without advice or specialized garments.
Leggings that offer this service may well be advertised as support, or as having a “power mesh”. Look for those that contain elastic, as this will offer a gentler hem while having support for the body as it goes through natural changes.
In particular, look for a cotton and spandex or polyester blend, as these tend to be stretchier while maintaining a wicking-away quality. If your material is not breathable, you may find that your skin collects sweat and moisture which can be non-ideal when dealing with wound healing.
It can also encourage odor, which can be unpleasant for those who are worried about this. Most important however is just to do what is right for your body: it is okay to be self-conscious, but put your health first.
Compression leggings are often less for supporting healing or stomach muscles postpartum and more for offering a streamlined figure or outline. The human body post-birth goes through changes that will not go away right away, which is natural: some will stay forever, and that is okay as well.
None of these things are bad or unattractive, but it is not unnatural to worry about them either. Do what feels best for you.
After giving birth, you may find that you lose weight in some areas like the stomach (naturally), but also the thighs, buttocks and hips. This is largely to do with the change in hormones as you move from your body providing hormones consistent with pregnancy, to hormones consistent to parenthood.
This can come with some weight loss in these areas or physical change in shape or skin consistency: some people will experience stretch marks or cellulite. These are natural and there is nothing wrong with them, but some parents will opt for clothing that will compress the body to lessen movement of the skin and to provide a slightly slimmer figure.
These are of course worth it if this is something you are concerned about. If you are using postpartum pads or support underwear post-birth to deal with natural mucus, blood and discharge, consider these of course before buying any product as they may not mesh visually in a way you feel comfortable with.
Remember that longer tops and dresses can be combined with these leggings to hide anything you are not comfortable with.
High waisted leggings
High waisted leggings are favored among some parents not just for their support of the tummy, but because they offer the ability to cover up most of the torso when feeding from the chest. If you choose to feed your child your own milk, this can often involve lifting up, removing or opening tops when feeding them.
This can involve showing the stomach. For some parents, bodily changes that happen during pregnancy and after childbirth can be upsetting to show to others, and high waisted leggings offer a simple way to cover this up.
These bodily changes are not inherently bad or shameful, and there is no explicit need to cover them up or requirement to do so. However, if these garments help you feel confident feeding your baby with a postpartum body, or just living your everyday life, there is no reason not to be your most confident self.
High waisted leggings, if used on a post-surgery body, should be made of a breathable material to ensure there is no moisture collected around any wounds and the clothes should be kept very clean. Compression should be gentle, so be sure to get the right size to prevent undue pressure on any wounds or stitches.
Seamless designs are particularly helpful when recovering, as the seams may itch or irritate compressed parts of the leggings on your skin.
Before, after and during leggings
These are unusual but something you can find in some particularly specialized brands. These leggings will offer a material that will expand as your belly grows during pregnancies, and will shrink back to a smaller size after you deliver the baby.
The waistband goes over the stomach and ends before the breasts, so it will not interfere with feeding your baby if you choose to do so with your milk. Although these sound unusual, reviews show that parents say they compress the skin very little, and do not contain any elastic that may uncomfortable compress the body during these changes.
The top band can be comfortable placed wherever you feel it rests best, meaning you can change the waistline of these otherwise high-waisted leggings to the place that fits you the most.
Before, after and during leggings help prevent parents from having to buy multiple pairs of leggings during child bearing, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. It can be frustrating for anybody to have to purchase new clothes to accommodate their changing body, and expensive for those who are struggling and need that money for their children. These can be a good alternative, but they will not provide compression if this is something needed or required for post-surgical care. They are also not cotton-based, meaning they may potentially be less breathable than other brands.
Seamless compression leggings
Seamless leggings can be an ideal choice for a variety of people. Seams can be particularly difficult to anybody with a pregnant belly or a postpartum belly as well, because seams can irritate the particularly sensitive skin during this time.
Sensitivity is heightened particularly during and after pregnancy due to hormones released that increase this within the skin.
Whereas seams may be mildly annoying to some, during pregnancy this can become more and more uncomfortable: additionally, waistbands that roll freely may be difficult to deal with as well, and more common than ever due to parents’ new body shape.
A good alternative is seamless leggings with compression in their waistbands. The waistband compression means that the leggings will stay in place no matter the body shape, avoiding shifting around freely as some seamless leggings may.
However, the seamless design means that comfort is still prioritized.
When purchasing anything that has compression, consult your doctor or physician to determine if the compression level is right for you, and ensure you buy an appropriate size to avoid damaging or hurting your skin.
Wash on appropriate temperatures as well and stay sensitive to the instructions: shrinking leggings can be a bigger problem when you are contending with healing wounds, as you may put too much pressure on your wounds by accident.
Higher compression leggings
When wearing higher compression leggings, be sure that you are post-pregnancy. If you are wearing too much compressive material, this can be very irritating, uncomfortable and even unsafe for pregnant bodies.
However, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, compressive leggings can be a safe and good addition to your regimen post-pregnancy.
In particular, if you are trying to recover some of your previous shape before your pregnancy, compression leggings can help.
Although there is nothing wrong with a post-pregnancy body, surgery and childbirth has a natural impact and some people may in particular be looking to recover some of their stomach muscle tone. Compression leggings can be a helpful and simple part of this if done safely.
If you consult your healthcare provider, do also keep an eye out for legging brands that are medically approved and specifically made to-purpose. The FDA keep an up-to-date record on medical devices, and medically-appropriate clothing can sometimes fall under this category.
Consult their databases regularly, and if they have a patent, look it up in a legal forum to understand what the device is and what it claims to do. This way you can make the most informed decision for you and your post-partum body.
Active post-partum leggings can likewise be a good choice for those wanting to do activities and exercises after having their baby. As always, it is a savvy and good idea to look out for any medical claims and be sure they are substantiated by evidence and the law before you pay for them.
Some active leggings also simply focus on being comfortable and loose so you can exercise freely without worrying about being inhibited by your clothes, and these can be a great investment particularly if you are concerned about your body shape fluctuating as you do so.
If you are ever concerned about whether it is safe to be active in clothing or the medical claims that a clothing provider may make, do consult your physician to make an appropriate choice for yourself.
If you have had a C-section, it can be a particularly savvy purchase to invest in leggings that sit higher than your incision. Some leggings will focus on providing this, with a waistband that will stay securely higher than your surgical incisions or stitches even if you lose weight.
Some brands of legging may change their waistband as you lose weight or as your body changes, meaning that they could move around and potentially rub your scar.
To avoid this, just do some exercise in some leggings before wearing them too regularly, and look around for any reviews if they market themselves as specifically for post C-section. Be sure they are right for you before you do strenuous exercise in them, as if they catch on your stitches you may end up with an injury.