The postpartum phase, or fourth trimester as it should be rightly called, is a trying period meant for warriors. Now as much as we'd all like to give birth a more magical description, it's pretty much like having a gigantic poop pop out from the wrong end of your body. And for the next few weeks, your body (particularly your lady bits), will not be the same.
Now, you'll need to face one hard truth - you won't be sliding back into your pre-mommy panties any time soon (If ever!).
So first you'll need a very good sense of humor since you and your tiny human will essentially be in diapers, to contain uncontrollable fluids. But choosing the best postpartum underwear you can find to help support said diapers (and your pregnancy pooch) will make the experience a lot more bearable.
Even if you were a little unaware about postpartum bleeding, other well meaning moms would have subtly (or straight out) urged you to get granny panties or stock up on free hospital mesh panties.
But let's face it. As comfortable as you want to be, it's expected that you'll feel a little insecure about your post pregnancy body, especially if you have a partner seeing you through your most humbling experience.
So the focus of this article will be on the best postpartum underwear. The first part will be on the factors you'll need to take into consideration, while the last bit will focus on a few underwear other new mommies love.
Note, your body will look NOTHING like the models used in advertising these underwear, and that's normal (check out super stars, Chrissy Teigen and Amanda Bacon for more realism), because most new moms aren't too thrilled about having permanent photos of themselves, not looking their best, on the internet.
Now that you've gotten this, let's move on to the actual article.
What To Look For In The Best Postpartum Underwear
Love 'em or hate 'em, your underwear along with the foot long pads you'll be wearing, will be your constant companion post-birth (at least for a few weeks). Here are some features that will affect how you feel about them.
- Cotton: This is the go-to material for comfy underwear. It hardly causes skin irritations, it's breathable and comes in a wide array of styles (from trendy to granny panties).
- Mesh: You'll find them in disposable underwear brands. The material's not necessarily durable, but since you don't plan on wearing maxi pads (or staying with your post baby pooch) forever you may want to invest in several underwear made with this.
- Microfiber: Lightweight like mesh, but a bit more durable. They're quite absorbent, so if you need something to last you through the night without worrying about leakages, you should get something made with microfiber.
- Spandex: You'll find those compression-type of underwear made with spandex, because of its elasticity.
Although underwear are typically made with the materials above, this isn't an exhaustive list. You'll find some made with polyester, elastane, nylon, and even latex. Just watch out for the pros before shelving out your hard earned greens.
These are designed to cover up your whole abdominal region. The cut is high enough to provide covering even up to your stomach, so you'll minimize your muffin-top situation.
This type of postpartum underwear is intended for just one use. They're typically made of mesh materials and some really cool brands come with built-in postpartum pads (Yay!).
Their biggest advantage is that you won't have to add frequent laundry to the endless list of things you need to get done. You'll need them especially during your first week after giving birth.
Like girdles and compression briefs, compression postpartum underwear smoothens and shapes the midsection.
Usually what your body does after birth is try to return to its pre-pregnancy form. So it forces out excess fluids, shrinks your uterus to its previous shape and basically return all your organs to their normal positions. Girdles just speed this up a bit.
They're great if you've been diagnosed with diastasis recti, that's the separation of your abdominal tissue. Be warned though, they (particularly the corset types) are not for the faint of heart, so as much as you want your pre-mummy body back, you may experience a lot of (unnecessary) discomfort wearing this.
Compression briefs meanwhile are made with elastic materials like spandex, and typically offer a bit more support than full briefs, but are less constricting than girdles. They're a sort of mid way between free for all granny panties and girdles. You can wear these if you're missing an old dress, but can't be bothered with the discomfort of girdles.
Low-Rise Or Hipster Underwear
This type of underwear sits just below your hips and provides minimal coverage but they're still supportive enough to hold maxi pads. They're very lightweight and discreet but are entirely unsuitable for C-section moms due to the low position of the seam.
Ok now that you've seen the basics, let's move on to what's popular with new moms.
Top 10 Best Postpartum Underwear
Now that you know what to look for, here are our picks for the 10 best postpartum underwear for women:
1. Intimate Portal Under The Bump Maternity Panties
Pro: No pressure, low-rise underwear
Con: No belly support
Super Sexy Crossover Bikini: This is made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex for breathability and elasticity. While Intimate Portal conforms to the "cotton are the comfiest maternity panties" norm, they tweak up what would have been an otherwise drab cotton crossover underwear with lace edges. And every girl knows lace is a good pick-me-up for the soul.
Though this underwear is low rise in the front, it has full rear coverage, so you can wear it postpartum. However, you should know that you'll be better off using one of those mesh disposable underwear (like Always Discreet) your first week or so after birth if you don't want to end up playing a tug-of-war game with an inanimate object.
This underwear is ideal for days when your self-esteem needs a boost, so stock up. If you're in a hurry to lose the pregnancy pooch, you'll need something with a bit more belly support like NBB's Over Bump brief.
2. Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear
Pro: Highly absorbent
Con: Not flattering
Discreet All-Nighter: Always is one of the trusted go-to firms for menstruation, so it isn't surprising that they also make postpartum bleeding underwear/pad. If you're worried about staining your bed sheet, then you'll love how super absorbent this is. While it's technically an adult diaper, which isn't attractive, it isn't as thick as most adult diapers, so you won't be waddling about with an extra bum.
Bottom line? You'll really have to pick your battles and decide what you value more - an underwear with a built-in pad that will last you all night, or stained sheets. Seems like a no-brainer though, since you can choose to wear it only at night, dispose it during the day and switch to something prettier.
3. Hoffish Women's Seamless Maternity Bamboo Fiber High Waist Panties
Biodegradable Absorbent Underwear: The first time you notice the price tag, you'll probably double check to see the quantity in the pack. But microfibers, particularly bamboo ones, are on the high end of the underwear price scale. This underwear is lightweight, very soft and extremely absorbent, so you won't have to feel self conscious about leaks throughout the day.
It's high waist, and has a 360 degree wrap design meant to cover your entire stomach, which is great if you need belly support. The seam is pretty elastic at the top, so it hugs your waist without riding up or rolling down.
4. PIDAY Women's Under The Bump Cotton Maternity Hipsters Panties
Pro: Practically seamless
Con: Doesn't use US sizing chart
Ridiculously Cheap Multi-pack Cotton Underwear: As a general rule, something this cheap (and not on sale) should raise red flags. Like, what are the strings attached? (cause with underwear, said strings matter) and why do they cost less than disposable underwear?
The answer? Made in China. This product comes as a pack of 5 cotton underwear with low rise seams. So they're your typical hipster maternity panties.
The most common complaint with this is the sizing. This particular PIDAY uses a Chinese sizing chart, so a size 4 would be wayyy smaller than what you'd expect a US size 4 to fit like. Of course since you know this before hand, you can just do a size conversion before purchasing and avoid any fitting issues.
5. Kindred Bravely High Waist Postpartum Underwear
Pro: Wide waistband
Con: Really small leg holes
High waist non-saggy band: Get your groove back without compromising style or functionality. Kindred Bravely is known for making women feel confident and sexy in their own skin, and they did it again with this brilliant recovery underwear.
This underwear has a wide elastic band, made with breathable lace trimmings, so it takes to the natural shape of your post baby body. And since it's roomy enough, it'll accommodate those hospital grade pads you'll be wearing.
You can throw it in the washing machine and it won't shrink or lose its shape, plus it'll last you several months after your pregnancy. The only downside is that Kindred Bravely apparently spent more time creating the perfect fit for the waist, but ignored the fitting at the thighs. If you didn't gain a lot of weight in your thighs, give this a try.
6. Motherhood Maternity 3 Pack Fold Over Brief Panties
Pro: Stretchy and soft
Con: Visible panty lines
Ultra Stretchy & Roomy: The holy grail of postpartum underwear. There's a reason granny panties keep making comebacks (at least amongst mothers) in spite of countless ridicules. They're large enough to prevent you from feeling self conscious about leaks, they're super soft and incredibly comfortable against the skin.
Honestly, sometimes that's all a mom needs. Whoever wants to judge you for wearing granny panties should try pushing out a watermelon and see how they feel afterwards. Only then will you take their opinions seriously.
7. CYEVA Postpartum Underwear Disposable Nylon Panties
Pro: Reusable and disposable
Con: Small fitting
High Waist Knit Band: This is the next best thing to those disposable hospital mesh underwear (in case you didn't pack as many as possible). The best part about these disposables is that you can wash them and they'll still retain their shape.
Obviously they're meant for that first week of intense bleeding, when it feels like you're shedding your entire uterus so don't have the strength, or inclination to do laundry. Note, these are made in China, so their sizing chart applies. If you're a size S in the US, get the XL version of this underwear.
8. GiftPocket Women's Low Rise Underwear
Pro: Comes in cute and fun colors
Con: Only moderate rear coverage
Roll-free: This underwear is designed to it just below your postpartum pooch in a smooth and seamless waistband. It's made from an antimicrobial blend of 95% cotton and 5% spandex, this keeps your undercarriage refreshed and comfortable all day.
The fun variety of colors are meant to boost your self esteem, when you're feeling a little down about the changes to your body. The deal breaker for most buyers is the moderate rear coverage of the underwear which, if you've seen what a postpartum maxi pad looks like, won't fit well. So get this after you've used, perhaps the CYEVA disposables, for two weeks or so and your bleeding has slowed down.
9. Hanky Panky Women's Low Rise Organic Cotton Thongs
Pro: Incredibly stylish
Con: Not the most practical for postpartum
Sexy Organic Thongs: Let's just start by saying, these are not practical maternity panties or the best postpartum underwear. They're low rise underwear with absolutely no rear coverage for pad support. And yet, they make you feel glorious! Postpartum depression is a very serious problem, and sometimes loving your body can go a long way towards alleviating it.
Hence, this is the underwear you want when that Day three postpartum depression hits. Not saying it will cure you, but women tend to feel a million times better with sexy lingerie underneath. These particular ones are low rise enough for your post baby belly and they're made with 96% organic cotton, so are both soft and hygienic for your lady bits. The only bummer, is that you need to hand wash them, but what does it matter if you're feeling better already.
10. NBB Women's Adjustable Maternity Panties, Over Bump Brief
Pro: Very breathable
Con: Shrinks after each wash
Zero-rolling: Ill fitting underwear can leave you with a muffin top which - shocker - you won't be too thrilled about. This NBB adjustable maternity panty gives you the support of high waist briefs plus the added benefit of adjusting to whichever size you are. It really does everything the best postpartum underwear needs to do.
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