Having a baby is one of the most physically demanding things that your body can go through, and if you ask most new moms, they just want to be comfortable after such a stressful event—which is why you'll want to add postpartum underwear to your pre-baby prep list. You're gonna want many, many pairs.
Best postpartum underwear at-a-glance:
- Best hipster: Proof Postpartum Leakproof Hipster
- Best disposable: Rael Organic Cotton Disposable Period Underwear (8-10 count)
- Best boy short: Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Underwear
- Best compression: UpSpring Post Baby Panty Postpartum Recovery Underwear
- Best for C-Sections: Belly Bandit Under Wrapz C-Section Recovery Briefs
- Best sustainable: Ingrid + Isabel Mama Boyshort Underwear
- Best bikini: Third Love Stretch Bikini
- Best absorbent: Rael Reusable Period Underwear
- Best seamless: HATCH The Seamless Belly Brief
- Best fold over: Motherhood Maternity Plus Size Fold Over Panties
- Best mesh: HEAL Postpartum Panty
- Best value: Hanes Women's 6pk Hi-Cut Panties
You may be preoccupied with burp cloths, bowel movements, and bottles, but your postpartum needs should not be overlooked. Postpartum underwear is an incredibly important tool for new parents. Whether you had a Cesarean section or a vaginal birth, there are some things to keep in mind when shopping for postpartum underwear.
How we chose the best postpartum underwear
“Women should think about two main factors when choosing a postpartum undergarment. The first is comfort—the ease of putting on and off, breathability (sweating is common for days after delivery as hormones regulate), and comfort while moving around the house. There will be plenty of up and down catering to the baby's needs,” says Dr. Jay M. Goldberg, M.D., F.A.C.O.G, a board certified obstetrician-gynecologist at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in California. “The second is functionality—it needs to be accommodating to place ice packs on the perineum or heating pads over the C-section incision,” adds Dr. Goldberg. For this reason, you may want to size up when you shop.
See our favorite postpartum underwear picks below, with disposable and reusable options, for both C-section and vaginal births.
The best postpartum underwear
“Bleeding can last four to six weeks after a delivery,” says Dr. Goldberg. “It gradually diminishes over the first two to three weeks, but, to a degree, can last up to six weeks. There are new sustainable options for post-partum bleeding that are leak-proof and can hold up to 10 pads of liquid, that are reusable verses disposable.” Proof’s absorbent hipster draws moisture away from your body to keep you comfortable and dry. It can be used for postpartum bleeding, as well as bladder leaks and periods. Bonus: It’s machine washable (use the delicate cycle) and won’t give you a wedgie.
If you can’t imagine having to do even more laundry with a newborn, look into disposable postpartum underwear, like this option from Rael. Made from breathable cotton sourced in Turkey, this postpartum underwear is incredibly absorbent. It holds the amount of four pads and allows for 12-hour wear. Safe for sensitive skin, it comes in two sizes: small/medium and large/extra large.
Chances are (if you’ve given birth before), you already have a bunch of baby items from the brand Frida (snotsucker, anyone?), and now Mom can get in on the action as well. Their Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit is a must-have for any new parent. It contains their highly-rated Disposable Postpartum Underwear. They come in two cuts—a high-waisted brief and a boy short. Super stretchy and breathable, these are a *much* better version of the white mesh underwear provided by the hospital.
This postpartum underwear supports your post-baby belly with compression to help keep everything in place. By providing a large area of support (this goes all the way up to just under your bra), it helps to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Machine washable, the UpSpring Post Baby Panty Postpartum Recovery Underwear comes in sizes S/M (size 2-8) and L/XL (size 10-16).
If you’ve had a C-section, you need to be extra mindful while shopping for postpartum underwear. It’s important to buy brands without seams or bands that hit at your surgery line. “C-section underwear (a number of my patients favor the C-section recovery + compression underwear from Belly Bandit) should be more supportive in the suprapubic region over the scar. This added support can be comforting and decrease complications,” says Dr. Goldberg. This pair comes in black and almond, and sizes small to extra-large. The brand recommends buying one size up from your pre-pregnancy size. This pair also contains silver-infused fibers to help eliminate bacteria and odors.
If you’re loving your new title of “Mama,” check out these cute and comfy boy shorts. (There is also a matching Mama Lounge Bra). The fabric is super soft, sustainable, and stretchy, and can be worn throughout pregnancy and postpartum. Plus, they’re just cute.
If thongs are just out of the question for you right now, it might be time to invest in some super comfy bikini bottoms. These have moderate coverage but won’t give you a visible panty line under pants. The mid-rise waist is more appropriate after vaginal births, but the stitch-free, smooth seam design will provide comfort to anyone. Third Love also has great nursing bras to pair with your comfy new undies.
Although the name is technically “period” underwear, these reusable undies absorb as much as three tampons, and are perfect for postpartum bleeding and beyond. The stretchy fabric hugs curves and doesn’t dig or pinch. Made from cotton, it’s breathable and comfortable. Available in sizes small through extra-large. You can also save by buying a pack. One pair is $20, two pairs is $35, and a three-pack is $45.
This high-waisted brief will feel luxurious on your postpartum body, which will appreciate anything buttery and stretchy. There is light compression for soft support on your stomach, and full coverage in the back. Available in two colors, sand and black, and four sizes, small through extra-large. The seamless design won’t pinch or pull on any sensitive areas.
These fold-over panties are perfect to wear during pregnancy and postpartum. They can be worn two ways—high-waisted, or with the band folded over. Made from cotton and lycra (spandex), the underwear is stretchy, soft, and comfortable. They’re available in sizes 1x to 3x, and come in a variety of colors and patterns like floral, leopard, stripes, and polka dots.
These super breathable panties are mesh, meaning they’re light and airy. They are high waisted for support and have an absorbent pad for postpartum bleeding. There is also a pocket in the vaginal area to place a frozen gel insert. “Vaginal birth underwear should be more supportive in the perineal area,” says Dr. Goldberg. “Pressure on the perineum is comforting after a vaginal delivery. It is often recommended to apply pressure and cold compresses to the perineal area for several days after a vaginal delivery,” adds Dr. Goldberg.
A postpartum body is constantly changing, and you may experience bleeding or other unpleasant (but normal) side effects after giving birth. For that reason, sometimes you may just want an affordable pair you can throw away once you’re out of this time period. This classic high cut style from Hanes is made from pre-shrunk cotton, and has a thin, stretchy band for all-day comfort. It’s also tag-free to reduce itching and irritation. For under $10, you can get six pairs.
The postpartum period can be a stressful and physically painful time for a new parent. It’s important to choose garments that will allow you to feel comfortable and supported as your body changes. Whether you’ve had a C-section or vaginal delivery, choosing postpartum underwear that moves with you and won’t irritate your newly sensitive skin is of the utmost importance. Time to do something nice for you, Mama.
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