MATERNITY JEANS REVIEW: 13 PAIRS OF MATERNITY JEANS AND WHAT WORKED AND DIDN’T WORK ABOUT EACH

Since I got pregnant, I’ve been more excited about shooting outfit posts than ever before because I’ve experienced firsthand how hard it can be to find clothes that make you feel beautiful when it feels like your body is changing every single day. One night when I couldn’t fall asleep, it occured to me that one of the ways I could provide value for fellow moms-to-be would be to test drive a bunch of maternity clothing to separate the keepers from the seriously-cannot-return-fast-enough (of which there have been plenty). I decided to start with this post because it’s been so much harder to find a great pair of maternity jeans than I ever imagined possible — and because if I could save even one of you from the seemingly endless hunt for a flattering pair, I’d call that a success! 

design darling maternity jeans review

So I ordered thirteen pairs of maternity jeans from all different retailers at all different price points and took notes on the pros and cons of each. I was tempted to only share the winners (spoiler: these and these) but decided to also show you the ones I didn’t love on me since we might be looking for different things! For each pair, I’ll share what I liked or disliked about them as well as why you might feel differently. For reference, I’m 5’1”, 26 weeks pregnant in these photos, and ordered every pair in my pre-pregnancy size 25. I’m wearing this striped shirt (size small) and these heels in all the photos. Enjoy!

maternity jeans review 7 For All Mankind Ankle Skinny Maternity Jeans in clean white 1

maternity jeans review 7 For All Mankind Ankle Skinny Maternity Jeans in clean white 3

maternity jeans review 7 For All Mankind Ankle Skinny Maternity Jeans in clean white 2

7 For All Mankind ankle skinny maternity jeans in clean white, $179

Also available on AmazonNordstrom, and Neiman Marcus

Verdict: Return (would have exchanged for the next size up if I hadn’t found these)

Style: Side panels with functional button, functional zipper, and faux front pockets

Why they didn’t work for me: These definitely run small, so I should have ordered the 26 instead of the 25. The rise was too high on me, so the top of the jeans sat uncomfortably high on my bump, and I’d have to have them hemmed as I hate a ton of fabric bunched around the ankle.

Why you might feel differently: If you’re taller than 5’1″ or have had trouble finding maternity jeans with a medium rise (either because you’re taller or you’re carrying higher), these could be great for you. I definitely prefer side panels to maternity jeans with a front panel or full belly band and these have the perfect amount of stretch.

maternity jeans review 7 For All Mankind ankle skinny maternity jeans in B(Air) Duchess 1

maternity jeans review 7 For All Mankind ankle skinny maternity jeans in B(Air) Duchess 3

maternity jeans review 7 For All Mankind ankle skinny maternity jeans in B(Air) Duchess 2

7 For All Mankind ankle skinny maternity jeans in B(Air) Duchess, $189

Also available on Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus

Verdict: Return (would have exchanged for the next size up if I hadn’t found these)

Style: Side panels with functional button, functional zipper, and faux front pockets

Why they didn’t work for me: This is the blue version of the white jeans above so the same review holds true, although the blue pair has slightly less give. These definitely run small, so I should have ordered the 26 instead of the 25. The rise was too high on me, so the top of the jeans sat uncomfortably high on my bump, and I’d have to have them hemmed as I hate a ton of fabric bunched around the ankle. I am tempted to order these maternity denim shorts by the same brand — has anyone tried them?

Why you might feel differently: If you’re taller than 5’1″ or have had trouble finding maternity jeans with a medium rise (either because you’re taller or you’re carrying higher), these could be great for you. I definitely prefer side panels to maternity jeans with a front panel or full belly band and these have the perfect amount of stretch. I also love the color of these — it’s the ideal dark denim wash if you ask me — and the fact that the navy side panel matches the blue denim.

maternity jeans review 1822 Denim stretch 360 ankle skinny maternity jeans in Ziggy 1

maternity jeans review 1822 Denim stretch 360 ankle skinny maternity jeans in Ziggy 3

maternity jeans review 1822 Denim stretch 360 ankle skinny maternity jeans in Ziggy 2

1822 Denim stretch 360 ankle skinny maternity jeans in Ziggy, $59

Verdict: Return

Style: Pull-on with full navy belly band

Why they didn’t work for me: These were impossible to get on, so I’m thinking I should have sized up. There are no belt loops, no button, no zipper, and not a ton of stretch, plus they have a very low rise so you’d have to wear a longer top to hide the navy belly band.

Why you might feel differently: If you order a size up from your usual size, prefer jeans without a ton of give, and want a budget-friendly pair to get you through pregnancy.

 

maternity jeans review Madewell maternity skinny jeans in pure white 2

maternity jeans review Madewell maternity skinny jeans in pure white 3

maternity jeans review Madewell maternity skinny jeans in pure white 1

Madewell maternity skinny jeans in pure white, $128

Also available on Madewell

Verdict: Return

Style: Pull-on with adjustable elastic waistband

Why they didn’t work for me: I prefer maternity jeans that have a functional button and zipper like non-maternity jeans, so I wasn’t crazy about having to pull these on like leggings. I imagine this jegging style would be even harder to get into later in pregnancy.

Why you might feel differently: Once they’re on, they’re quite flattering, true to size, and completely opaque.

maternity jeans review Paige Verdugo maternity ankle jeans in Tristan

maternity jeans review Paige Verdugo maternity ankle jeans in Tristan 3

maternity jeans review Paige Verdugo maternity ankle jeans in Tristan 2

Paige Verdugo maternity ankle jeans in Tristan, $199

Verdict: Return

Style: Side panels with functional button, functional zipper, and faux front pockets

Why they didn’t work for me: I didn’t care for the high contrast between the lighter blue of the denim and the super dark color of the side panels. These are made of that super soft denim that’s crazy comfortable but needs to be washed after every wear or it will stretch and sag… which is about the last thing I have time for while pregnant. Finally, I’d have to have them hemmed as I hate a ton of fabric bunched around the ankle.

Why you might feel differently: If you love doing laundry? 😉 If you’re taller than 5’1″ (maybe even 5’6″ or taller), these would be a better length on you. That said I’d still recommend this 7 For All Mankind pair over these for taller girls.

maternity jeans review AG Jeans secret fit belly legging ankle maternity jeans in evening star 2

maternity jeans review AG Jeans secret fit belly legging ankle maternity jeans in evening star 3

maternity jeans review AG Jeans secret fit belly legging ankle maternity jeans in evening star 1

AG Jeans secret fit belly legging ankle maternity jeans in evening star, $178

Also available on A Pea in the Pod

Verdict: Return

Style: Pull-on with full navy belly band

Why they didn’t work for me: Like all belly band styles, I found these a nuisance to pull on and off. The rise is quite low so you’d need to wear with a longer shirt.

Why you might feel differently: If you’re committed to a full belly band, these were probably my favorite of that style and I’d recommend sizing up to have an easier time getting them on and off. I liked the dark wash and the matching color of the belly band. They have a good amount of stretch (though they’re not super soft) and they have functional front pockets, which most other pairs lacked.

maternity jeans review Old Navy maternity front low- panel rockstar 247 sculpt leggings in Tenerife 3

maternity jeans review Old Navy maternity front low- panel rockstar 247 sculpt leggings in Tenerife 2

maternity jeans review Old Navy maternity front low- panel rockstar 247 sculpt leggings in Tenerife

Old Navy maternity front low- panel rockstar 24/7 sculpt leggings in Tenerife, $45 (ordered size 2 which fit like a size 26)

Verdict: TBD (returned for now but may reorder if side panel styles get less comfortable later on in pregnancy)

Style: Pull-on style with elastic front panel

Why they didn’t work for me: I prefer side panel styles with a button and zipper to anything I have to wiggle into like leggings, but I may reorder these if I feel the need for a front panel option as my bump gets bigger. I also wasn’t a huge fan of this brighter blue color so next time I’d order the darker wash.

Why you might feel differently: If you like a pull-on style, these are a great affordable option. They’re the only pair I tried on with this front panel situation and I found it less fussy than a full belly band (again we’ll see how I feel as this bump grows over the remaining three months!). They’re very soft and stretchy but that may mean you’d be pulling them up throughout the day, but at least they have belt loops unlike most of the full belly band styles.

maternity jeans review AG Jeans secret fit belly ankle skinny legging maternity jean in white 1

maternity jeans review AG Jeans secret fit belly ankle skinny legging maternity jean in white 3

maternity jeans review AG Jeans secret fit belly ankle skinny legging maternity jean in white 2

AG Jeans secret fit belly ankle skinny legging maternity jean in white, $188

Also available on A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity

Verdict: Return

Style: Pull-on with full nude belly band

Why they didn’t work for me: Again I prefer a functional button and zipper to a pull-on style, so I found these hard to get on, especially since they don’t have belt loops to help you pull them on. The rise is quite low so you’d need to wear with a longer shirt and I felt like I would have been pulling them up all day. Finally, the fabric is also slightly sheer, so you’d always have to wear with nude underwear.

Why you might feel differently: If you prefer maternity jeans with a full belly band, I like that this one had a stretchy nude band that wasn’t too tight and could be worn underneath fitted or light-colored tops.

maternity jeans review DL1961 Emma skinny maternity jeans in Flatiron 1

maternity jeans review DL1961 Emma skinny maternity jeans in Flatiron 2

maternity jeans review DL1961 Emma skinny maternity jeans in Flatiron 3

DL1961 Emma skinny maternity jeans in Flatiron, $178

Also available on Amazon

Verdict: Keep!

Style: Side panel with functional button, functional zipper, and faux front pockets

Why they work for me: These are by the same brand as my favorite white maternity jeans and I knew I’d want a darker wash to wear into early fall. I find the side panels on these to be the most comfortable and the easiest to get in and out of — they’re the only style in which I’m not constantly reminded that I’m wearing maternity jeans.

Why you might feel differently: These are a super dark blue wash and I wish they came in something a little lighter. They’re also not cropped like my favorite white maternity jeans, so I’ll hem them a few inches for a better fit.

maternity jeans review H&M Mama skinny jeans in dark denim blue 2

maternity jeans review H&M Mama skinny jeans in dark denim blue 3

maternity jeans review H&M Mama skinny jeans in dark denim blue 1

H&M Mama skinny jeans in dark denim blue, $50 (ordered size 2 which fit like a size 24-25)

Verdict: Return

Style: Pull-on with full faded black belly band

Why they didn’t work for me: I’d heard good things about H&M maternity jeans and really wanted to like these, but they were probably my least favorite pair of all thirteen. They were so tight they were nearly impossible to get on, they have next to no stretch, the belly band is a weird faded black color, the waistband gave me a muffin top, and the ankles were baggy. They didn’t look terrible once they were on, but I would dread having to wrestle these on every morning!

Why you might feel differently: If you’re taller than 5’1″ (maybe even 5’6″ or taller) and order 1-2 sizes up.

maternity jeans review H&M Mama skinny ankle jeans in dark denim blue 2

maternity jeans review H&M Mama skinny ankle jeans in dark denim blue 3

maternity jeans review H&M Mama skinny ankle jeans in dark denim blue 1

H&M Mama skinny ankle jeans in dark denim blue, $50 (ordered size 2 which fit like a size 24-25)

Verdict: Return

Style: Pull-on with full faded black belly band

Why they didn’t work for me: These weren’t as bad as the pair above since the shorter inseam made them a little less baggy at the ankle, but personally I prefer jeans that are more crisp and less distressed. I say if you’re looking for budget-friendly maternity jeans, stick with the Old Navy pair!

Why you might feel differently: I did like that these have functional belt loops so they’re easier to pull on than most belly band styles. Order a size up!

maternity jeans review James Jeans Twiggy ankle maternity legging jeans in cult 2

maternity jeans review James Jeans Twiggy ankle maternity legging jeans in cult 3

maternity jeans review James Jeans Twiggy ankle maternity legging jeans in cult 1

James Jeans Twiggy ankle maternity legging jeans in cult, $163

Also available on Amazon

Verdict: Return

Style: Pull-on with full black belly band

Why they didn’t work for me: I found these extremely difficult to get on and off thanks to the lack of belt loops and the thick elastic at the top of the belly band, which is rather tight and would be visible through any fitted top.

Why you might feel differently: I loved the color and the length, but I honestly can’t imagine anyone being comfortable with such a heavy elastic belly band unless the sole goal was maximum compression. If you’re looking for a dark wash maternity jean with a belly band, I’d try these first!

maternity jeans review DL1961 Florence crop maternity jean in porcelain 2

maternity jeans review DL1961 Florence crop maternity jean in porcelain 3

maternity jeans review DL1961 Florence crop maternity jean in porcelain 1

DL1961 Florence crop maternity jean in porcelain, $178

Also available on Amazon, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Zappos, and The Tot

Verdict: Keep! (And order a second pair!)

Style: Side panel with functional button, functional zipper, and faux front pockets

Why they work for me: These are by far the most flattering maternity jeans I’ve found and I love them so much I ordered a second pair to wear when the first is in the wash. I loved DL1961 before I got pregnant but now I’m officially their #1 fan. I wish they made them in every color under the sun! The cropped length means they hit right at my ankle without being hemmed, which is hard to find when you’re 5’1″!

Why you might feel differently: If you’re taller than 5’6″, I’d try this similar but longer pair by 7 For All Mankind. Also these are slightly sheer so you’ll need to wear with nude underwear!

design darling maternity jeans review

Et voilà! This took me forever to put together but I really hope it’s helpful to some of you fellow moms-to-be! I’d be so grateful if any of you shared with your girlfriends who are expecting or pinned the image above for future reference. And would love any feedback or ideas for similar posts in the comments! (If you’ve had luck finding a pair of maternity shorts you love, please share!)

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25 thoughts on “MATERNITY JEANS REVIEW: 13 PAIRS OF MATERNITY JEANS AND WHAT WORKED AND DIDN’T WORK ABOUT EACH

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  1. I’m not pregnant butt loved this post and thought it very clever to include the “why you might feel different” section.. I really enjoy your blog, esp. for your even temper perspective, upbeat attitude, and honesty.. sending you lots of healthy wishes!

  2. Thank you! I just had my first baby and I hated maternity jeans…saving this for baby #2. I also found that side panels were so much better than over the belly for me. Congratulations!

  3. 21 weeks along here and loved this try on! While quite the investment, I really love my HATCH Collection jeans. I don’t like ‘fake’ jeans either! (those without an actual waistband, fake pockets, etc.) The Hatch ones are real jeans, just with a side ‘extender.’ You can sometimes find them on Poshmark too if you’re someone who doesn’t want to bite the bullet on brand-new, full-price.

  4. My son is 6 now, but read this just to see if the brands I wore were still around. I too found DL1961 to be my favorite maternity jean. He was born in September so I really didn’t wear them long since we had the hottest summer and I felt like I was on fire 24 hours a day. So instead of jeans dresses became my go-to. If I have any advice, I’d tell you not to buy too much. You think you might want to rewear items after your pregnancy, but I found I didn’t really want to. The maternity denim is definitely helpful right after delivery when you are getting back down in size, but otherwise I was so happy to shed the clothes I wore while pregnant.

  5. I wish I had this while I was pregnant. So helpful! Also try Loft for pregnancy items? I had luck with Old Navy and Loft shorts.

  6. My favorite maternity jeans and shorts were from Ingrid & Isabel- they had a full panel but that was def necessary at 34+ weeks. I know they now carry a line at target (I had my daughter in September 2017). Love this post- I’m sure it will be helpful for tons of women!

  7. You are so right about the Seven Jeans – I bought two pairs in second trimester and they were so stiff, small, uncomfortable and awkward and made me look like I had a saggy plumbers bottom. Just the worst. Tried so many nicer brands including Seraphine and it was one disappointment after another. The most comfortable ones I’ve found so far are Gap, shockingly, but they are so frumpy and seriously unflattering. Good for around the house though. Ended up in JCrew and very very happy with them. They are jegging style but now that I am in my third trimester I appreciate that as I can’t see below my belly and can barely put socks on. I can’t imagine faffing with buttons and zippers – no way lol!

  8. Love that you did this! I’m 34 weeks along now and ordered at least 13 pairs of maternity jeans myself. My favorites have been the Mama J by J.brand in the dark and white wash (also wear a 25 and am on the shorter end). I also have a great distressed pair with an over the belly band from Old Navy. So many of our thoughts aligned so I think it’s worth trying the J.Brands if you are in need of another pair 🙂

  9. I also loves the side panel jeans, but only till around 34 weeks or so. Then they just weren’t comfortable with the larger belly. I was carrying reasonably high and still couldn’t wear them the last few weeks. They were awesome for the first month post-partum. To me, they were a great transition jean, but I basically went exclusively to over belly leggings the last 2-3 months of pregnancy.

  10. This may be the best post ever. I went full panel only for this pregnancy (my second) because I felt like a belly band got me through long enough, and then I only wore side panels for a short time before I wanted the full. I love my AG maternity jeans, but that’s also my favorite non-maternity brand, so no big surprise there. The other find of the century this time around was a pair of hand me downs from a friend, from LOFT maternity. They. Have. Front. Pockets!!!! Not quite full size pockets, but they fit my chapstick!

  11. Thank you so much for doing this review! I’m 25 weeks and had such a similar struggle finding a pair that worked after ordering over 10 different styles and sizes. I decided to go with Madewell’s since I prefer the side panel styles and found that if I sized down one or two sizes I’m not constantly pulling them up by the end of the day. We’ll see how they work the rest of my pregnancy! Would love to see more maternity outfit posts like this 🙂

  12. I completely agree about H&M, I’d heard great things but was so disappointed. I ordered my pre-pregnancy size and struggled to get them on, and when I did they were wayyy too short. I’m 5’8”, so I guess there’s a pretty small window for women these would work on. If you prefer the side panels (I do too) you will probably continue to prefer them for the next few months, so much easier to get on!

  13. My biggest issue was the opposite of yours – all the maternity jeans out there seem to be ankle or crop and I’m 5’10”! It has been SO frustrating. I ended up going with a black (for work) and a white for summer by J Brand – the Mama J super skinny in my normal size. They are definitely the longest of any brand I’ve tried thus far. I also have two pair of blue skinnies that my sister-in-law handed down to me from Gap that work for the time being. In terms of shorts right now I’m wearing a pair of Madewells that I sized up for (by 2 sizes, so I can wear them kind of slouchy) but I have not tackled any actual maternity styles yet!

  14. Thank you for this!! 🙌🏼 I bought the AG ones in a panic when I was about 18 weeks but I hate them! They still fall down when I sit or bend over and I’m 25 weeks.
    Just bought the old navy pair 🙂

  15. SUPER HELPFUL! I have a few pairs of hand-me-down jeans and a pair of Target white jeans; but this is hugely helpful as I have been hoping to find a nicer, more refined pair for fall. Great idea, would love to see more like this!

  16. First of all—as someone who’s 24 weeks pregnant, I can’t imagine how exhausted you were after changing in and out of 13 different pairs of skinny maternity jeans. I legitimately think I’d need a nap after!

    Thank you SO much for taking the time to put this together. I’ve had a hard time embracing the bump, and as such, any maternity clothes, but this makes me excited to find things I love that work for me. Please keep this kind of content coming!