Pregnant Runner Wear and Gear

pregnant runner wear and gearWhen it comes to running clothes during your pregnancy, whether it’s six weeks, three months or six, there will come a point where your pre-pregnancy running clothes no longer fit you. Maybe they’ll hurt your growing boobs or maybe you’ll notice a big slice of belly sticking out of the shirt you thought still fit in pictures.

At some point, you’re going to have to find some new running outfits to go with that growing bump. Before you balk at this idea, thinking you’ll skip any running gear purchases because you’ll only need these new items for a few months, the good (though slightly disheartening news) is that even after your baby is born, you won’t instantly return to racing weight. What fits you during the latter stages of pregnancy will likely also fit you for a while after pregnancy. 

Maternity Running Clothes

When it comes to maternity running clothes, you can splurge and buy actual maternity workout clothes or you can repurpose non-maternity clothes in the right style and size, or with a little hack, to work for you.

Bras

Your belly size is not the only thing that changes in pregnancy and in many cases your bra size will change before you even really need to change clothing sizes. I’ve already changed sizes twice, in a little over five months- so there’s that. Luckily, with sports bras and spandex you get a little more leeway and use out of original ones before switching over. Eventually though, chances are you will need to size up.

Splurge:  After picking the brains of friends, MANY suggested Brooks (formerly Moving Comfort) bras. I ended up with the Juno. It’s very supportive, good for larger cup sizes, and from what I’ve been told, also good for nursing as well.

Save:  I found a few reasonably priced bras at stores like Marshalls and TJMaxx which work fine for lower impact activity.

Hack: Instead of buying new expensive more supportive bras, some of you can get away with double-bagging ’em: double up on lighter stretchier bras you already have or buy a couple of cheapies, like this one from Target.

Tops

No matter what your favorite style for running shirts before pregnancy, eventually they’ll be too tight in the chest, or your belly will get too big, stretching out or poking out from the bottom of them. The goal is to find shirts and jackets long enough and roomy enough in all the right places.

Splurge: There are cute maternity workout tops out there, including For Two Fitness. You’ve probably seen pictures of these on social media before, they fit well for pregnancy bodies but also have sayings on them to point out the obvious in a fun way!

Save: Quick fix that I did was to simply buy a bigger size of some of my go-to running tops. There are always good sales on Running Warehouse, plus adding a discount code (like #SALTY10) can help you save even more.

Hacks: Salty found an extra large tank top super cheap and made adjustable darts with safety pins to keep the shirt nipped in at across the chest, but roomy around her belly. Consider borrowing a jacket or some long sleeves from your favorite running partner to get through those last months. Lastly, a belly band can extend the life of shirts that fit except for their length.

Bottoms

I got away with wearing my old bottoms the longest out of any of my old running clothes, but by five months my favorite lucky booty shorts were no longer going to cut it … or should I say cover it. It was time to find something a little more comfortable. When it comes to pregnancy running shorts, pants, or tights, I highly suggest opting for styles with a wider waistband. A wider stretchy waistband digs into your belly less and is more forgiving as you grow.

Splurge: Many places sell actual maternity fitness shorts and bottoms. When you get further along, full panel bottoms can definitely help keep things where they are supposed to be.

Save: Anything sized up in spandex on clearance at Running Warehouse or browse Old Navy or Target maternity lines.

Hacks: When splurging on larger bottoms for running through pregnancy, consider the season that you’ll be returning to running as well. You’ll likely need bigger bottoms during at least a few postpartum months. Spandex bottoms are forgiving and will likely fit you for longer after baby than other bottoms.

Shoes

You may be just fine wearing your normal running shoes all throughout pregnancy, or you may have to make some adjustments. Some women find that their feet get wider during pregnancy, others have to go up a half or full size, especially later into the second and third trimesters. You can always go to your local running store and try out a few different shoes to see what feels right. Or, once again, scour Running Warehouse for some deals too (their return policy is great, so if the new shoes aren’t right, send them back).

The fact is, it may seem like a pricey thing to invest in for a few months but you may actually end up wearing the larger or different size shoes for a while after you have your baby. Some women find that their feet actually don’t return to pre-baby size.

Gear

Belly Bands and Support Belts

Some women find they don’t need any bands or belts, and others, like myself, found it very uncomfortable to run or even walk without a very supportive belt. That little bundle of joy really pushes out your round ligaments, which can cause pain. The bands and belts help support your belly but also your lower back. The bands are typically less supportive and the belts more supportive.

Compression Gear

In second and third trimester it’s not uncommon to deal with some serious cankles. Yes, they’re scary looking, but that swelling can also be really uncomfortable. Compression calf sleeves and socks can help. They increase blood flow and can decrease the swelling and discomfort, too. Just remember that not all compression is created equal so be sure to look for reputable brands, that have gradual and tight fit!

Note: Always note localized swelling, like cankles, to your doctor at your routine maternity check-ups. If the swollen area hurts or is on one side and not the other, extreme, or you’re simply worried, give your doctor’s office a call. It’s better to be safe and make sure there isn’t something else going on that might require attention.

Water Bottles

Yeah, this one is basic, but really important. We all know we need to eat more when pregnant, but what can often be overlooked is that you also need an extra 10-25 ounces of water per day and that number is higher if you are running or working out, especially in the heat (inside or outside).

Barley with water and running beltYou might be tempted to drink less before heading out, since you are already hitting the bathroom more times per day than you’d like. It’s better to pee 16 times during a run than not drink enough, so accept the pee stops and drink up! Increasing your water intake can also help ward off nausea, constipation and muscle cramps, and even Braxton Hicks contractions.

If you run outside, invest in a handheld water bottle unless you already have one and run near a water source to refill it as needed. If you run inside, keep a water bottle on the treadmill and take that break to refill it, even if that means you have to reset the mileage tracker.

If you ran during pregnancy, what did you wear and what gear was critical for you? 

An Upstate, NY resident who loves the marathon, a good beer, and all of the numbers/nerdy things. I write about my journey to a sub-3:00 marathon, training tweaks for improvement, and finding that "running/life balance" unicorn. On tap Next: Training to be a first time mom, here we go 2nd Trimester!

Leave a Reply

15 comments

  1. I think you pretty much nailed it! (Or snailed it, ha ha.) Try finding *winter* gear for preggo running! At some point I gave up running outside and would just zone out on the treadmill for a mile or two. In the second and third trimester, maternity capris, tights and pants from Target (Ingrid & Isabel and C9, if I recall correctly) were my go-tos.

    Bras are worth the splurge because you’ll still be at least a size bigger as long as you’re nursing. I wore those bras for 2+ years and only just went back to my old ones!

    1. Yes the winter maternity running stuff has been tougher to find- but for me I’ve opted to just stay inside 99% of the time anyways. I think my fear of slipping and falling is just too high- so I’d rather hang out on a mill or gym machine where I have less risk, easy bathroom and water fountain access!

      The online maternity sections at Target and Old Navy has been the biggest help!

  2. I’m so glad you mentioned the Juno bra! I recommend that to all my pregnant active friends. I think I had 4 of them by the end of my second post-baby time! I had one larger one that I used during the first post-baby-early-nursing weeks and the others I used through pregnancy and then for probably 9-12 most post partum while I was nursing. So supportive and awesome for nursing!

    Otherwise, I just wore regular running stuff – I saved a few ill-fitting race tech shirts that were perfect for during pregnancy!

    1. Another positive review of the Juno- hence why I just had to splurge on it! It’s been super comfortable so far, and I can see it being a staple in my running wardrobe. Watching for more deals on them so I can snag a few more!

      YES! the perk of most race shirts being poorly fitted- definitely makes for some good pregnancy clothes and loungewear!

  3. I’m 13 weeks pregnant for the first time (and struggled to get pregnant) so I’m very thankful for all the helpful and realistic posts on pregnancy! Thanks to Barley, and all the other authors, who’ve shared their journey–it’s really helped. Now on to running warehouse to buy that bra….

    1. Congrats on getting through 1st trimester! I’m incredibly sorry to hear that you struggled, I know it’s not easy by any means to work through. *Hugs* and hope you are starting to maybe enjoy some second trimester energy boost!

  4. I found some really nice and decently priced maternity tank tops with build in bras (which helps you double bag the boobies) on Old Navy’s website. And GAP.com always has decent sales on maternity clothes and I bought a few pants on maternity exercise pants that have the belly panel and provide a little extra support for running, biking, yoga, or just walking around. I’m constantly getting coupon codes for both those websites and they have carried me all the way to 34 weeks so far! I doubt I’ve spent more than 50$ total b/w 2 old navy tanks and 2 gap workout pants, but it’s nice to still feel a little pulled together and not worry about things hanging out.

    1. Old Navy has been my savior for pregnancy! My sister gave me a TON of maternity clothes, but I still needed to buy some basics like layering tanks and such even for everyday use. Their online maternity section is so much larger and more reasonable priced than most places- and like you said they are always sending out coupons!

      34 weeks, you’re on the home stretch just about! How are you feeling?!

      1. Better than I did with #1 at this point so hoping that means #2 isn’t a 9+ lb giant like #1! My chiropractor is a life saver! I haven’t been able to run in a while BC of my round ligaments but enjoying biking and the pool and yoga still :). I totally recommend continuing to wear a bikini to the pool while pregnant.

        1. Glad you are feeling good, and yes a chiropractor can work wonders! Sorry you haven’t been able to run, the round ligament pain is no joke (so I’m learning!) but glad you have been able to find other ways to workout that don’t bother you. I have actually been looking at finding a nearby pool to hop in, and definitely will rock a bikini for it because…who cares? Do you have any pool workouts that you do, or just swim laps for a while? Would love any input!

  5. You do look cute!
    I never bought actual maternity workout clothes. I did buy some larger tank tops/shirts, that as you mention, are also great post baby.
    I’m guilty of mostly just running around with my stomach sticking out. Actually, my mother was horrified when I told her I’d run shirtless in the summer when pregnant, b/c I was so uncomfortable I just didn’t want anything extra touching me (like sweaty fabric!), so just had no shame and went out there in a sports bra!

    1. Thank you! Yes if I were pregnant in the summer I would probably end up doing the same thing. Being in Upstate, NY winter right now though…not really an option, ha! We did just buy a used treadmill for my basement though because my desire for the gym has gone down lately. I’m seeing some sports bra belly running moments in the coming weeks down there!

  6. I was so guilty of thinking shirts still fit, when they didn’t and three inches of belly were hanging out the bottom. I bought a bunch of size up longer looser shorts and shirts on clearing at Running Warehouse and those were great for post-partum running too. I wore my husband’s clothes when I got really big. He wears a men’s large, so his jackets and long sleeves came in handy when I was pregnant with late fall babies. Lastly, black spandex shorts/capris/tights that are really stretchy are the best thing if you need to buy bottoms. You might discover a leaky bladder after baby and before you can get the rehab in or whatever, you don’t want to not run. Black spandex will hide it better than most others fabrics/colors. Lastly, unless you’re loaded, I wouldn’t bother splurging on more than a couple of things at most.

    1. Clearance finds on Running warehouse and old navy have been the best. I agree, not splurging on more than a few things. The bra I was willing to, because welll….I needed to and friends assured me it will be worth it for nursing too!

      I need to remember that on black spandex, it’s already my go to but definitely something to note for postpartum too!

  7. #1 you look super cute! #2 I appreciate these tips! I am currently doing my normal pants/tights with longer tops and it is working out for now… but I know sooner or later, they likely won’t fit. My boobs haven’t gotten TOO much bigger yet… just a few bras are slightly tight on me so I just avoid them. I’ll be 21 weeks this week, so who knows what will happen in the coming weeks!