Best postpartum underwear | BabyCenter (2022)

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When it comes time to pack your hospital bag in preparation for your baby, chances are you’ve included plenty for your little one: the perfect swaddle for pictures and a cute coming-home outfit, too. But what about your own postpartum needs?

When a woman is postpartum — the period of time following childbirth — a woman experiences many emotional and physical changes. “After giving birth, our bodies are especially sensitive,” says Allison Hill, an ob-gyn in Los Angeles. “The body’s healing process lasts about six weeks and often involves lochia, or postpartum bleeding, and discharge.”

Because of that, a woman may want to invest in some special underwear to don during the healing process. It’s not a must-have, but it's a nice-to-have so that you don't ruin or stretch out your regular underwear, which may be still too tight or uncomfortable for your still-bigger postpartum body.

"The only postpartum underwear you need is something you can bleed on, pee on, and throw out. In other words, not La Perla,” says Dr. Lauren Streicher, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause. “Other than that, wear what is comfortable."

But to be comfortable — especially during such a sensitive time for your body — it can pay to make a few special considerations when shopping for underwear. “Throughout the healing process, women need underwear that is comfortable, stretchy, supportive, and absorbent,” says Dr. Hill.

Ideally, postpartum underwear will be made from a soft, breathable, and comfortable material like cotton, says Dr. Hill. It should also be large enough to easily accommodate thick sanitary pads — especially helpful in the first week after giving birth when lochia is often heavier, she explains.

For women who have c-sections, it’s important for postpartum underwear to be high-waisted, says Dr. Hill. “If the waistline isn’t high enough, the underwear elastic can cause irritation around the area, so I recommend looking for underwear that hits above the scar.” For women with vaginal tears, the softest materials are most comfortable during the healing period, typically 7 to 10 days, says Dr. Hill.

And while it may be tempting to opt for underwear with extra support — after all, the stomach can feel rather loose after childbirth as your uterus contracts — undergarments that are too tight can actually prevent the healing process, says Dr. Hill.

How we chose the best postpartum underwear

As we’ve noted, suitable postpartum underwear is soft, stretchy, and accommodating to your changing body. But the best postpartum underwear is also thoughtfully constructed with a gentle or specially placed waistband that won’t irritate healing c-section incisions, a generous crotch area to hold postpartum pads, and stretchy, smooth fabric that moves with you no matter where your day takes you.

Sure seems simple, but legions of women readjusting their underwear all day long can tell you it isn’t. So when we went looking for the best postpartum underwear, we started by searching through millions of posts on BabyCenter's Community, looking for positive reviews of postpartum underwear real moms wear. Once we had a list of real-mom favorites, we set our expert editorial team to the task of researching and vetting these recommendations to make sure they met our strict standards, as well as those from experts like Dr. Streicher and Dr. Hill.

Keep reading to find the best postpartum underwear for c-section moms, the best disposable postpartum underwear, and more. And if you’re looking for most postpartum gear, our favorite postpartum leggings and nursing bras may help.

  • Moms who've had c-sections swear by these comfortable briefs from a trusted brand. They stretch, stay put, and don't have annoying tags or seams that can catch on your healing parts and chafe tender postpartum skin.

    Heads up

    Postpartum moms suggest going one size up.

    Specs

    • 6 pairs
    • Nylon
    • Sizes 5-9 fit hips from 34-45 inches
  • This is a better version of the disposable underwear you'll get in the hospital. It's softer, feels like cotton, and wicks moisture. It is also designed to keep pads in place. If you want to cover all your bases, we recommend the Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit, which includes these underwear along with ice maxi pads, cooling pad liners, and healing foam.

    Heads up

    You’ll need multiple packs to get you through, which can be pricey.

    Parents say

    “I’m 5 days postpartum and I LOVE these! They have been the most comfortable and they definitely do hold the pad in nicely, even with the ice pack added.”

    “These are the only postpartum undies I wear, and I’m a size 18 when not pregnant and have quite a big booty (5’7” tall and currently 230lbs). They fit me, but it’s a bit of a squeeze.”

    Specs

    • 8 pairs per pack
    • Microfiber and spandex
    • Size regular fits waists from 28 to 42 inches
  • For affordable, absorbent, and disposable underwear, go with an incontinence panty that you can buy online or at your local drugstore. These products are also often eligible for FSA and HSA reimbursement.

    Heads up

    Most moms say they also need to wear pads with these at first.

    Parents say

    “My husband bought a whole box of these from Sam’s Club, so I’ve been wearing them instead of underwear. When I first got home I wore them with the overnight pad. Now I’m just wearing them by themselves. I love them. They’re so comfortable, and I don’t have to worry about underwear.”

    Specs

    • 19-64 pairs per pack
    • Choose from a single pack or 2-pack
    • Sizes small to 2XL fit waists from 24-62 inches
  • Buying options:

    Best postpartum underwear | BabyCenter (13)

    $24

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    These classic briefs made of nylon and spandex provide gentle belly binding, which can support your abs and help improve your posture when you need it most. Made of super-stretchy (and quick-drying) nylon-spandex, these undies won't get chilly and damp like cotton can when you're leaking fluids, and they're tagless for a itch-free underwear experience.

    Heads up

    Reviewers suggest sizing up, even when you’re not postpartum.

    Specs

    • 4 pairs
    • Nylon, spandex
    • Sizes small to 3XL fit hips from 36-47 inches
  • This underwear supports your weakened abdominal muscles and speeds up your recovery with the help of a silicone panel that lies across your c-section scar and resists irritating it (and if you wind up with a c-section, you'll soon learn exactly how irritating anything can be when it touches your healing incision). Choose from sizes small to 2XL and from black and nude shades.

    Heads up

    They’re undoubtedly expensive, but c-section moms say the cost is justifiable.

    Parents say

    “I have a pair and found them to be really comfortable, they're slimming but they're not too tight. The best part is the built-in strip across the front that covers your scar with compressed silicone. That's the best thing for healing your scar and minimizing its look.”

    “I'm wearing them now, and have been 24/7 since my c-section three days ago. They need a day or so to really get comfortable, but do they make a difference! I can actually walk around and not feel like my insides are going to fall out. Highly recommend them, they are worth every penny!”

    Specs

    • 1 pair
    • Nylon, spandex
    • Choose black or nude
    • Sizes small to 2XL fits waists 25.5-45 inches
    (Video) POSTPARTUM CARE! | WHAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED!
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  • Buying options:

    For a classic mesh postpartum panty like those you'll get in the hospital, these are a great choice. They're breathable, washable (up to 10 times), and disposable. They're hardly lookers, but they're comfy, they hold your pads on, and with their high-and-wide waistband, they're unlikely to irritate either a sensitive and itchy postpartum belly or a healing c-section incision.

    Heads up

    They’re similar to hospital panties, but are washable and offer a bit more support.

    Specs

    • 3 pairs
    • Polyester mesh
    • Sizes medium to 2XL fit waists 31-39 inches
  • Buying options:

    These underwear are made from a breathable cotton blend, with just enough stretch and support to hold in your postpartum belly. Choose from sizes small/medium and large/extra-large, and from black or nude; either way, you can fold over the waist band for customizable comfort. Moms like that the full-cut bottom seam falls underneath the curve of your buttocks, so it's nearly or completely invisible, even under leggings.

    Heads up

    C-section moms say these are a bit too tight.

    Parents say

    “The cotton maternity underwear from Motherhood Maternity are great. Super soft and comfy. They grow with you, and are great for postpartum also. Get your regular size.”

    Specs

    • 2 pairs
    • Cotton, nylon, spandex
    • Sizes small to 3XL fit hips 36-58 inches
  • As veteran moms know, after delivery normal postpartum bleeding, known as lochia, lasts for about five to six weeks, with the heaviest flow happening in the first seven to 10 days after birth. You can't use tampons or menstrual cups for the first six weeks postpartum, due to the added risk of infection while your uterus and vagina are healing, so you’ll be wearing sanitary pads.

    That's where postpartum underwear comes in handy to keep pads comfortably in place. “Properly fitting postpartum underwear can make the recovery process much more comfortable,” says Dr. Hill.

  • If you give birth at a hospital, the staff will usually give you enormous maxi pads and disposable mesh underwear to bring home. When your flow lessens, you can switch to some of your regular, comfortable underwear and smaller pads. But some new moms like to stock up on postpartum underwear like comfortable briefs, absorbent "period" underwear, or supportive underwear made especially for post-birth. Other new moms like to have their own supply of disposable underwear just in case.

    If you’re shopping for postpartum undergarments, the most important thing is that you select something you don’t mind soiling with blood and/or urine. This is because whatever underwear you wear postpartum, will likely get ruined. Beyond that, women should look for underwear that’s comfortable, stretchy, supportive, and absorbent. For women with tears, super soft materials are especially nice on the sensitive area. And for women who had c-sections, look for a high-rise pair that won’t rub the incision site, says Dr. Hill.

    Though it’s tempting to buy underwear with plenty of tummy control, Dr. Hill cautions against any pairs that are too tight, since that type of compression can actually inhibit healing.

    Types of postpartum underwear

    • Disposable postpartum underwear: If you give birth in the hospital, you will probably be given these to wear afterwards. Generally made of expandable mesh, these fit like high-waisted boy shorts, and are perfect for the first days after birth, when you'll be wearing enormous pads to catch your lochia — they hold everything together, and if something leaks, you can just throw pad and underwear away.
    • Incontinence underwear: “Although it’s not always talked about, incontinence is common during postpartum recovery as the result of weakened muscles from birth,” says Dr. Hill. Incontinence underwear is thicker than regular underwear, and designed to absorb period blood. You will likely have to pair these with a pad for some time, but when your flow lessens, these may be all you need.
    • Postpartum c-section underwear: If you've delivered via c-section, these high-waisted underwear won't irritate your incision. They have non-binding waistbands, and some even have special panels at the front made of smooth material like silicone that are specially designed to be gentle to your healing incision.
    • Mesh postpartum underwear: This underwear is made of stretchy mesh and look from a distance like men's boxer briefs; like disposables, they're made to hold the larger-than-usual pads you'll be wearing post-birth. Most mesh underwear is disposable, but some can be washed a limited number of times and reused.
    • Compression postpartum underwear: Designed to reduce swelling in your midsection and to provide light support for weakened abdominal muscles, these underwear sometimes have adjustable compression features, such as side Velcro fasteners that you can tighten or loosen according to how much support you need. Just don’t go too tight, says Dr. Hill, lest you risk interfering with the healing process.
  • FAQs

    How many pairs of postpartum underwear do I need? ›

    2 packs (16 pairs) is the recommended minimum for postpartum. Disposable maternity underwear that eliminates the need for uncomfortable, awkward pads in your postpartum journey.

    How long do you need disposable underwear after giving birth? ›

    Do I need disposable underwear after birth? Immediately after having your baby, you will probably wear the disposable underwear that is supplied for you by the hospital. These are good to wear for 2 or 3 days after you have given birth while your bleeding is heavy.

    Should you size up for postpartum underwear? ›

    Even if you wore the same size underwear during your pregnancy, plan on buying a size larger in postpartum underwear to allow for pads and to give your most sensitive area room to breathe. If you had a vaginal delivery, you won't want anything constricting.

    Why do you need disposable underwear after giving birth? ›

    Period panties or incontinence underwear: These panties are super absorbent and used in the first few weeks postpartum to absorb your bleeding and discharge (although you might need to double-up your panties with a menstrual pad, too).

    What postpartum items do I need? ›

    Here are some things to have on hand to help ease your discomfort and make the postpartum period a little more bearable.
    • A squirt bottle. ...
    • Gauze pads or disposable washcloths. ...
    • Numbing products. ...
    • Pain medicine. ...
    • A sitz bath. ...
    • Ice packs. ...
    • Tucks pads. ...
    • A donut pillow.
    11 Mar 2021

    How many postpartum pads do I need? ›

    If you're changing your pad every four hours, you'll need a minimum of six pads a day for the duration of the bleeding which, on average, lasts four weeks (so it's safe to assume you'll go through 150+ pads).

    How many postpartum diapers do I need? ›

    SHOPPING TIP: Buy 1-2 packs of 12 adult diapers for the first week. 24 adult diapers should be more than sufficient and you'll likely have leftovers. Gift your leftovers, along with your postpartum pad tips and tricks, to another mama due after you.

    How much do you bleed after birth? ›

    In fact, women typically bleed up to a half-quart of blood following a normal delivery and up to a quart of blood after a cesarean section (C-section). However, about 3 to 5 percent of new moms experience excessive blood loss, or postpartum hemorrhage.

    How many disposable underwear do I pack in my hospital bag? ›

    Underwear (2-3 pairs)

    How long does postpartum bleeding last? ›

    It can vary between people, but lochia typically lasts about six weeks. However, some people have traces of lochia for up to eight weeks.

    How do you measure for postpartum underwear? ›

    Stand with your heels together and have someone measure you. Place the tape measure over your hips, coming to the front of your bump and fullest part of your bottom. The tape measure should touch your body at all points and not be pulled tight.

    Should I wear compression underwear postpartum? ›

    If you're looking to reap long-term benefits, postpartum compression garments are the best option. Shapewear can still be used after you've recovered to help you feel your best in your clothes, but they will not provide any medical benefits during your recovery.

    How often should I change my maternity pad? ›

    You may need to change your pad every hour or two hours after giving birth. This will reduce to every three hours or four hours over the next two days. Be sure to buy maternity pads, rather than ordinary sanitary towels. Maternity pads are longer, softer, and much more absorbent.

    What can you not do during postpartum? ›

    Avoid stairs and lifting until your doctor says these activities are OK. Don't take a bath or go swimming until the doctor says it's OK. Don't drive until your doctor says it's OK. Also wait until you can make sudden movements and wear a safety belt properly without discomfort.

    How can I make postpartum easier? ›

    9 Things You Can Do While Pregnant to Make Postbirth Recovery...
    1. Stay Active. ...
    2. Avoid Eating for Two. ...
    3. Sleep While You Still Can. ...
    4. Drink Lots of Water. ...
    5. Practice Your Pelvic Floor Exercises. ...
    6. Stock Up on Postpartum Essentials. ...
    7. Baby Your Breasts. ...
    8. Nest for Yourself.

    How can I clean my womb after birth? ›

    To cleanse the area, use the "squirt" water bottle you got in the hospital. After you go to the bathroom, rinse from front to back with warm water. Continue these rinses for as long as you have vaginal bleeding. Pat (don't wipe) from front to back to dry.

    What week Should I pack my hospital bag? ›

    When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag? You should have your hospital bag ready to go between weeks 32 and 35 of your pregnancy, in case your baby comes a bit earlier than expected. A good time to start the packing process is around the 28 week mark, or at the start of your 3rd trimester.

    How long should you wait to drive after giving birth? ›

    Wait a week to drive a car after a vaginal birth, says Robert Atlas, M.D., an OB-GYN at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. "You use your abs to move your foot from the gas to the brake." If you've had a C-section, expect to wait two to three weeks before getting behind the wheel.

    What can you use if you don't have a pad overnight? ›

    Using toilet paper or paper towels: Paper towels can be more absorbent so they won't have to be changed as often. Fold and stock them (or toilet paper) so it's at least half an inch thick and approximately the length and width of a standard sanitary pad.

    Do you wear pads with diapers postpartum? ›

    Why do you need pads after giving birth? After giving birth, new moms experience postpartum bleeding, called lochia (think of it as a long, heavy period). Because you'll also be busy feeding and diapering your new baby, you'll want to be sure that you have comfortable and leak-proof protection.

    Can you bring your own diapers to the hospital? ›

    If you plan to bottle-feed from the get go, pack at least two for the hospital. If you plan to formula feed, pack some of your preferred brand, as well, though the hospital will most likely have samples for you. Do not bring diapers or wipes! The hospital has all the diapers and wipes you'll need.

    How many pads should I bring to the hospital? ›

    Pads…

    I recommend doubling up pads the first couple of days (one at the front & one at the back), which means you will go through a lot of pads. Most hospitals will give you a hefty amount and you can always ask for more. While bleeding is normal postpartum, soaking through pads or passing large clots is not.

    How do you know if you are overdoing it postpartum? ›

    If your postnatal bleeding (lochia) gets heavier or changes colour (becomes pink or red) after activity, you could be overdoing it. You're also likely to feel very tired. Listen to your body. Pace yourself and make sure you get plenty of rest too.

    Can you get pregnant after 2 weeks of giving birth? ›

    You can get pregnant as little as 3 weeks after the birth of a baby, even if you're breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again. Unless you want to get pregnant again, it's important to use some kind of contraception every time you have sex after giving birth, including the first time.

    How can I make my lochia go away faster? ›

    What Can I Do to Reduce Lochia Bleeding?
    1. Have your caregiver or nurse to massage your uterus.
    2. Breastfeed, if you can. ...
    3. Pee as often as you can. ...
    4. Don't overdue activity—this can get in the way of healing.
    5. You can get a shot of Pitocin to help your uterus contract faster, but it isn't necessary for most moms.
    9 Aug 2020

    What do you wear in hospital after birth? ›

    Delivery or Nursing Gown

    If your hospital doesn't have a preference, consider getting a special labor and delivery gown (with access for breastfeeding, an IV, an epidural, etc.) to maximize your comfort and confidence (much softer than a hospital gown).

    Should you wear compression underwear postpartum? ›

    Postpartum compression garments are even more important to use if you've had a C-section because compression can help relieve the pressure and pain from your incision and can help you heal faster. Also, wearing something over the area where your stitches are can help prevent anything from pulling on your stitches.

    How many postpartum pads do I need? ›

    If you're changing your pad every four hours, you'll need a minimum of six pads a day for the duration of the bleeding which, on average, lasts four weeks (so it's safe to assume you'll go through 150+ pads).

    How many postpartum diapers do I need? ›

    SHOPPING TIP: Buy 1-2 packs of 12 adult diapers for the first week. 24 adult diapers should be more than sufficient and you'll likely have leftovers. Gift your leftovers, along with your postpartum pad tips and tricks, to another mama due after you.

    What should I clean before baby arrives? ›

    Things To Be Kept Clean
    • Always make sure that the floors are clean. If you have carpet, the carpet should be steam cleaned prior to the baby's arrival. ...
    • Everything should be dusted. ...
    • Clean the kitchen. ...
    • Have the nursery spotless and dust free.
    • Make sure all linens are washed.
    • Disinfect the home.
    28 Sept 2021

    How soon can you go home after giving birth? ›

    If you're both doing well, you'll usually be ready to go home somewhere between 6 and 24 hours after birth. You may need to stay a bit longer if: you've had an emergency caesarean section. you or your baby need extra care.

    How many maternity pads should I take to hospital? ›

    2 packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads. 5 or 6 pairs of knickers – you may want to bring some disposable ones. your washbag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap, lip balm, deodorant, hair ties and other toiletries. towels.

    Is it OK to wear Spanx after giving birth? ›

    SPANX: SPANX are non-medical, lightweight garments that help to control trouble areas (such as your abdomen, thighs and/or bottom) and make your silhouette look slim. They can be worn at any time during your life, and don't provide any medical benefits, purely cosmetic.

    Does compression help uterus shrink? ›

    A postpartum wrap or band can be used to help support your abdominal muscles directly in the first few weeks after you give birth, when those muscles are at their weakest. They can also provide light compression to help your uterus shrink back, although that will happen naturally anyway.

    How tight should a postpartum girdle be? ›

    It shouldn't pinch or cause pain if it fits correctly, but it will feel quite snug and will encourage you to hold your posture very straight. Depending on how much weight you lose during the postpartum period, you may find that it's time to size down to a smaller garment.

    What week Should I pack my hospital bag? ›

    When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag? You should have your hospital bag ready to go between weeks 32 and 35 of your pregnancy, in case your baby comes a bit earlier than expected. A good time to start the packing process is around the 28 week mark, or at the start of your 3rd trimester.

    How much do you bleed after birth? ›

    In fact, women typically bleed up to a half-quart of blood following a normal delivery and up to a quart of blood after a cesarean section (C-section). However, about 3 to 5 percent of new moms experience excessive blood loss, or postpartum hemorrhage.

    Can I use normal pads as maternity pads? ›

    Be sure to buy maternity pads, rather than ordinary sanitary towels. Maternity pads are longer, softer, and much more absorbent. They are also less likely to irritate stitches, as they don't have the plastic coating that many standard sanitary towels do.

    Do you wear pads with diapers postpartum? ›

    Why do you need pads after giving birth? After giving birth, new moms experience postpartum bleeding, called lochia (think of it as a long, heavy period). Because you'll also be busy feeding and diapering your new baby, you'll want to be sure that you have comfortable and leak-proof protection.

    How long does postpartum bleeding last? ›

    It can vary between people, but lochia typically lasts about six weeks. However, some people have traces of lochia for up to eight weeks.

    Can you bring your own diapers to the hospital? ›

    If you plan to bottle-feed from the get go, pack at least two for the hospital. If you plan to formula feed, pack some of your preferred brand, as well, though the hospital will most likely have samples for you. Do not bring diapers or wipes! The hospital has all the diapers and wipes you'll need.

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