Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.
Dr. Sara B. Twogood chats with PEOPLE about the underwear that helps support you post-pregnancy
There are many changes your body goes through after giving birth, especially during the first few weeks (most times months!) as you heal. Choosing the best postpartum underwear doesn’t have to be one of those daunting tasks.
Postpartum underwear is important for new mothers because it not only provides the necessary support and comfort your body needs, but it also gives you protection in the weeks after you give birth. This underwear is often seamless, high-waisted, and specifically designed to avoid irritating potential C-section scars, help with absorption for postpartum periods, and help offer compression for extra support as your body starts to adjust back post-baby.
To get more insight about what to look for when shopping for postpartum underwear, we interviewed experts like Dr. Sara B. Twogood, a board-certified OB/GYN in Los Angeles and co-founder of Female Health Education.
When choosing a style, she says comfort is important. “If the birth was vaginal then it is likely there will be swelling and potentially stitches that need to heal," Dr. Twogood tells PEOPLE. "If the birth was via cesarean, then ideally the underwear will not have a band around the scar. It is normal to have postpartum bleeding for weeks following delivery so underwear that can support a heavy pad is ideal, too.”
Whether you are hoping to find a supportive option to help with your postpartum bleeding or simply looking for a comfortable undergarment while your body heals, these are the best postpartum underwear options on the market.
Always Discreet Incontinence & Postpartum Underwear
This affordable option is easy to use and very absorbent — after all, the brand is known for its pads. This postpartum underwear was designed to help with any postpartum leakage and also for urinary incontinence, which is a common thing moms deal with after delivering a baby. It’s supposed to give you up to 12 hours of dryness production and is also designed to turn liquid to gel to absorb bladder leaks in just a few seconds.
Price at time of publish: $39.89 (for 32)
Sizes: S-XXL | Fabric: Cotton 4-way stretch fabric | Care Instructions: Dispose after using
Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Underwear
These undies are a cult favorite among the new mom community for a reason. This underwear option is mesh-free, soft, and breathable. Plus, they keep pads and other layers in place. This is a good option to even pack in your hospital bag for those first few days of postpartum flows, especially because you can just discard them after each wear.
Price at time of publish: $16 for 8
Sizes: Petite (waist 23-34 inches), Regular (waist 28-42 inches) | Fabric: 85% man-made materials, 15% spandex | Care Instructions: Dispose after using
Thinx For All Super Absorbency Brief
Thinx is known as a period underwear brand which also makes them a great option for postpartum because they are both comfortable and absorbent. Depending on the amount, this underwear is a great option for postpartum menstrual flow. (According to the brand, they should be able to absorb up to four regular tampons worth of liquid.) This is a mid-rise hipster brief style that’s made out of cotton and has full bottom coverage that was designed specifically to handle even your heavier flow days. We appreciate that these are available up to 4XL, as well.
Price at time of publish: $17
Sizes: XS-4XL | Fabric: 95% cotton, 5% elastane | Care Instructions: Wash before wearing; hand wash or machine wash cold on a delicate cycle and hang dry
Junfan Postpartum Breathable Undies
If you’re looking for an affordable option that gets the job done, take a look at Junfan’s washable mesh pants that are conveniently available on Amazon. These are pretty much exactly like the ones you will receive when you are in the hospital. The only difference is that you can wash these a few times (according to the brand, they should last up to 5 uses), adding to their cost effectiveness. Thanks to the mesh material, they're a very breathable pair of underwear that's also great for holding a maxi pad. Plus, they feature a rather inclusive size range compared to most other options on the market.
Price at time of publish: $28 for 2
Sizes: XS-4XL | Fabric: Polyester and spandex | Care Instructions: Wash on gentle cycle, air dry
Fruit of the Loom Beyondsoft Brief Panties
You don’t have to opt for a mesh option — a good old pair of cotton panties is also a great choice. These are a solid choice if you’re looking for a pair of underwear that you can toss away once your discharge is gone and/or your C-section stitches are nice and healed. This cotton underwear is designed to be lightweight, resist fading and shrinking, and has a woven microfiber waistband that prevents panty lines.
Price at time of publish: $27 for 12
Sizes: XS-3XL | Fabric: 60% cotton, 40% polyester | Care Instructions: Machine wash cold with like colors, tumble dry low
Hatch Seamless Belly Brief
The Hatch Seamless Belly Brief was my favorite pair of underwear that I wore post my C-section. If you’re looking for a compression option that holds everything in without it feeling overly tight where it hurts, this is the option for you. I ended up buying these in multiple colors like black and beige because they were stretchy and easy to put on.
Price at time of publish: $38
Sizes: XS-XL | Fabric: 84% modal, 13% nylon, 3% elastane | Care Instructions: Machine wash cold, line dry
Kindred Bravely High Waist Postpartum Recovery Panties
This high-waisted option is a wonderful choice for those looking to have a little support but still feel very soft and comfortable against your belly. The material is a rayon-spandex mix that is durable enough to keep pads where they’re supposed to be yet feel very soft to the touch. It also doesn’t show any panty lines and is easy to toss into the washer and dryer too!
Price at time of publish: $35.99 for 5
Sizes: S-XXL | Fabric: 95% rayon, 5% spandex; 100% cotton gusset | Care Instructions: Machine wash
Innersy Postpartum Cotton High-Waisted Briefs
The Innersy Cotton Briefs are both thick and durable. They are double-lawyered and come with a thick elastic waistband that holds everything in place. The waistband lands right above your C-section scar to not irritate in case that’s of concern, and the high rise nicely applies a slight compression to help with tummy control.
Price at time of publish: $25.99 for 5
Sizing: XS-3XL | Fabric: 95% cotton, 5% spandex; 100% cotton gusset | Care Instructions: Machine-wash cold on gentle cycle, tumble dry low
Nyssa FourthWear Postpartum Recovery Underwear
This option is ideal for those looking for a pair of postpartum underwear that lets you hold an ice pack between the legs or over your abdomen. The polyester and spandex blend material means it's super stretchy while also offering compression. The extra high waistband can be worn either above or below the belly, so you have options depending on your comfort level and what you're wearing with them. This design was made in collaboration with OB/GYNs, doulas, midwives, and pelvic floor therapists and comes with the brand's between-legs reusable ice/heat pack for added comfort.
Price at time of publish: $53
Sizing: XXS-4XL | Fabric: Polyester and spandex | Care Instructions: Machine wash cold
Bodily All-In Panty
Bodily’s All-in Panty is also a mom-approved favorite because of its high-waist fit, wide elastic waistband, and lightweight micromodal fabric that’s supremely soft to the touch. The fabric helps wick away moisture to keep you nice and dry while also accommodating large pads. Plus, this functional underwear even comes in multiple colors, not just the typical black and nude options. If you're wanting to buy more than one pair, the five-pack option is also currently on sale for $58 (originally $80).
Price at time of publish: $16
Sizes: S-3X | Fabric: 93% micromodal, 7% spandex | Care Instructions: Machine wash warm, tumble dry low
Things to Consider Before Buying Postpartum Underwear
Material & Style
The most important factor to look at when it comes to material or fabric is it being breathable. Dr. Twogood recommends choosing an option that is has a “stretchy, breathable fabric like cotton or a cotton blend.” You should also decide whether you want an option that is either reusable or single-use since most postpartum undies are only meant for single use. This style you choose really depends on your preference, but you should always opt for one that gives you more coverage. Stick to styles that are not only breathable but also absorbent, especially during your postpartum period.
A lot of times, new moms are told to look for postpartum underwear that has compression, especially if they’ve gone through a C-section. “Compression is a bit controversial,” Dr. Twogood says. “Some people swear by it and it makes them feel stronger and steadier faster. Some people hate the way it makes them feel and cannot tolerate the constriction. It does not seem to change longer-term outcomes — it won't make your belly shrink or prevent the abdominal muscle separation called diastasis all by itself. I tell my patients if it helps with pain and discomfort then use it. If it makes it worse, then don't.”
In terms of what you should be looking for when it comes to absorbency, Dr. Twogood explains that postpartum bleeding can change week by week. “In general, people have less bleeding after a cesarean compared to a vaginal birth," she says. "Most people have heavy periods like bleeding the week or so that gradually lighten over time. By four to six weeks postpartum, it is common to have very light spotting or bleeding”.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should you wash postpartum underwear?
Some postpartum underwear are single use, so make sure you choose which option you prefer first. Follow the manufacturer’s directions when it comes to washing or hand-washing reusable options to help them last a lot longer.
A few key things to keep in mind for reusable options are that you should avoid bleach, fabric softener, ironing, and high temperatures with these types of underwear. Try to pre-soak the items to help get rid of blood before washing them. If the underwear itself is machine-washable, we recommend putting them into a mesh intimates bag to help keep them safe from other items in the laundry; we also recommend air drying when possible.
When can you start wearing normal underwear after birth?
Many people opt to wear postpartum underwear for the first four to six weeks after giving birth since these types of underwear help absorb more liquids. “Timing of this depends on many factors [like] type of birth (vaginal or cesarean) — if vaginal birth, how much recovery the vulva and vagina require, and amount of bleeding,” says Dr. Twogood. “There is no ‘right timing.' It's common for postpartum people to use the typical postpartum mesh underwear for a week or two before transitioning to wearing pads with underwear - most people need more time before transitioning back to thong underwear, though.”
What size of postpartum underwear do I need?
You may have to experiment with a few different sizes because you won’t be the same size as your maternity clothes after you give birth. Women often see a sizing reduction in their stomachs during their postpartum period. Typically, the uterus is expected to go back to its pre-pregnancy state around six months after you give birth.
Take Our Word For It
Nikita Charuza is a freelance beauty and fashion editor (and new mom!) with almost a decade of digital media experience. She is also the founder of the "happy headcare" line Squigs Beauty. For this story, she interviewed Sara Twogood, MD, a board certified OB/GYN in Los Angeles and co-founder of Female Health Education. Before making her final selections, she took a look at hundreds of reviews to find out which were the most popular and effective postpartum underwear to help determine the best products included in this roundup.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.