Maternity Jeans Review

I’m 24 weeks pregnant today and my regular jeans no longer fit so I recently started ordering a bunch of maternity jeans to figure out which I like best. They range in price from under $50 to almost $200 and I was pretty surprised with the results so I wanted to share in case anyone is in a similar situation.

I’ll start by saying I’m not big on maternity clothes in general but maternity jeans are a necessity, especially living in Chicago. When I was pregnant with Palmer in San Diego, I managed to get by mostly wearing dresses but that obviously won’t work this time around. I’m also super particular when it comes to denim and typically opt to spend more on a good quality pair that I know will get a ton of mileage. However, I have a tough time justifying the high price point on a pair I know I’ll only wear for a few months, especially when I don’t even know how my body will change during pregnancy.

Denim preferences can vary greatly across the board – style, wash, fit, etc. – and maternity denim only further complicates things with choices like side panel, front panel, full belly panel, etc. so I tried to focus on denim fit and functionality vs. style as I reviewed each pair. It’s not always apples to apples so please keep that in mind as you review. I’m sure there are also tons of great brands I didn’t try so if I’ve overlooked any, please let me know as I’m always looking for recommendations.

My Top Picks

Overall Favorite: H&M

  • H&M MAMA Skinny Ankle Jeans
  • Price: $49
  • Features: Full Belly Panel // Mock Front Pockets // Regular Back Pockets // Belt Loops // Front Button
  • Size: Small [I tried both small and medium and ultimately felt more secure in the small]

Why are these my favorite you ask? BELT LOOPS. Regardless of belly band vs. side/front panel, maternity jeans will sag. It’s inevitable because you lose your hips but having belt loops to help adjust as needed makes all the difference. I can’t tell you how many awkward moments I’ve had trying to pull up maternity jeans using the belly band under my shirt! IYKYK.

Belt loops aside, I love the fit through the legs, the cropped length and how secure I feel wearing these jeans. I will note that the belly band is a thicker blue cotton material which I was hesitant about at first but found they don’t bother me and overall these are a very comfortable pair of jeans to sit, stand and move around in.

I wish I could take credit for finding this gem but they were actually a recommendation from a friend [who’s on her third pregnancy and basically an expert on all things motherhood and maternity clothing].

Runner Up: 1822 Denim

These are a very close second but a completely different style so it’s almost like they both win but in different categories. That said, I knocked these down a point because there are no belt loops. I also think the loose fitting style of this denim makes them easier to hold up and wear comfortably because the fit doesn’t have to be as precise.

I ordered these in the ‘Ralph’ wash which is a medium denim with slight distressing and I really like them. I’ve found they go with so much and I think will be perfect going into spring. Especially if skinny jeans really are out – LOL.

Also, if you haven’t heard of 1822 Denim, they are revolutionizing the denim industry with high quality pieces made sustainably using recycled materials at affordable price points. Personally, I’m obsessed and can’t wait to try their non-maternity jeans after this pregnancy!

Notable Favorites

These are a great classic, everyday skinny jean option, especially if you’re looking for a more relaxed denim. They are super soft, stay up well and are comfortable to wear while sitting or standing.

  • H&M MAMA Skinny Jeans
  • Price: $49
  • Features: Full Belly Panel // Mock Front Pockets // Regular Back Pockets // Belt Loops // Front Button
  • Size: Small [fits true to size]

These are very similar to the H&M MAMA Skinny Ankle Jeans that I ranked first except the denim is more stiff and the leg is longer. Personally, I prefer a cropped leg but I do really like these jeans as well and think the denim wash options are better in this style. I will say that it took a few walking lunges to get these up all the way because there isn’t a lot of stretch in the denim so if that bothers you, consider sizing up or going with the 1822 Skinny Jeans instead.

I really like Old Navy’s Premium Full Panel style denim. They are comfortable and super secure, almost like you’re wearing non-maternity denim. Plus, they have belt loops which you know I love. I ordered the Rockstar jeans in the ‘Hazel’ wash which I think is now sold out but I did’t love the overall aesthetic/look of the jeans. The fit and length are perfect though so I’ll probably look for a different wash available in my size.

  • H&M MAMA Super Skinny Jeans
  • Price: $34.99
  • Features: Full Belly Panel // Mock Front Pockets // Regular Back Pockets
  • Size: Small [fits true to size]

Of the three H&M maternity jeans I tried, these are probably the most similar to maternity jeans you commonly find. They have a good stretch and fit more like jeggings than actual denim but are a good solid skinny option. Unlike the other two H&M pairs, these do not have belt loops and sit smoothly on the hips. Overall, I like the wash options in this style and think these are a great price point but I will probably cut the hem to shorten them a bit.

I’m a little torn on these. They are a thicker, more stiff denim but fit loose through the legs and taper towards the ankles. They have a shorter belly band which I don’t mind since they’re easy to pull up and stay up well, probably because they aren’t super tight in the legs. They do sag a little and need to be adjusted when going from sitting to standing but overall they are good alternative to the 1822 Straight Leg Maternity Jeans that I ranked second, especially if you aren’t into skinny jeans anymore.

Others I Tried

I had high expectations for this pair because I love Madewell denim but these were just okay. I didn’t love or hate them but at this price point, I don’t think they’re worth it. The belly band is nice and thick but doesn’t come all the way up in the back which makes them sag a bit more than I like. It is possible that the fit would be better if I sized down or tried these later in my pregnancy. I did like the wash and fit through the legs but they are not a super tight skinny jean.

I didn’t like anything about these jeans which is a little surprising since these are made by a reputable denim designer. I think in part it may have to do with the side panel which I don’t generally prefer. [Note: I think belly band vs. side panel vs. front panel is specific to the person in the jeans. I have a close girlfriend who preferred the side panel because she was pregnant during the summer and didn’t want the extra layer covering her bump, which makes complete sense. Regardless, there’s no right answer here, this is just my personal preference.] Overall, these are way too big around my hips and don’t stay up which made them uncomfortable to sit in or move around. Perhaps they would fit better once my belly is larger but for this price point, it’s not worth it for only a couple short months of wear.

  • Madewell Maternity Full Belly Jeans
  • Price: $138.00
  • Features: Full Belly Panel // Regular Front Pockets // Regular Back Pockets // Belt Loops // Front Button
  • Size 27 [I could have probably sized down]

I was not a huge fan of these Madewell maternity jeans. The back portion of the belly band is denim which I haven’t seen before but I found it a little bulky, uncomfortable and unsupportive. The jeans fit fine through the legs, a little big around the hips so I probably could have sized down but overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of the aesthetic/style. For me, they were too long and loose around the ankles making them feel a bit outdated.

Similar to the other DL 1961 pair I tried, these are too large around my hips and don’t stay up well. They fit fine through the legs and the length was good but I found them to be unflattering though I generally have a tough time finding white jeans I like. Again, for such a high price point, these are not worth keeping.

I actually love the length and fit through the leg but again, not a big fan of the side panel style and hate the wash. I loved the look of them online but in person I felt the wash looked a little cheap. However, I will say they are buttery soft just as the name describes and super comfortable. I do think I could have easily sized down due to the side panel style. It’s also important to note that they do have belt loops so adjusting them if they do sag is simple.

Of all the maternity denim brands I tried, I think I like the belly band on the LOFT jeans most. It’s super soft, not too high and very supportive which help hold the jeans in place really well. I also liked the fit through the legs and having regular front and back pockets which don’t add any bulk. However, from a style/aesthetic standpoint, my sentiment is similar to the Madewell Maternity Full Belly Jeans, in that they feel dated. They are a super dark wash and a little long in the leg, pooling too much around the ankle. [Note: It does look like these are mostly sold out now and I haven’t seen LOFT restock maternity jeans but I’ll continue to check back in case they release new styles.]

At the time I ordered, they didn’t have these available in Regular so I sized up in Petite and while the fit is fine, they are way too short. Aside from that though, I really like these jeans for all the same reasons I like the LOFT Maternity Skinny Jeans. Sizes are pretty limited in this pair but they are very similar to 1822 Denim Over the Bump Distressed Straight Leg Maternity Jeans so if you can’t find these in your size, those are a great option.

I was a little disappointed in these because they look different in person than they do online. That said, I like the dark wash and they seem to stay up really well, even when moving between sitting and standing. One thing I noticed about Old Navy Fully Belly Panel jeans is that the belly band only goes up about mid-belly. It works fine while I’m still pretty small but I would be curious to see how they hold up once my belly is larger. Style/aesthetic wise, the denim was pretty stiff and I didn’t like how long the legs were.

I actually don’t like anything about these jeans – the wash, fit or style. For starters, they don’t look like their online pictures and flare slightly at the ankle despite being straight leg. They are also too big and fall down easily so I would need to size down but I don’t even care to try because I don’t like the style/aesthetic enough. These are a definite ‘no’ for me.

Surprisingly, I don’t hate the front panel and think they feel pretty secure but it is just a tad uncomfortable when sitting. The panel itself is super thick so it digs into your stomach if you’re not standing. That said, I really like the wash and style but wish the leg was cropped/ankle length instead. They were loose fitting in the size 4 and kept falling down so will likely size down.

Hopefully this gives you a good place to start when looking for maternity jeans! I’ll continue to try new brands and will update this post as they come in but regardless, I feel very confident that H&M and 1822 Denim brands are great options for maternity jeans!



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