what are the best postpartum underwear?
Recently, many celebrities and influencers have publicly shared their surprise at having to wear heavy-duty postpartum underwear after giving birth; some even likening it to joining their baby in wearing diapers. As a longtime postpartum doula and founder of boober, where we connect new parents to postpartum care providers who guide them through the 4th-trimester transition, I help new birthing parents navigate the ins and outs of postpartum from how to feed their baby, to how to heal their perineum, to what to wear during the birth recovery process. Many people will bleed up to 6 weeks post-birth and some will need to heal from a tear or an episiotomy, so I am often asked which postpartum underwear to pick. Reliable and comfortable postpartum underwear is key to your comfort and recovery post-birth.
What style of underwear should I wear postpartum?
New moms or birthing parents need to know that the first few days after birth means a lot of vaginal bleeding, aka lochia. The best undies in the new mom days are mesh and stretchy and big enough to include overnight pads! Brands like Bodily and Frida Mom both make great mesh boyshorts and bike shorts which are super stretchy to fit any size and are great for holding giant maxi pads! Want to skip the pads altogether? Catch your lochia in period-absorbing underwear like the Thinx postpartum line.
The best underwears for postpartum recovery, in general, are comfortable, soft, stretchy, and provide good enough coverage to hold pads (since you’ll be bleeding heavily the first few days and ongoing for 2-6 weeks). You want your postpartum underwear to be more generously cut than your pre-pregnancy underwear and expect to be at least a size up. You also want breathable underwear since it’s likely you’ll be sweatier than usual! Cotton or microfiber is a good choice.
What underwear should I avoid?
Avoidvoid skimpy, tight underwear because you need enough material and coverage to hold in the large pads you’ll wear early on to catch your blood. It may be a while before you go back to those since comfort reigns supreme when you’re caring 24/7 for a little one.
If you gave birth by cesarean, most people have a surgical incision right above where their pubic hairline starts, so high-waisted underwears are best to avoid irritating your scar. Bodily’s All-In Panty is high-waisted, soft, and stretchy and made of micromodal fabric to avoid friction. Nyssa makes a postpartum cesarean-friendly garment that is stretchy, soft, and holds an ice pack to soothe your cesarean scar, plus has wider guesseting to support those big pads. These undies have flexibility, so you can pull them up high to your waist and fold them down lower as you continue to heal.
In addition to a high waist, a lot of people love extra tummy support. After you give birth your belly feels loose, your organs are all over the place, and gently supportive underwear feels good to most new parents. Hatch’s High Tuck Brief has a high-rise, over-the-belly style with a double layer in front to hold you in and a single layer in the back to feel light.
You’re going to bleed a fair amount after delivery — and for a while and you’re guaranteed to stain all your underwear, so it’s way better to create a collection that is specifically postpartum and save your favorite pre-baby underwear for later! Your vagina & perineum will need all the support you can get post-birth. Your whole body can take up to a year to recover from birth, so any little thing can help.