If choosing organic, and sustainably made, maternity wear is a priority during your pregnancy, here are our top picks, plus some ideas for making maternity clothing more eco-friendly.
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You’re pregnant! After the initial wave of emotion, your thoughts will eventually turn to clothes. What are you supposed to wear for the next nine months? Listen to popular media, and you might think you need a whole new wardrobe.
Maternity clothing is a $6 billion industry in the United States that’s overrun with fast-fashion items designed to fall apart around the time the baby arrives. This leads to untold amounts of textile waste as cheap pregnancy-friendly clothes get tossed into the trash after minimal wear.
Today, some brands are pursuing another, more environmentally-friendly way. They are crafting high-quality clothing made from organic and sustainable materials, meaning that they are lighter on the planet and designed to last longer than your belly did.
Buy these clothes once, and they should last you through each pregnancy (and last for your friends’ pregnancies as well!).
What to Look for in the Best Sustainable Maternity Wear
Sorting out the facts from one clothing brand to another can get confusing—especially when you’re seeking out sustainable options. Here are the factors we considered for the clothes that top this list.
What are the materials? The best sustainable pregnancy clothes are made from natural materials like organic cotton, wool, or birch-based Tencel fibers. Any use of plastics like spandex and elastane should be minimized, and companies that use recycled materials or deadstock fabrics win extra points.
Where and how were they made? The welfare of factory workers is an important consideration when buying maternity clothes. Look for brands that earn certifications like Fair Trade or certified B Corps, and proudly showcase the factories where their clothes are manufactured.
What’s the packaging? Shipping clothes internationally adds significantly to their carbon footprint. Does the brand prioritize lightweight packaging made from recyclable materials?
Are there charitable programs? Many of the best sustainable maternity clothing brands have a social component to their businesses. Some donate a portion of all sales to support local charities, while others will take back gently used clothes to give to women in need. This offers a way to know your pregnancy wardrobe money is doing double duty.
Other ideas for making maternity clothing more sustainable
Assess and Adapt What You Have
Nine months of pregnancy may seem long, but the reality is that months are minimal when you won’t fit into your regular wardrobe, and odds are you won’t care to vary your wardrobe up much those days anyways.
Before going on a maternity shopping spree, assess what you already have. Will your loose-fitting dresses last you through the first trimester or two? Are you happy to live in your high-waisted leggings? You may be surprised how long regular clothes will work with your growing belly.
Most maternity clothes are worn only a few times before a pregnancy ends, which means most items available secondhand are in near-perfect condition. Browse your local thrift stores, or consider taking the search virtual by shopping on ThredUp or Poshmark. You may find your favorite brands available for a fraction of their listed price.
Join a Maternity Clothes Swap
If you have friends who were recently pregnant, there may not be much need to buy maternity clothes. Many women stockpile their apparel for future pregnancies and will be happy to let you wear it for a few months in the meantime.
Local swap groups or Facebook marketplace are also stellar options for sourcing gently used maternity clothes near you. Just make sure you pay it forward by sharing your clothing once you’re through.
In some cases, it’s possible to rent high-end maternity clothes for a few months you’ll wear them. Boob offers this service to Swedish shoppers, and online platforms like Armoire make it possible to rent from dozens of pregnancy-friendly brands.
The best organic maternity wear: our top picks
Here’s a closer look at some of the best sustainable maternity wear brands available today.
Highlights: Christy Dawn pushes the envelope on sustainability with deadstock fabrics and regeneratively-grown cotton, but some may find the high prices and prairie-inspired styles over the top.
Primary Materials: Organic cotton, regeneratively-grown cotton, deadstock fabrics
Christy Dawn’s collection of organic cotton clothing would look at home on the prairie, but it’s perfect for modern pregnancy as well.
The company offers inclusively-sized clothes made from organic and regeneratively-grown cotton, as well as a collection made exclusively from the “deadstock” fabric left behind by other apparel companies that would otherwise be wasted.
From fostering connections with the farmers and weavers in India to the dressmakers in Los Angeles, Christy Dawn priorities mutual beneficial relationships for everyone involved—not just the end customer. You can even learn about the individual dressmaker for every article of clothing within the item description.
This female-focused company sells clothing sized from XS to 3XL and highlights which items are maternity-friendly in a specialized collection.
Best of all, the company’s commitment to high-quality construction and timeless designs means each item should last through multiple pregnancies and are forgiving enough to be worn long after you’ve had your baby.
Highlights: Pact maternity clothes are sporty and affordable, and the company supports a sustainable way to pass on your used clothes.
Primary Materials: Organic cotton, elastane
Self-branded as “earth’s favorite company,” Pact sells sustainable underwear and sleep products for men, women, and children. Pact is a great choice for more gender neutral, less floral, maternity wear and active wear.
The Colorado-based brand’s maternity line encompasses a collection of dresses, simple tees, and nursing bras. Each item is produced in a fair-trade certified factory in India that ensures the workers earn a living wage, enjoy safe working conditions, and experience protection from sexual discrimination and child labor.
Pact uses GOTS-certified organic cotton that requires up to 91% less water than conventionally grown. Everything is shipped out in recycled materials, and the boxes themselves are designed to be reused for the company’s Give Back Box program. Just pack up your gently used clothes (any brand is fine), and ship them to Pact for donation to nonprofits.
Highlights: Super fun UK-based maternity clothing brand with many matching baby and kid items all in bright patterns and prints! All made using recycled materials and organic cotton.
Frugi is based in the UK in a tiny Cornish village and specializes in bold, fun, prints, often with matching options for parent and baby. Think dinosaurs, trucks, hedgehogs, and sea creatures.
This creative British fashion label delights in creating playful designs and offering classic cuts for maternity wear and nursing. The clothing is mostly made with organic or recycled materials and Frugi ships internationally.
Frugi designs are… recognizably Frugi. Once you’ve seen a few of their bright, fun prints, you’ll know them anywhere!
Our experience with Frugi maternity wear
Frugi was one of our Head of Research, Leigh’s, favorite maternity clothing brands and is now a favorite kids clothing brand too. Sadly no longer available, Frugi’s maternity swimsuit (shown above) and Calia seersucker organic cotton maternity pants were her must-have pregnancy items for the summer (and are currently enjoying a second life with a pregnant friend!).
However, as much as she love’s Frugi, she notes that shipping was a tad slow. While this was likely due to a combination of Canada’s rural postal system and the pandemic, she still recommends ordering a few weeks in advance of when you think you’ll actually need maternity clothes if you want to get full enjoyment out of Frugi’s delightful collection.
Highlights: This maternity brand offers a little of everything in flattering silhouettes for expectant moms, and you have a range of sustainable fabric options to chose from.
Primary Materials: Lenzing Ecovero jersey, organic cotton, elastane, Tencel, merino wool
This UK maternity company isn’t shy about putting the planet first. Isabella Oliver proudly proclaims it doesn’t want to profit from fast fashion at the expense of the earth, and the brand’s collection of maternity-friendly staples don’t cut corners.
Many items contain a jersey knit material derived from sustainably harvested wood pulp known as Lenzing Ecovero, which meets high EU environmental standards throughout its entire lifecycle. Other items are composed of an organic cotton blend that uses a fraction of the water required for standard cotton.
The company itself is certified B Corp for balancing purpose with profit. Isabella Oliver’s factories are located throughout England, Portugal, Romania, and Bulgaria and offer living wages and safe working conditions to every employee.
Those feeling extra ecologically conscious can also shop the company’s pre-loved maternity collection, which includes gently used items donated by new mothers (available in the UK only). Half of the proceeds from these sales support a selection of maternal charities.
Highlights: Boob clothes are GOTS-certified and designed to last. If you live in Sweden, you can also rent them.
Primary Materials: Oeko-Tex® organic cotton, eco-friendly Tencel, elastane, lyocell
This European maternity brand strives to provide women with cute and comfortable staples for every stage of pregnancy and beyond.
Everything is made from ultra-soft organic cotton or a birch-based Tencel blend and colored with gentle dyes. Production takes place through Portugal, Turkey, Italy, Greece, India, and Morocco, with stringent demands placed on suppliers to take environmental responsibility for the entire manufacturing process.
The company itself is GOTS certified and offers complete traceability for every component within the product supply chain.
You’re extra lucky if you live in Sweden, as Boob operates a rental program to ensure every piece of apparel lives a full life beyond the length of one pregnancy.
Highlights: Woman-owned Australian clothing brand with excellent ethics, making fantastic organic maternity and nursing sleepwear using Fairtrade certified cotton. Sorella Organics offers lovely organic cotton pregnancy pants and loungewear too.
An Australian brand, Sorella Organics ships internationally and was founded by a woman with a background in international human rights work. Unsurprisingly, the company prioritizes Fairtrade certified cotton and strict social standards and offers maternity wear at super affordable prices.
The collection includes organic sleepwear too, with some lovely organic cotton nursing nightgowns that will also work during pregnancy, such as their Nursing Nightie. Their organic cotton singlet is also practical as loungewear or sleepwear during pregnancy and for nursing, with gathered sides and extra length for a growing belly, simple snap-buttons for easy access nursing, and a lightweight feel perfect for summer months or as a base layer in winter. Pair with the Noosa Day Pants, made with organic cotton, for a relaxed daytime outfit.
Highlights: Storq’s minimalist maternity wear styling ensures you won’t buy more than you need while staying comfortable and stylish throughout your pregnancy.
Primary Materials: Modal, spandex, cotton, alpaca, wool, nylon
Storq brand maternity apparel is based around the idea that you don’t need an entirely new wardrobe when you’re pregnant- just the basics. The company specializes in everyday basics and capsule collection pieces that stretch with you from 0 to 40 weeks.
Each item is designed to be timeless and versatile for easy styling and affordable enough you aren’t upset to pass it on at the end of the pregnancy.
All Storq apparel is ethically made in China, Peru, the Philippines, and the United States to ensure all workers receive fair wages and work in safe conditions.
Most items are made from fabrics certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex® to ensure they are free from potentially harmful dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde, and other compounds.
Every design is created in limited quantities to ensure there’s minimal waste from excess inventory, and packaging is kept to a minimum and recyclable when possible. And, when you’re through with your clothes, Storq will help you donate them to the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Fransico.
Highlights: You’ll go through your pregnancy free of stress about ill-fitting jeans with Warp & Weft’s comfortable and sustainable maternity options—all for under $100 a pair.
Primary Materials: Cotton, Lycra, Tencel
Famous for its sustainable denim offerings, Warp & Weft’s maternity line may actually convince you to put on pants this pregnancy. This family-owned business works with an eco-friendly mill in Pakistan that’s one of the world’s largest textile manufacturers.
Each pair of jeans takes less than ten gallons of water to produce, compared to 1,500 for traditional brands. The company also treats and recycles 98% of the water that is used and skips the toxic bleaching processes that harm the environment- all for less than $100 per pair.
Warp & Weft sources its cotton, Lycra, and Tencel fibers from the US, while its dyes come from Europe. Up to 20% of the fabric used is made from recycled denim, plastic, and cotton.
The company prioritizes size inclusivity, with sizes ranging from 00-24. Within the maternity line, you’ll find stretchy fits, flattering waistlines, and a range of denim styles to choose between.
Highlights: Offers a wide selection of organic cotton nursing tops and dresses ideal for pregnancy and beyond. Not all of the brand’s clothing is eco-friendly though, so beware some conventional cotton and bamboo items.
Mothers En Vogue offer a wide range of very affordable, gorgeous maternity and nursing clothing, with several items made with certified organic cotton and linen. Some items are also made with bamboo, which I’d avoid (given the harsh chemicals required to process hard bamboo into soft fibers) and conventional cotton, which I’d also avoid.
Mothers En Vogue best collection is their wide range of soft organic cotton nursing tops and dresses. These offer plenty of room to accommodate a baby bump during pregnancy and easy nursing access from the fourth trimester onward. These tops and dresses have a classic, simple design that will serve you well in a smart casual setting and at the office, as well as when out and about having fun. Also, check out the organic nursing must have collection.
Highlights: These leggings offer the comfort and support postpartum women need while remaining stylish enough to wear long after your body has recovered.
Primary Materials: Recycled polyester, spandex
Few women feel ready to wear their pre-pregnancy clothes right after giving birth, and Prende Pants helps ease the transition back to normal life.
Founder TQ Evans lost her confidence after delivering three babies and dealing with diastasis recti, so she set to work designing leggings that would help her feel like herself again.They claim to be the first post-pregnancy, high-waist, eco-friendly leggings for women, and each pair is made from sustainable materials in the United States.
Each pair comes with an adjustable four-stage compression system that can be fitted to your waist for extra core support and a smoother midsection.
They are made from a blend of 76% recycled polyester and 24% spandex, ensuring these materials get a second use instead of winding up in a landfill. Each shipping box is made from 95% post-consumer content and is completely recyclable.
Going through a pregnancy brings dramatic changes to your life, but you don’t need to take it out on the environment. Shop for the best organic and sustainable maternity wear you can find, and you’ll be doing your part for the planet.
Looking to get up to speed on other eco-friendly and sustainable products for the baby on the way? We’ve got you covered with the following posts: