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Best maternity swimwear that’s both chic and supportive

·11-min read
<p>For a more sustainable swim, go for a timeless piece that can be worn well after your due date </p> (iStock/The Independent )

For a more sustainable swim, go for a timeless piece that can be worn well after your due date

(iStock/The Independent )

Waddling to the waves this summer? Pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to squeeze into an old bikini or cover up in a frumpy frock. There are plenty of on-trend options that don’t compromise on comfort.

Maternity swimsuits are built to grow, with some offering bump and bust support, or adjustable tops and bottoms. There are also a few ultra-stretchy, non-maternity labels that last throughout pregnancy and postpartum for more sustainable use.

One-pieces provide more coverage with expandable fabric to support your belly, while bikinis include tops with extra reinforcements and high-waist briefs that can be folded below a bump.

Tankinis combine the best of both with the protection of a one-piece and slip-off bottoms for frequent loo trips. To shelter sensitive, pigmentation-prone skin from the sun, there are breezy rash guards and thigh-covering swim dresses.

And if you’ve been feeling the weight lately, take a load off knowing swimming is one of the best exercises throughout pregnancy. “Swimming has so many benefits during pregnancy,” confirms Claire Rutherford, clinical specialist and women’s health physiotherapist at La Femme Physio. “It is low impact so it’s kind to your joints whilst also being a great way of maintaining muscle strength and endurance. Many women find the coolness of the water can help to relieve bloating as well as swollen hands, feet and ankles as it effectively boosts circulation. It can also help to prepare both mum and baby for the physical demands of labour.”

Read more:

We’ve tested some of the best maternity swimwear options available – from high street labels to boutique brands – considering support, style and sun protection.

The best maternity swimwear for 2021 is:

  • Best overall – Mamalicious maternity stripe swimsuit: £30,

  • Best bikini – Envie de Fraise bellile: £38.99,

  • Best monokini – A Pea in the Pod cutout maternity one piece swimsuit: £78.40,

  • Best statement swimsuit – Asos Design maternity gathered swimsuit: £30,

  • Best ethical swimwear – Youswim aplomb high waist two-piece: £105,

  • Best stylish swimsuit – JoJo Maman Bébé black ruffle maternity swimsuit: £29,

  • Best for bust support – Cache Coeur maternity tankini bloom: £46.73,

  • Best for sun protection – Motherhood Maternity long sleeve maternity swim top: £32.89,

  • Best eco-friendly swimsuit – Batoko cockatoo swimsuit: £50,

  • Best for comfort – Seraphine nautical maternity swimsuit with skirt: £45,

  • Best tankini – Cake Maternity coconut maternity tankini: £59.90,

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Mamalicious maternity stripe swimsuit

Best: Overall

This one-piece from trendy Danish brand Mamalicious is an excellent all-rounder: it accommodates new curves, feels supportive and has lots of laid-back style. A pull-tight red tie provides a pop of playful colour against classic black-and-white stripes. This one-piece is easy to slip on and stays in place without any need to fiddle with the fit. It also has swathes of supportive features like adjustable straps crossed and clasped snugly at the back, which can easily be converted into a one-size halterneck. There aren’t cups, but they seem superfluous given the other reinforcements. Along with great bump support, the comfy material covers hips and lower back, and features an airy cut-out detail.

Buy now £30.00,

Envie de Fraise bellile

Best: Bikini

This Parisian maternity label has an extensive collection of swimwear bursting with bright, summery patterns. One of our favourites is the comfortable and chic Bellile bikini. While some maternity briefs are ultra-high rise, these cover a bit of the bump while still retaining the silhouette of a two-piece. Thanks to the double-sided print and flexible band, the bottoms can also be folded beneath the bump – a feature that means this swimsuit can easily be worn post-baby, too. The halterneck top ties both at the back and neck, so it’s a cinch to slip on and adjust for fit. There aren’t any cups or underwire, but the velvety material is thick enough to do the trick.

Buy now £38.99,

A Pea in the Pod cutout maternity one piece swimsuit

Best: Monokini

Who said safe can’t be sexy? This monokini from luxe US maternity brand A Pea in the Pod features UPF 50+ sun protection. It’s like a splash of sunset in two-toned burgundy and orange, the latter of which blushes scarlet when wet. Due to the fitted top, it’s a little tight pulling the one-piece over a bump, but when we shimmied in, it was snug and secure. Ruched sides provide support, while the cutout design detail at the waist balances out a bump. Removable pads and a tie-neck halter top can customise bust size, but the thick material was often bunched. We preferred the cupless flush-against-skin look anyway. This was our favourite option to stay sun safe, while still looking great.

Buy now £78.40,

Asos Design maternity gathered swimsuit in sun bleached orange tie dye

Best: Statement swimsuit

Soft and stretchy, this ribbed tie-dye one-piece from Asos Design’s maternity collection is a statement suit. The front wrap feature nicely balances out a bump, while ruching means ample room to grow throughout pregnancy. The brief cut covers modestly, so you may find this style a bit cheeky. A supportive clasp at the back is a great, but a tricky feature to snap closed solo, though we eventually managed after minutes of Houdini-style fiddling. There’s no padding, but a halter neck tie allows for a personalised fit, while a flexi-panel at the bust side adds extra support. Summery peach-and-orange swirls of colour are seaside trendy, but beware: the light-coloured fabric can be a bit sheer when wet.

Buy now £30.00,

Youswim aplomb high waist two-piece

Best: Ethical swimwear

It sounds like witchcraft, but Youswim’s range is just one size. So while these one- and two-pieces aren’t made for maternity, they magically fit – really well. A seamless crinkle weave stretches over curves and bumps from UK sizes 6-18. They’re ethically made in small batches in England and come in a swoon-worthy collection of colours like garnet, sage and tangerine.

We love the aplomb swimsuits for pregnancy with their thick straps, low scoop back and square bustline. A teeny bikini top transforms to hold A to G cup sizes surprisingly well, too. High-waisted briefs offer great hip and bump coverage, and can even be pulled (rather than folded) below the belly. The thick ribbed fabric is slip-into-underwear soft yet doesn’t sag in water, instead remaining flush against the skin. This wins by leaps and bounds for well-made comfort and flexibility. It’s a timeless piece that can be worn well beyond baby’s due date, helping to reduce consumer consumption.

Buy now £105.00,

JoJo Maman Bébé black ruffle maternity swimsuit

Best: Stylish swimsuit

With flaunty features and adjustability, this swimsuit from stalwart mama and baby brand JoJo Maman Bebe is a twist on the classic black one-piece. Ruffle trim along the chest is a flattering detail to balance out a bulging belly, and to provide additional protection over a tender area. We found this style best suits a low bump – if you’re carrying high, the ruffles can result in a frumpy, shapeless fit.

Detachable straps are a nice touch, but fidgety clasps pop off frequently and reattaching them at the back isn’t an easy feat, especially when swimming solo. However, it’s surprisingly supportive strapless, remaining in place and covering bump and bust well. The material is smooth – so much so that the frills are clingy when wet, but speedily dry. This is a stylish suit, best intended for strapless use.

Buy now £29.00,

Cache Coeur maternity tankini bloom in green

Best: For bust support

French maternity lingerie label Cache Coeur also stocks a surprisingly extensive line of gorgeous swimwear. Their 2021 collection includes bloom, a bump-flattering boho tankini featuring lacey frills and a racy bare back v-cut. But it’s not just about looks: the silky smooth fabric also features UPF50 sun protection. In addition to green (you say tomato, we say teal), the two-piece is available in copper, black, jade and sangria shades.

It comes with thin straps and sturdy metal clasps, but we’re fans of the strapless look. Plus, the thick fully-lined bandeau top provides great bust support, and throwing it on is a breeze with a simple back clip. The ruffled bust is beautiful until wet, when the seam beneath shows through – a minor niggle on an otherwise beachside stunner. Thanks to a flowy top and comfy low waist briefs, this can be worn postpartum, too.

Buy now £46.73,

Motherhood Maternity long sleeve maternity swim top UPF 50+

Best: For sun protection

Covering up never looked so cool with this maternity rash guard. It’s an ideal solution for sensitive skin on a rafting trip or blazing beach days when glugs of SPF won’t suffice. We’re complete converts, and found the long-sleeves provided peace of mind about staying burn-free. The fabric is lightweight and cool even when the celsius isn’t. It’s a bit big, so consider sizing down (we did) – but either way, there’s plenty of room for bump, with fabric left over for a bit of bum coverage, too. The sides are ruched with ties to tailor the belly support needed. However, without built-in chest support, it’s much more akin to a shirt, so a bikini top beneath is a must – plus, the white stripes are see-through when wet. High-waisted black briefs are sold separately if needed.

Buy now £32.89,

Batoko cockatoo swimsuit

Best: Eco-friendly swimsuit

Want to keep seaside escapades eco? This is the planet-friendly answer – one-pieces made entirely of recycled plastic. Batoko’s paper tag even declares: “This swimsuit is rubbish. Literally.” The do-gooders at this independent English swimwear label transform waste into a work of art: a dozen splashy patterns include Puffin, Cockatoo and Wild Cat. While not a maternity suit, the material is satisfyingly stretchy into the third trimester, with plenty of room to grow. The sporty cut stays put due to its scoop back, thick straps, high neckline and “no-wedge” bottoms. It’s easy to slip on, plus the polyester material is well-made and soft enough to wear all day. The aesthetic is pared back, so there aren’t any cups or wiring, but the thick material holds things down. Even the print remains vibrant when wet or post-wash. This is a fun, conscious suit that will last to bump and beyond.

Buy now £50.00,

Seraphine nautical maternity swimsuit with skirt

Best: For comfort

Indecisive? This one-piece combines three styles: go long-skirted for extra cover, secure it at the side for a textured effect across the front, or lift and tie at the waist for a crinkled band feature. We thought the long material might look frumpy over a bump, but this classic one-piece won us over – a keeper for flexibility, comfort and sun protection. The skirt falls to the upper thigh, so offers great coverage and plenty of fabric to tie over a bump. Crisp white trim accentuates the waist and straps feel secure, while padded cups add extra support. It looks best tied up while going for a dip, as the wet skirt hugs the skin, but the suit’s quick-dry fabric works in a flash. Even in water, it doesn’t feel heavy, instead remaining extremely comfortable and protective.

Buy now £45.00,

Cake Maternity coconut maternity tankini

Best: Tankini

Aussie brand Cake Maternity was born out of the founder’s struggle to find stylish pregnancy and nursing wear. Now you can have your Cake and eat it, too: there’s a whole crop of flattering and supportive swimsuits in their Rosewater collection. They feature UPF50+ protection and chlorine resistant fabrics, which is a bonus if you’re planning regular laps at the pool.

Their khaki-coloured coconut tankini is a new addition: the classic tie-top halter and low-rise briefs come in a soft, stretchy and durable fabric that’s comfortable enough to wear all day. Bust support is on point with flexi-wire side boning, removable cups and ruching to accommodate breast fluctuations, fitting B-DD sizes. Handy drawstrings on each side of the belly can also be loosened as a bump grows. With bags of pregnancy-friendly support, this is a summer staple.

Buy now £59.90,

The verdict: Maternity swimwear

The Mamalicious stripey one-piece gets our vote due to its classic design, super-supportive features and affordability – this is a stellar all-rounder. If it weren’t for the steeper price tag, the collection from English brand Youswim would have taken the lead thanks to inclusive sizing, dreamily soft fabric and a sustainable one-size-fits-all material that can be worn throughout pregnancy and well beyond when baby arrives.

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For the latest discounts and offers on swimwear and other fashion buys, try the links below:

For more maternity favourites, read our roundup of the best maternity gym-wear pieces that support your bump