It's not something people tend to talk about that much, but it's a fact that after having a baby, women can bleed for any from around 2 to 6 weeks or longer, sometimes quite heavily at first. Maternity pads and cheap big pants are one option – you almost certainly won't want to wear your favourite knickers for some time after giving birth!
But another thing worth considering is disposable maternity underwear. Expert midwife Alissa Pemberton says disposable maternity briefs, "are ideal for mums in the first week postpartum. Most mums will bleed heavily for the first few weeks post birth, with bleeding slowly tapering off until around 6 weeks postpartum. In the first week, you will go through pads frequently (even the huge maternity ones) so disposable maternity briefs are a really great option. They're simpler, and less messy!"
We took to our Top Tester's Club to ask parents what they thought about disposable maternity briefs. There was some mixed responses – there are, of course, environmental concerns with anything that is disposable – but many of the parents we spoke to raved about disposable pants for the first few days, especially if you're stuck in hospital and don't want to pile up a load of messy washing to take home.
When you're at home, you may find you're bleeding so heavily that sanitary pad leaks comes thick and fast. Whatever the reason, there's a real case for buying a few pairs of knickers that are designed to be worn once and then thrown away, for that short time post-birth when you need ease, convenience and protection.
Best disposable maternity briefs at a glance:
- Best for a discreet look: Always Discreet Boutique Incontinence Pants, £6.99
- Best for comfort: Frida Mom Boyshort Disposable Postpartum Underwear, £14.99
- Best for an under-bump fit: Jojo Maman Bebe 7-Pack Disposable Maternity Knickers, £7
- Best for c-sections: Tena Lady Silhouette Plus Black High Waist Incontinence Pants, £7
- Best budget buy: Tesco Large Maternity Brief 5 Pack, £1.95
What to look for when buying disposable maternity briefs
Absorbency – Midwife Alissa says, "Look carefully at what you're buying. Some disposable underwear have absorbency in them (like incontinence pants) whilst others are just a disposable mesh underwear which you'd need to put a maternity pad into.:
Size – Generally speaking, disposable briefs are very stretchy, breathable and offer a lot of give. They often come in a generous shorts-style fit. However, it's best to buy as close to your usual size as you can for maximum comfort. The briefs in our list start from a UK size 10 and go up to a 28.
Comfort and fit – Depending on your preference you can purchase high waisted or low rise disposable briefs, and it all comes down to what makes you feel most comfortable and secure. Midwife Alissa says, "Some brands also make specific high waist designs which will be the most comfy option for most mums post birth, particularly if you've had a caesarian."
Here are the best disposable maternity briefs for 2023
1. Always Discreet Boutique Incontinence Pants, £6.99
– Best for a discreet look
Size: M 10-16, L 16-22, XL 22-28 | Absorbent: Yes | Fit: Low rise | Colour: Black
Though these pants aren't made particularly for pregnancy and postpartum (they're actually designed for incontinence), these were such a popular choice with the parents we spoke to that we had to feature them. For a product you'll only use once then throw away, we think these are a great option that looks a bit more "glamorous" and discreet than traditional disposable pants. There's also a good size range available, with the XL fitting up to a size 28.
They offer you the look and feel of real pants, and are made with soft and silky material with an absorbent core. Parent tester Est said they are "So comfy and I had no leakages. I was gutted to go back to using knickers and pads."
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You can choose to add maternity pads to these for maximum protection, too. Parent tester Katie did this and commented, "for my first baby I used the usual pads. For my second I used Always Discreet and they were so much more comfortable. My midwife suggested I use a normal pad inside to mean they lasted a little longer and it was a fantastic idea. They didn't bend, move or bunch up like I found with pads and normal black underwear or the postpartum netted things! I found the disposable underwear to be softer, prevent the pad from moving so much and thus more comfortable than just a bad alone. They were super absorbent, the fact they were black also made a difference to how I felt (less nappy like!). Trying both, I'd definitely recommend the pants!"
Pros: Good size range, looks a bit more glamorous, no leaks reported
Cons: May need to use a pad as well, expensive if you use a lot
2. Frida Mom Boyshort Disposable Postpartum Underwear, £14.99
– Best for comfort
Size: Petite 23 inches, Regular 28–42 inches | Absorbent: No, requires maternity pad | Fit: High waist, boy short | Colour: Natural grey
These boyshort briefs are made from a comfy mesh material and are soft, super stretchy, breathable and have a lot of give to adjust to your body. This is one of the few brands to offer a petite size, while the regular size will fit up to a 42 inch waist.
They're designed to be worn with pads during your postpartum recovery, and are essentially a more substantial version of the mesh pants you may be given in hospital. Parent tester Jade said she had 3 packs for the first few days.
The shorts style is a great way to offer you support without feeling like your pad will shift around too much. Parent tester Kayleigh praised, "They were incredibly comfy, actually! Frida’s boy shorts look and feel like normal pants, they’re very stretchy (unlike so many disposable briefs which can feel quite tight and restrictive), and they relieved such a weight from my shoulders! There was even room inside them for a maternity pad or two when I was bleeding very heavily. Honestly a godsend, I recommend them to any and all!"
Pros: Wide size range including petite, comfortable and adaptable
Cons: Expensive, need to be used with a pad
3. Jojo Maman Bebe 7-Pack Disposable Maternity Knickers, £7
– Best for an under-bump fit
Size: M 10-12, L 14-16 | Absorbent: Yes | Colour: Multi
Small but perfectly-formed, these disposable maternity knickers have a slightly skimpier fit that some of the other ones on the list, and fit under the bump. They are made with comfortable, hygienic material and come in a pack of 7. Parent tester Leanne said, "they were so comfortable and absorbent. They also came in different colours so didn't look as clinical as some others I've seen. Their sizing is not generous so I would recommend sizing up."
Sizing is worth noting with these, as numerous reports say they come up a bit small. Medium is a UK 10-12 and large is UK size 14-16, so the range is not as wide as some others on the list either. However, if they do come in your size they're definitely worth considering, as parent tester Harriet commented, "They fit really well and were great because I didn’t need to worry about leaking and ruining my own knickers. It was just one less thing to have to think about!"
Pros: Prettier than some others, skimpier fit for those that prefer
Cons: Very small size range, need to use a pad with them
Available from: Jojo Maman Bebe
4. Tena Lady Silhouette Plus Black High Waist Incontinence Pants Large, £7
– Best for c-sections
Size: M UK 10-16 , L 16-22 | Absorbent: Yes | Fit: Mid-rise | Colour: Black
Another item designed for incontinence that does double duty postbirth, these Tena knickers have varied absorbency levels ranging between 'normal' and 'plus', and can also be used with an additional maternity pad if needed. The colour and fit were a favourite with many of the parents we spoke to.
With a high waisted design, these are a popular choice for women who've had a c-section. Parent tester Louise said, "there was no pressure against my incision and they were incredibly comfortable. Definitely recommend them to other ladies who have had a C-section or a natural delivery."
Parent tester Ebonyjade also commented, "I loved how discreet they are, they're also very comfortable and absorbent. I had an emergency c section in the end, and had a pico 7 machine on it, and it didn’t make me uncomfortable at all." She went on to have further surgery on her stomach, but said "the pants were still as affective and comfortable" afterwards.
Pros: High waist good for c-sections, slim fit
Cons: Can get expensive, may need a pad too
5. Tesco Large Maternity Brief 5 Pack, £1.95
– Best budget buy
Size: M 10-16, L 16-22 | Absorbent: Yes | Fit: Low-rise, High waist | Colour: Black
At under £2 for a pack of 5, these Tesco maternity briefs are the most affordable option on our list and a great choice if you just want something as a back-up in your hospital bag or handbag. Parent tester Neri was sold on the price, saying, "They were the cheapest on the market. I really liked them because they were the right length and absorbed well." You can use a maternity pad with these briefs for extra security and support – Tesco also sells these for £2.10 for 24.
Although they're cheap, our parent testers felt they did the job, and may of them ended up buying multiple packs to see them through the postpartum period. Parent tester Frances, "I found them to be comfortable and useful for the first weeks or two after giving birth."
Pros: Very affordable, matching pads available, wide size range
Cons: Need to use with pads, only 5 in a pack
Available from: Tesco
How did we choose our 10 of the Best?
When choosing these products we considered fit, comfort, size availability, value for money, and absorbency. All the products on the list were tested by mums to get first-hand feedback on how they perform in a real setting.
Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.
Janet is a Digital Journalist for MadeForMums. Over the years, she has developed a keen eye and passion for creating online media content. She writes and creates visual content sharing her journey of motherhood, fashion and beauty looks and encouragement for new mums via her Instagram page. During her time as a Content Creator/ Influencer she has worked on several brand partnerships with Garnier, Superdrug, Next, iCandy and more. She is a wife and mother to a boy and girl both under 4.
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