Last week, we ran an article sharing tips for working out during pregnancy, and it got us thinking: shopping for maternity activewear can be seriously daunting. We’re juggling body changes, near-constant discomfort and wild hormone changes.

Thankfully, Nikki Clarke – co-founder of New Zealand based pregnancy and postpartum activewear label, Cadenshae – is here to help.

“Mums want to be comfortable, they want to be able to breastfeed easily and they want to look good and feel good,” says Nikki. “We’ve made things that cover all of the different activities mums would be doing, but our gear can be worn well after baby has arrived, too. We have women who continue to wear our gear for years after baby is born, to CrossFit, marathons… you name it!”

We asked Nikki our burning questions about shopping for maternity activewear. Here’s what she had to say…

What are the essential pieces we should be investing in?
Women definitely need comfortable and supportive nursing sports bras to accommodate the fluctuations of cup size during pregnancy and postpartum. We recommend having three: one to wear, one in the wash and one spare! Comfortable leggings that are squat proof and don’t fall down are also essential, and they will provide support for the bump. But above all, look for activewear that makes you feel good, and is stylish and flattering.

Do different kinds of exercise require different kinds of activewear?
Absolutely, especially when it comes to the intensity of the exercise – yoga compared to running or CrossFit, for example. You will need different levels of support for each exercise, especially when it comes to maternity sports bras. We have a range of nursing sports bras to cater to all levels of exercise, whether it is low, moderate or high intensity. We want to provide the best support possible for all mamas and mamas-to-be to continue their fitness journey. 

Are there any pieces that are more versatile than others?
Our leggings and shorts are perfect to wear at any stage, whether it’s pre-pregnancy, pregnant or postpartum – we have mamas who are years postpartum still wearing these. 

How can we accommodate for body changes when shopping for maternity activewear?
When it comes to sizing, consider growth in the hip area when buying leggings or shorts – our hips naturally widen during pregnancy, so sizing up in this area is something to consider. You also, obviously, need to accommodate for your growing bump, and should make sure your leggings are squat proof. With maternity sport bras, comfort and flexibility is key. Bras without underwires are generally the most comfortable, and you’ll need to make sure it allows for fluctuations – especially when breastfeeding! 

Which materials are preferable for working out while pregnant?
Look for materials that are light, breathable and definitely stretchy! We already run at a high temp during pregnancy, so anything that will keep us mamas cool is essential. Bamboo, for example, is perfect for this. It’s breathable, moisture-wicking, thermo-regulating, luxurious to touch, hypoallergenic and UV protective.

What should we look for in terms of support?
You want a maternity sports bra that will offer good coverage as well as firm support, so look at the bands and whether it is racer-back or not, and whether the cups are moulded – they’ll offer greater support. For leggings, you want a firm fit to help support your bump and help with hip and back pain.

From the extra length to accommodate your growing bump, to the subtle zips and large armholes for easy access while breastfeeding, Cadenshae pieces are designed by mums, for mums. Clever design features like underwire-free sports bras (to help prevent mastitis) and high waistbands (to help support your growing bump and promote postpartum healing) set Cadenshae maternity activewear apart from the rest. Plus, they offer free returns and exchanges on all of their products – because even they know that, when it comes to pregnancy, things can change really, really quickly.


WIN // haven has teamed up with Cadenshae to give one lucky reader the chance to win a $60 voucher. Entries close Thursday October 31 at midnight (AEST), and only the winner will be notified. Good luck!

This competition has now closed.



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.