Period pants are all the rage right now, and for good reason. On top of being the perfect sustainable alternative to disposable menstrual products, reusable period pants can be used for postpartum bleeding and periods thereafter.
From pads to disposable maternity knickers, there’s plenty on offer to help you get through the first weeks following the birth of your baby. Better leak protection is something we’re all after, and period underwear is built to be leak-proof.
Here at Mother&Baby, we're here to help. That's why in this guide to period pants, we've covered everything from leak-proof technology, to where you can buy them and recommendations from our shopping experts.
What are period pants?
Reusable period pants can vary everywhere you look, but the general idea is that they can replace pads or tampons. Depending on the heaviness of your flow, period pads can guarantee you leak-proof comfort without a pad or tampon. Or, they can act as an extra layer of protection if you're wearing a tampon and braving some white trousers.
Why choose period pants?
They're a great alternative to pads and tampons, and pioneers of eco-friendly period products. Being kinder to our planet is a major plus, but for expecting and busy mums period pants are saviours.
After giving birth, you should wait at least six weeks before using a tampon, as you could be at risk of infection. Maternity pads are always suggested for postpartum bleeding, but now there's another solution that's more comfortable and more discreet.
This is where period pants come in, made from odour-eliminating and crazy absorbent fabrics, they're comfortable, leak-proof and environmentally friendly. How could you say no?
Where can I buy period pants in the UK?
Following the success of period underwear pioneers, like Modibodi, Flux and Thinx, you can now find period pants in your local supermarket. It’s now as easy as throwing a set of Bodyform period underwear in your basket during your weekly shop.
Will I still leak when wearing period pants?
This depends on how heavy your cycle is and what day you're on, but if you opt for maximum protection and the highest absorbency you'll be sure to have no leaks for up to eight hours. If it's your first time using them, try them out at home or carry around a spare pad just in case.
How do I care for period pants?
All period pants may have different care instructions, so it's always best to check with each brand. However, Modibodi advises these step by step tips on caring for your period pants:
Wash your Modibodi before wearing them for the first time. This will activate the technology in the gusset for maximum absorbency.
Rinse in cold water after use <30°. Do not soak, just rinse until the water runs clear.
Cold wash (now or later). In a delicates bag is even better.
Hang dry. Reuse. Repeat.
Hold the fabric softener. This reduces the product’s function.
The best period pants
To help you navigate the web and find the perfect pair for you, we’ve shortlisted our favourite pairs available in the UK. We've found brands on the high street and online, so you can spend more precious time with your little one.
CONFIDENCE High Absorbency Bikini Period Knickers
These high-absorbency Confidence bikini knickers mean you won't have to worry about leaks. The three-layer gusset draws moisture away from the body, with an absorbent, anti-odour middle layer and a protective outer layer for everyday comfort.
We love: That you can pick these up on your next shopping trip to the high street.
- Everyday protection for light flow and leaks
- Three-layer design to keep you dry and comfortable
- No-show design looks and feels like normal knickers, while reducing sanitary waste
- Some reviewers would not recommend using these as a substitute for tampons or pads on heavier days.
Intimawear By Bodyform Bikini Black
Period pants that let your body flow. This pair from Bodyform are super comfy and easy to wear, with an elastic waistband and a cut that partially covers the hips - they're ready for whatever you have planned, or whatever you want to wear.
We love: That you can pick this up during your weekly food shop.
- Offers the same absorbency as your regular Bodyform ultra towel – keeping everything locked for up to eight hours
- Fits nicely, feels soft and as comfortable as your normal underwear
- Can be worn by themselves or (if you experience a very heavy flow) in combination with a tampon, a cup, or a thin towel as an additional backup layer
- Last for at least 50 washes
- Currently only available in two styles
- Available in a smaller size range (S, M, L, XL)
Dorina Moon Organic Cotton Blend Night Midi Period Briefs – 2 Pack
This duo of briefs, perfect for night or day wear, each absorb up to 30ml or equivalent to 3 tampons. The multi-layered fabric with anti-odour inner layer, moisture-wicking middle layer, and water-resistant outer layer, work brilliantly to minimise leaks and work perfectly as a postpartum option.
- Highly absorbent – holds up to 30ml
- Built-in anti-bacterial technology
- Three-layer protection for no leaks
- Reviewers suggest to size up for a comfortable fit (one or two sizes up)
INNERSY Women’s Period Underwear - Pack of 3
These menstrual pants available on Amazon, feature three layers of leak-proof design - perfect for extra protection on heavy-flow days or postpartum bleeding. These period pants are advertised as an extra layer of protection, for use with a tampon, pad, or cup, especially on heavy days.
- An affordable option for a pack of three
- Wide rear coverage and extended protective lining in the front
- Stretchy and soft waistband for ultimate comfort
- These period pants are marketed as extended protection for use with pads, cups or tampons - not recommended as a complete replacement
- May need to size up as some reviewers said they come up small
Modibodi Recycled Seamfree Full Brief
Feel smooth, snug, and perfectly protected in Modibodi’s best-selling seam-free and leak-proof underwear. Designed to bleed straight into, these heavy-overnight absorbency briefs will guarantee you a leak-free night.
We love: Modibodi proves period pants don’t have to be boring! With infinite styles to choose from and bright and neutral colours galore, you’ll find the perfect pair for you no matter your style.
- Available in multiple styles – briefs, boy shorts, detachable bikini, the list goes on…
- Period and pee friendly! Can hold up to 20ml or up to four tampons worth
- Only 3mm thick, so you get the protection and comfort without the bulkiness
- Six absorbency levels to choose from - depending on the heaviness of your flow and the protection you are after
- We can’t find any!
One of our shopping experts, Angelica, tested and reviewed the Modibodi classic bikini pants and said:
“This product brought me peace of mind even on the heaviest days of my period. I had always been super cautious, with my heavy flow, to wear a small pad with a tampon just for extra protection. They always moved and just weren’t comfortable. This underwear offered me that protection on my heavy days and the ultimate protection on my lighter days. What’s even better is that they felt just like normal underwear."
"I would be too scared to go pad/tampon free and rely on these completely, but for the extra protection, these are great! Ultimately these pants offer you peace of mind, so you can focus your energy on important things and not worry constantly about whether you’re leaking.”
Chantelle Life Graphic Lace Period Proof High Waist Knickers, Black
These high waisted knickers by Chantelle are stylish, supportive and soft. Like wearing regular knickers, you'll almost forget that you're on your period!
- Can hold up four tampons worth of absorbency
- Seamless bonding around the legs for discreetness
- 3 hypoallergenic layers for no odour and no leaks
- Reviewers suggest to size down for a secure fit
Thinx Super Hiphugger
With thousands of five-star reviews, Thinx period pants are some of the most raved about in the world of menstrual underwear. Now with double the absorbency of their classic collection, this best-selling pair from Thinx lasts for up to two years.
We love: The versatility in sizing, ranging from XXS to 3XL!
- Look and feel just like normal underwear
- Super absorbency – holds up to 5 regular tampons worth
- Lasts up to two years or 40 washes
- The most expensive single pair in our round-up
Sensual Hi-Waist Brief Ultra Incontinence
Made from 95% bamboo and designed to support full incontinence, the Ultra range from Modibodi uses a unique patent-pending floating gusset allows for greater air flow, ensuring a quicker dry time.
- Holds Up To 250 ml – the highest level of absorbency in the Modibodi range
- Perfect for those suffering from incontinence, the absorbent gusset fights odour, stains and bacteria
- Lace design is flattering, discreet and feels just like regular underwear
- Slightly bulky with added large pad insert
HeyGirls Essential Bikini Style Period Pant
Made from bamboo and a high tech outer-layer to keep you dry day or night. HeyGirls pants are good for the planet and good for you too, with no nasty chemicals or hidden plastics. You can wear, wash and wear again – they are 100 per cent reusable.
We love: That since launching Hey Girls in 2018, they have donated over 14.9 MILLION period products to communities across the UK! For every pair you buy, HeyGirls will donate a pair to women in need.
- Holds Up To 25 ml – 4-5 tampons or 5 teaspoons
- Wee and period proof for periods and leaks
- Added stretch for ultimate comfort
- Slightly bulkier, but still super comfortable
"I used the super soft cherry pants overnight and don't think I could go back now. I'd always been super scared to use a tampon overnight, because I feared if I overslept or forgot about it, I would be at risk of toxic shock syndrome. I relied on pads but hated using them, especially overnight as I tossed and turned.
My first night in these was amazing, I was super comfortable and no leaks! I was surprised myself, but these can hold a lot, I promise. They were slightly bulky, but for overnight these are ideal. I would feel comfortable wearing these for up to 8 hours and not worry about a leak at all.”
Should I still wear a pad, tampon or cup with period underwear?
There's no right or wrong answer for this, it depends entirely on your body as well as the underwear. Make sure you check the absorbency level before you buy. If you think they're right for you, why not try them out?