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Concealed Carry While Pregnant: Tips and Tricks

Concealed Carry While Pregnant: Tips and Tricks

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes. Your body, mindset, and priorities quickly shift as you prepare for motherhood, and for women who carry, there are even more factors to consider.

For many women, the mama bear instincts kick in wayyy before their due date, motivating them to either start carrying or do so more often. After all, you’re no longer only responsible for your own safety (which is reason enough to conceal carry) but for that of your baby, too.

Concealed carry while pregnant comes with its own set of risks and challenges. Everything from the holster you carry, the clothes you wear, and the way you train is different and will continue to change as your pregnancy progresses. But with the right gear and mindset, carrying while pregnant is possible and can help you feel confident and in control of your personal safety.

In this article, we’ll walk you through all the ins and outs of packing while pregnant, so you know exactly what to expect (in addition to your little one, of course!).

Choosing a Maternity Gun Holster and Carry Position

The holster and carry position you choose while pregnant can make a huge difference in how comfortable and concealed your pistol will be. While the holster you carried before might still work for you now (at least for a while) there’s a good chance you’ll need to find one better suited for this stage of life. You may even find yourself needing a few different carry styles as your pregnancy progresses.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any holsters made specifically for pregnant concealed carry, but there are a few types that most women find work best in their condition, as well as some that just… don’t. Let’s talk about it!

Waistband Carry

When you first become pregnant, odds are you can stick with your tried and true waistband holster. But as you grow out of your regular jeans and transition into maternity pants – usually around the second trimester – you’ll no longer have belt loops to work with. And even if you switch to a clip that doesn’t require a belt, it may become uncomfortable to wedge a gun into your pant waistband as your bump grows.

But even during your first trimester, it’s reasonable to say that you might need to invest in a more comfortable holster while you’re still able to waistband carry. While the all-Kydex IWB holster you normally use might have been comfortable before, you may now find it digging into places that it didn’t before. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up waistband carry – yet.

If you’re carrying IWB, try switching to a hybrid holster with a soft leather backing. Not only do these holsters provide a comfortable back that molds to the curves of your body, but they also help to distribute the weight of your gun to make it easier to carry for long periods. The Vedder Holsters RapidTuck® and ComfortTuck® are both designed with wide horsehide or cowhide leather backings for optimal comfort, while the ProTuck™ is a great option if you’re looking for mostly Kydex with two points of contact and a nice curved shape.

If you just can’t make IWB carry work, which is completely understandable, you may want to give OWB carry a try for a while. Since these holsters are carried outside of your pant waistband, they relieve the pressure you may feel when carrying inside the waistband. You’ll need to adjust your clothing choices to conceal an OWB holster, but odds are you’re already revamping your wardrobe, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The Vedder Holsters LightDraw® has adjustable retention and is one of the most secure OWB holsters available, and might be the best choice if you already have other little ones to consider. The ProDraw® paddle holster is another great option, as it allows you to put the holster on and take it off without threading through your belt. Finally, if you want the comfort of a hybrid in an OWB style, the ultra-comfy Quick Draw is probably your best bet.

Belly Band

Although belly bands are generally comfortable and don’t require belt loops, there are some obvious logistical issues when you’re carrying a baby. While you could probably use one early on in your pregnancy, there is the risk of the belly band putting too much pressure on your abdomen, which could be uncomfortable at best and harmful to your baby at worst.

Besides, good luck finding a belly band that’s large enough to stretch around your growing belly as you approach your due date. And even if you do manage to squeeze into one, you’ll quickly find it’s much harder to conceal a pistol-shaped lump over your baby bump. As much as we love this style of carry, it’s just not the most practical choice during this stage of life!

Ankle Holster

If waistband holsters and belly bands are off the table during the second and third trimesters, what about an ankle holster? This should be easy to conceal and won’t be affected by your belly, right?

Well, sort of. While yes, ankle carry is technically possible throughout all stages of pregnancy, there are a few factors to consider. The first is that as your belly grows, it becomes harder and harder to bend over and kneel down, which could make it difficult or impossible to access your weapon quickly. Doing so could also put you off balance or even cause you to fall, which could be dangerous for you and your baby. Plus, if you’re dealing with swollen feet and ankles, this might be downright uncomfortable and put you at further risk of blood clots.

So, yes – you can ankle carry during pregnancy, at least up to a certain point. If you do plan to use this style of holster, make sure you choose one that isn’t too tight, and consider carrying a lighter pistol to keep things more comfortable.

Thigh Holster

Although more accessible than an ankle holster, thigh holsters still pose a few concerns for pregnant women. While convenient, especially if you wear a lot of dresses and skirts, thigh holsters tend to slip down your leg if they’re not A, tight enough to stay put, or B, supported by a band around your waist.

The first style can pose a problem since a tight band around your leg can restrict blood flow and increase your risk of blood clots. The second style is out of the question for most of your pregnancy, as the band that wraps around your waist is almost guaranteed not to fit. Not to be a downer, but there are better pregnant carry options!

Pocket Holster

Depending on your maternity wardrobe, a pocket holster could be an excellent option during your pregnancy. As these holsters are carried in a pant or coat pocket, they are both comfortable and accessible no matter what size you are.

The main issue with this style of holster comes down to whether or not your clothing will accommodate one. Most women’s pant pockets aren’t big enough to carry a wallet let alone a pistol, and maternity pants are no exception. That being said, if you happen to have pants with large pockets, like maternity cargo pants (yes, that is a thing!), these holsters work great. If you live in a colder climate, pocket carry in your coat or jacket is also a possibility. All in all, holsters like the Vedder Pocket Locker® are a great option for on-body carry without having to carry around your waistline.

Bra Holster

Ah, the bra holster. These holsters, which are positioned under your breasts for optimal concealment, can be a comfortable option for many pregnant women – although they’re not without flaws. On the bright side, thanks to your cup size increasing during pregnancy, you’ll likely have no issue concealing a pistol using this method. On the other hand, this holster just might position your gun so that it jabs your belly every time you sit down or bend over. There’s also the issue of accessing your weapon, which could be pretty hard later in your pregnancy as you’ll have to lift your entire shirt to reach your firearm.

At the end of the day, this one just depends on your size, comfort level, and the gun you carry. A smaller handgun during your first and second trimesters might work great, while you may need to switch to a new method in the third trimester.

Shoulder Holster

Similar to a bra holster, shoulder holsters allow you to on-body carry higher on your torso so your belly and waistline aren’t affected. Obviously, any shoulder holster styles that have to be attached to a belt are probably not going to work, but there are plenty of options that position your firearm under your armpit so that it is secure, comfortable, and easily hidden.

Because shoulder holsters require you to layer your clothing, with one shirt to act as a barrier between your pistol and skin and the other to do the concealing, this may not be a feasible option in hotter climates. Pregnancy can already cause you to feel overheated, so this will just come down to whether or not dressing for this holster will work for you!

Off-body Carry

Off-body carry is always an option when pregnant. Although there are risks associated with carrying a gun in a purse or backpack, it’s better than not carrying at all and is an option that you can use throughout your entire pregnancy.

Pregnant woman carrying off-body carry on her purse

Keep in mind that this method of carry will be far slower to draw from, puts you at risk of losing your firearm or having it stolen, and makes it easier for unauthorized users to access it. However, carrying a dedicated concealed carry purse with a proper holster can make this method of carry safer and more effective. With the right gear and training, this can be a viable option during pregnancy as it’s comfortable, can be worn with any outfit, and won’t need to be adjusted in a few months as your body continues to change.

For more information about the risks and benefits of off-body carry, and tips for how to do so as safely as possible, check out our article Off Body Carry: Pros and Cons here.

Concealed Carry Clothing

Finally, perhaps one of the best solutions for concealed carry while pregnant is to invest in a few pieces of clothing designed for hiding a gun. There are vests, shorts, leggings, jackets, and even tank tops that are designed with a built-in holster or a dedicated space for one.

You may have to do some digging, as many of these items are either designed for men and none of them are designed for pregnancy, but there are so many on the market now that you’re bound to find something that will work – even if that means ordering a size or two up.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing concealed carry garments is safety. Many of these items, especially those designed for women, are not designed with a proper trigger guard or retention, which could put you at risk of an unintentional discharge. Look for clothing that does have these features, or find garments that simply have a dedicated space for your gun and a secure holster of your choice. Outfitters like 5.11 Tactical, Legendary Whitetails, and Arrowhead Tactical are all great places to start!

Tips for Carrying While Pregnant

There’s more to concealed carry for pregnant women than simply finding a holster and carry position that works for you. Here are a few tips to set you up for success.

Plan to Adjust as You Grow

We’ve already touched on this, but your methods for concealed carry while pregnant are going to change as often as your body. What may work for your first trimester is almost certainly going to change during your second trimester and again in your third, and you may need to adjust your holster, carry position, and style every few months.

The exact changes you’ll need to make depend on your body, lifestyle, and carry system of choice. But whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to try to plan ahead as much as possible so that you’re not left scrambling for a solution when the time comes to switch things up. Don’t be afraid to try different things, and do what is comfortable, safe, and effective for you!

Continue Training Through the Change

We always say you should practice drawing your weapon from under every new outfit you wear. As your pregnancy continues to progress, your body, clothing, and carry style will be changing more often than usual, meaning you’ll need to prioritize training as often as you can.

One specific factor to consider as you train is where your gun is pointing when you draw. The draw that feels natural to you, and what may have worked up until this point, may now cause the barrel of your pistol to point right at your baby bump. The last thing you want to do is flag yourself in a defensive encounter, as an unintentional discharge could be even more devastating in this condition.

Pregnant woman outdoors training shooting

Because shooting while pregnant does have some risks (we’ll get into more detail about that later on), we highly recommend practicing dry fire training regularly until you feel comfortable drawing from these new carry positions. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Dry Fire Training at Home to get you started!

Consider Switching to a Smaller Gun

Growing a human can be uncomfortable, to say the least, and many pregnant women are hesitant to carry around more weight than they have to. If you’re struggling to find a comfortable way to carry your everyday CCW, or you’re finding it harder to conceal than usual, it may be time to consider switching to a smaller, lighter handgun for the duration of your pregnancy – or at least removing accessories that add bulk like optics, lights, and extended magazines.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to resort to carrying a .22 caliber or a tiny pocket pistol (unless you want to, of course). There are plenty of compact and micro-compact firearms that are chambered in .380 or 9mm that still boast a respectable capacity without the extra weight. Some of the best handguns for women of all time are relatively small and maneuverable, and all are more than capable of getting the job done.

Is Carrying a Gun While Pregnant Safe?

There are so many things that women are supposed to avoid while pregnant for the sake of their own health and for that of their unborn baby’s. So naturally, it begs the question of whether shooting and concealed carry for pregnant women is even safe.

Although there is no specific research pointing to shooting while pregnant being unsafe for either mother or baby (largely thanks to an unfortunate lack of research on the subject), there are a few concerns to keep in mind that prompt many women to either avoid handling firearms during pregnancy altogether or take a few extra precautions.

There are four primary issues that usually come up when we talk about shooting while pregnant: lead exposure, chemicals, noise, and stress. Each of these are valid concerns that can cause harm to your baby in large amounts. That being said, there are certain precautions you can take to reduce your exposure to these hazards, like using lead-free ammo, going to an outdoor range (or dry firing), wearing a mask, and letting someone else handle cleaning your firearm. You can also try training with a lower caliber or using a silencer to help cut down on noise.

Pregnant woman carrying OWB comfortably with her hand placed ready to draw her handgun

For a more comprehensive overview of the risks associated with shooting while pregnant and the precautions you should take, you can check out our article “Can I Go Shooting While Pregnant? How to Train Safely When Expecting.”

When it comes to actually carrying a gun while pregnant, the main issue has to do with the pressure your holster might cause on your body. Because pregnancy already puts you at risk of things like blood clots, the last thing you want to do is reduce circulation to any part of your body. This is an easy fix, however, by wearing a pant size up, using an alternative method of carry, and avoiding problematic positions like small of back, which puts you at risk of spinal injury even when you’re not carrying a baby!

At the end of the day, only you can decide whether concealed carry and shooting while pregnant is something you’re comfortable with. It is a good idea to discuss the idea with your doctor first, especially if you have any special circumstances or concerns that could make a difference.


There’s no doubt about it – concealed carry while pregnant has its share of challenges and considerations. But by being proactive in your planning and choosing a few carry methods that will work for you during the different stages of your pregnancy, you can still feel confident and in control of your personal safety.

If you’re looking for a new IWB, OWB, or pocket carry holster, visit our Holsters by Gun Model page for Kydex holsters that are custom-made for your weapon of choice. Interested in items beyond holsters? Check out our Resources Page for links to recommended products like lights, lasers, first aid, maintenance, and more, and browse our selection of apparel, and accessories at our website,

If you’d like to connect with other like-minded women in the gun community, join our Facebook Group, Women of Vedder, for all things concealed carry and self-defense, or visit us on Instagram for more content and tips.

To stay up-to-date on all the latest Vedder Holsters content and offerings, check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, or download our FREE E-book The Concealed Carry Blueprint for all the tools, tips, and tactics you’ll ever need for successful concealed carry. And be sure to visit our sister company, GeoGrit, for all your American-made minimalist wallet needs.

*This page contains affiliate links. When you purchase a product included on this list, we receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Mikayla Blair

After launching her career as an award-winning journalist in the American Southwest, Mikayla Blair joined the Vedder Holsters team as a content writer in 2021. She writes about all things guns, holsters, and concealed carry, and is especially passionate about women's self-defense.

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