A summer pregnancy has its pros and cons. And having been well into both my pregnancies during the hottest time of year, I feel somewhat knowledgeable on the subject. In fact, there's one maternity clothing item I simply could not have lived without during that time. But let's back up for a moment, shall we?

During the heat of summer, I prefer to wear the least amount of clothes possible without starting a scandal, and I felt this particularly hard while I was pregnant. Even carrying a bag on my shoulder sometimes felt like too much. So, I opted for breezy maternity dresses whenever I could. Sure, it often looked like I was wearing a tent, but that's okay.

But because summer is what it is, and rubbing chafed thighs together are as uncomfortable as one might think (this was long before my favorite anti-chafing stick was available, unfortunately), I desperately looked for a solution so I could continue wearing dresses comfortably.

Enter maternity compression shorts .

This maternity shapewear item was an essential part of my pregnancy wardrobe, and here's why.

As soon as I tried on a pair of maternity compression shorts (the pair I had were from A Pea in the Pod, but there are many brands that offer them—we offer bump support leggings in the Motherly Shop), I felt instantly better wearing a dress or skirt.

No more thigh chafing or panty lines, and "down there" sweat was kept in check. And in a weird way, I felt like my bump was now protected under the loose material of my maternity dresses.

Turns out, there are health benefits as well. Lucky Sekhon, MD, a New York City-based fertility specialist and board-certified OB/GYN, tells Well + Good, "Maternity shapewear can help improve posture and take weight off of your back as your pregnancy bump grows. It can also be more comfortable than your regular underwear or tights, which are prone to slipping and bunching. As long as you aren't wearing the type that constricts at the tummy, it is completely safe, and likely to be very comfortable, to wear maternity shapewear."

As we head into summer, keep this back pain-reducing and thigh chafe-erasing maternity item in mind; I highly recommend them!