What is a Maternity Bra?
Having a baby is a joyous and hectic time, but pregnancy changes your body. During this time, your body grows and changes quickly.
A maternity bra is an enhanced version of a regular bra that is designed to support your breasts throughout your pregnancy.
The Differences Between a Maternity Bra and a Nursing Bra
|Maternity Bra||Nursing Bra|
|Designed to be worn during and after pregnancy||Designed to be worn while nursing your new baby|
|Stretchy fabric made to adjust to breast changes throughout pregnancy||Offer a front closure making it easier to pump or nurse|
|No snap down cup for easy breast feeding||Wide straps for additional support|
|Wireless with breathable material||Some offer features to help prevent leaks|
Why You Need a Maternity Bra
1. Your breasts are changing
Many women grow 2 to 3 cup sizes throughout their pregnancy.
A maternity bra will grow with you, supporting your breasts while expanding to accommodate your new bustline.
2. Your rib cage is also expanding
Simply going out and buying a bra with a bigger cup size isn’t going to get you through pregnancy.
As your baby grows, your rib cage expands to make room. A maternity bra is flexible enough to keep you supported through all changes in your body.
3. Your breasts are more sensitive
When you’re pregnant, your breasts change to make them functional for feeding following birth.
This and other hormone fluctuations make them more sensitive. Wearing a maternity bra helps keep them from moving and rubbing against clothing.
Features of a Good Maternity Bra
- Seamless cups: Choosing a maternity bra with seams can lead to chafing. You want one with soft, seamless cups that keeps you comfortable throughout your pregnancy.
- Elastic band: Since your body will be expanding, you want a bra that grows with you. Choose a style with an elastic band that is supportive but not constrictive.
- Breathable fabric: Throughout your pregnancy, you’re probably going to opt for softer, more comfortable clothing, and the same extends to maternity bras. Pick a style made of cotton or a similar fabric that lets your skin breathe.
How to Buy a Maternity Bra
1. Wait until you need it
You can probably get away with wearing a regular bra during your first trimester. But as you move along in your pregnancy, you will need a few maternity bras.
Wait until you need it to go shopping for a more accurate fitting. In general, you’ll probably need one around 18 weeks.
2. Try on multiple sizes
When you’re shopping early on, it’s hard to predict what size you’ll need when you reach 30 weeks. Add a cup size and a band size to start.
If you don’t want to guess, have someone at the store measure you and suggest a size. You can also buy band extenders if needed.
3. Pick a bra that transitions into a nursing bra
Many maternity bras can be worn into the post-natal period. Some maternity bras feature removable cups for easier breastfeeding access.
If you want to use your bra for a more extended period, find one that can also serve as a nursing bra.
- You might need to buy another maternity bra later: Your breasts may seem stable for a few weeks and then experience rapid growth. You might outgrow your maternity bra and find yourself headed to the store for a new one.
- Get measured more than once: Make sure your maternity bras are still comfy and supportive by getting measured multiple times throughout your pregnancy. Having a bra fitting every few months will help you note changes and find the right size.
- Try on different styles: Maternity bras come in more than one style. You might want one that looks like a sports bra for a no-hassle look, or you could pick one that is cuter and looks more like traditional lingerie. Buy more than one for different moods.
Navigating a pregnancy can be overwhelming, mainly if it’s your first. Use these tips to find a maternity bra that helps make that part of pregnancy more comfortable.