How to choose bras during pregnancy

Whether you are an expecting or breastfeeding mom this is a very special time in your life.  Your body is nurturing another human being as only a mother can do, and you deserve to feel and look your best.

Stay tuned as over the next four weeks Underpinnings answers some of the most frequently asked questions about bras during pregnancy and nursing.  This week we focus on maternity bras.


When should I buy a maternity braWearing a bra that fits correctly is always beneficial but is especially important during pregnancy and nursing.  Your breasts will become not only fuller but also heavier due to increased blood supply, fatty tissue and the development of milk glands.  A quality maternity bra will offer additional support to accommodate your enhanced breast size and weight.

As soon as your old bras no longer fit you should consider purchasing maternity bras.  Many women find that this first occurs near the end of the third month of pregnancy.  Because you will likely need to purchase bras again as your breasts continue to grow throughout your pregnancy you may want to manage expenses by limiting your initial purchase to two bras – one to wear and one to wash.Choosing a maternity bra

When trying on maternity bras look for the following:

1.       Ensure that your whole breast is encased in the cup.  It is very important that the band, seams and underwire (if applicable) do not press into breast tissue.  Note that many experts advise against wearing an underwired bra during pregnancy and nursing.  An ill-fitting underwired bra is much less forgiving than an ill-fitting soft cup bra as underwire that presses into breast tissue could lead to a painful infection.  If you are used to wearing underwired bras and choose to continue to do so during pregnancy it is crucial that you pay attention to ensuring a proper fit.

2.       The band should be wide and supportive and the shoulder straps should not be overly narrow.

3.       The band should fit snugly but comfortably on the TIGHTEST hook.  This is the opposite guidance to buying a bra any other time in a woman’s life and is to allow room to loosen the band as your ribcage expands during pregnancy.

4.       The inside of the cup should be smooth, with no exposed seams.  With all those hormones coursing through your body your breasts are likely to be very sensitive and seams that may not irritate at any other time may feel like sandpaper against your tender nipples.

Next week we’ll discuss nursing bras.  Until then feel free to drop us a comment or ask a question.