Most women find the sudden jump in breast size during pregnancy to be quite a shock. You will often find that many of your favourite bras don’t fit during pregnancy.
Selecting a maternity bra can be difficult as your body will change even more throughout the next 9 months. Not only will your breasts keep growing, but they may also become a little tender, so comfort is key. It is important to find a bra that fits with a little room to grow, if it’s still early in your pregnancy.
What to look for in a maternity bra
- Look for cotton bras. Soft fabrics that breathe well will provide better comfort.
- Quality bras with seams that are well stitched. These won’t chafe your sensitive areas.
- Good adjustability. Try find maternity clips that are easy to fasten and unfasten throughout your pregnancy.
- Good quality elastic & wider straps for more support.
- Avoid underwire bras. They can be restrictive and uncomfortable.
How to fit a maternity bra
Breasts come in many shapes and sizes, and it’s important that you try on a few different bras before deciding which fits you best. Remember, the larger breast determines the cup size.
Here are a few steps to help you find a great fitting maternity bra:
STEP 1: Before fitting the bra, extend the shoulder straps out right to the end.
STEP 2: Slip the straps over the shoulders. Whilst holding both ends of the bra, lean forward so your bust falls naturally into the cups.
STEP 3: Stand up straight and fasten the back closure. Most maternity bras have about 6 rows of eyes to allow for expansion. Close the bra to the middle of the first set of eyes.
STEP 4: Pull the bra down firmly to position the back strap underneath your shoulder blades.
STEP 5: Lift your bust into the bra cups by using the opposing hand. This ensures that your breast isn’t sitting behind the under bust band, or spilling over the top cup.
STEP 6: Lastly adjust the shoulder straps so they give a firm but comfortable uplift.
Maternity bra fitting checklist
Back – Your maternity bra should fit firmly, but comfortably around your back.
- If the bra is riding up, the back is too big and you need to try a smaller band size.
- If the under-bust or backs are overstretched and cutting, the back is too small and you need to try a larger back size.
Straps -They should rest comfortably on your shoulders.
- If the straps are digging into your shoulder, they are too tight and need to be loosened.
- If the cup is sagging and your breasts are feeling unsupported, the straps are too long and need to be made shorter.
Cup -It should sit comfortably and provide good coverage.
- If the breast is bulging over the top of the cup or at the underarms, the cup is too small and you should to try a larger cup size.
- If there is wrinkling in the cup, the cup is too big and you need to try a smaller cup size.
A-Frame -It should sit comfortably across the top of the breasts.
- Check the A-frame doesn’t cut in across the top of the cup.
- Check that the inside opening doesn’t cut in and is large enough to expand.
- Make sure there is enough overlap between the top of the cup and the A-frame cut-out. If there is a gap, the cup is too small.
Feeding -Try dropping down the cup while you are in the fitting room.
- Make sure you can undo the maternity clip easily and with one hand.
- Check the cup drops down far enough for feeding. Ideally, the cup should sit lower than the A-frame.
- If your bra has either an A-frame or a side sling support panel, make sure it doesn’t cut in anywhere over the breast or at the underarm when the cup is dropped down.
Once you have completed this checklist, you should ask yourself the following:
- Do you like the look & shape of the bra? Try a top on over the bra to make sure.
- Are you happy with the amount of coverage in the cup?
- Do you feel supported enough?
Maternity Bras FAQ
Here are the most frequently asked questions and their answers:
Q: Why can’t I just wear normal bras during pregnancy?
A: Maternity bras have specific features that are different to normal bras. These features allow for the changes that occur in the bust, ensuring the best comfort and support is achieved.
Q: What’s the difference between a side sling and an A-frame?
A: This refers to the panel inside the cup that holds the bra in place when the cup is dropped down during feeding. A side sling cradles the bust from the side of the cup only. An A-frame cradles the bust from the side of the cup, right across the top of the bust to the front of the bust. A-frames provide more coverage and support, so they are suitable for full cup styles and larger bust sizes. Because side slings have less coverage these are used in 3/4 cup and smaller cup sizes.
Q: How many bra sizes will I go up during my pregnancy?
A: This depends on the woman. It may be 2-3 cup sizes and 2-3 band sizes.
Q: How many bras will I need?
A: When you are breastfeeding, you will need two or three bras so you can wash them regularly.
Q: How should I wash and care for my bra?
A: Always follow the manufacturer’s wash care instructions. Do not use fabric softener and remember to wash it in a laundry bag to ensure you get the best wear out of it.