How do I Choose the Best Maternity Bra?

Autumn Rivers

As you get a new wardrobe to wear during pregnancy, you should remember to buy at least one maternity bra, as well. This is because you can typically expect the breasts to change size and shape over the next several months, and having a bra that fits well can be a relief during this time. As the pregnancy progresses, you will likely note that your comfort is important, so consider buying a bra that is free of lace and underwire, if possible. Remember that just as the breasts themselves often grow during pregnancy, the back usually does, too. Finally, consider whether you will breastfeed, as you may opt for a nursing bra instead of a maternity bra in order to save money.

A pregnant woman.
A pregnant woman.

It can be difficult to get comfortable during pregnancy, especially toward the end, but a bra should not need to make this issue worse. It may be tempting to browse bras adorned with intricate lace and ornate details, but these are often itchy and irritating to the skin in general. You should also keep in mind that you may feel like sleeping in your maternity bra occasionally, as doing so can eliminate breast tenderness. Thus, find a comfortable bra that features smooth material, and cups absent of any lace or beadwork. Additionally, although it may be difficult to go without underwire if you have particularly large breasts, try to buy at least one maternity bra that lacks this detail so that you can at least be comfortable at home or in bed.

Mothers who intend to breastfeed should choose a nursing bra.
Mothers who intend to breastfeed should choose a nursing bra.

While your cup size will probably increase as the pregnancy progresses, this is not the only body part that usually grows. Your back will likely also creep up in size, even if you only gain minimal weight, which means that you should measure it before shopping for a maternity bra. Otherwise, you may feel squished in the bra, and the result will often be obvious, since you might notice some bra overhang. If you are not sure how much larger your back will get, you can buy a bra back extender, which is a small extension of material that attaches to most bra clasps. This inexpensive accessory can add a little bit of room to the bra when you need it, allowing you to remove it once you return to your normal back size.

If you plan to breastfeed, you may opt to purchase a nursing bra instead of a maternity bra. This is because you will likely need a nursing bra anyway so that you can quickly breastfeed your baby without removing the entire article of clothing. While buying a nursing bra now may save you money in the long run, it is difficult to know what size cup you will be when your milk comes in. Thus, you might consider purchasing either a cotton bra in a larger size than you currently wear, or a more flexible nursing camisole, which should stretch easily to accommodate a larger cup size.

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