There are many different styles and designs of maternity bras to choose from. Just as there are many different body shapes and sizes. Finding the best maternity bra is about finding what is right for you. This article provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about choosing and buying maternity bras. It aims to help you buy the best maternity bra for yourself.
Is there a difference between normal, maternity, and nursing bras?
Generally the term maternity bra and nursing bra are used interchangeably. Maternity bra is the name for bras that are specially designed to cater to the changes in a woman’s breast during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Maternity bras offer greater support to improve comfort for tender and growing breasts. The special features that maternity bras have include:
- Wider straps to minimise straps digging into shoulders
- Greater use of soft fabrics such as cotton, especially in the bra lining, to avoid chafing and improve breathability
- Minimal, concealed or careful placement of seams so that stitching does not irritate sore and tender breasts
- Extra hooks and eyes on the band to allow loosening when the ribcage and diaphragm expands during pregnancy and then tightening after bub is born and diaphragm reduces in size
- Flexi wire instead of rigid underwire (more on this below)
- Drop-down cups and clips to allow the bra cup to fall away from the breast to allow easy access for breastfeeding and clipped back firmly in place after nursing
*Please note that there are some maternity bras that do not have drop-down cups or nursing clips. An example of these are Cantaloop Pregnancy Bras. Always double check that the bra has drop-down cups if this is what you are wanting in your maternity bra.
Do I really need to wear a maternity bra?
Maternity bras are specifically designed to support the changes your breasts and ribcage will undergo during pregnancy. Wearing a maternity bra – or not- is entirely a personal choice. Most women agree however that wearing a supportive bra during pregnancy can help reduce the stretching of breast tissues that in turn can result in sagging. Women who have larger breasts are likely to find a maternity bra more comfortable than a normal bra.
The drop-down cup and nursing clips – that are the major defining feature of some of the best maternity bras – certainly make breastfeeding easier. The breastfeeding feature and convenience it allows is the major reason that most women choose to wear a maternity bra once bub is born.
Will I need to buy a new bra during pregnancy?
The answer to this question is usually “Yes”. Along with all the amazing growth of your bub, your breasts are also growing in readiness for your baby. It is likely that you will grow out of your normal bra and require a size or two larger. There are many good maternity brands and styles to choose from that are reasonably priced and offer great value as well as comfort. Maternity bras from Yummy Mummy Lingerie range from $35 upwards.
When should I buy a maternity bra?
From the moment your bub is conceived, your body will begin to undergo changes. Breast changes may start to occur within the first couple of weeks and/or anytime from there onwards. For some women, through their whole pregnancy, their breasts will continue to grow and may be tender. Closer to due date, the milk glands expand in preparation for breastfeeding once the baby is born.
Every woman will experience these changes differently – and each new pregnancy may be unique for the same woman. So the time to buy a maternity bra will vary for everyone. Some may feel their bra becoming too tight and need to go up a size very early on in their pregnancy and many may not. As a rule, by approximately four months of pregnancy most of the changes in the breast have occurred and for many ladies this is a good time to invest in several good maternity bras. The next time that most women buy a maternity bra is 2-3 weeks before their due date. At this stage it is recommended to go up one (sometimes two) cup size from your current size. This is because your cup size will increase by at least one size when your milk comes in, and you’ll also need room for breast pads.
A good rule of thumb is that at any time during your pregnancy if your bra is feeling too tight, uncomfortable or is leaving indentation marks in your skin it is time to buy a new one.
Can I wear underwire bras?
Rigid underwire fashion bras are not recommended for use during your pregnancy or breastfeeding period. The reason for this is the ongoing change that occurs in breast shape. Rigid wires may put pressure on the breasts as they swell during pregnancy. Likewise during breastfeeding when there is a regular increase and decrease in size as milk comes in and is then depleted after feeding or expressing. Pressure on the breast may lead to blocked milk ducts or mastitis which is painful and may interfere with your breastfeeding schedule.
Maternity bras with flexible underwire are considered less likely to cause problems. As their name suggests, they use a finer gauge wire which allows it to flex with the breast as it changes shape. Yummy Mummy Lingerie stocks styles with flexi underwire such as Cake Licorice Twist and You! Lingerie Flirty You (14D, 16D and cup sizes E, F, G, H).
Do I need to wear a maternity bra to bed?
Whether to wear a bra to bed is a totally personal decision. Some women find the support of a good soft bra helps them sleep more comfortably. Others like to wear a bra so that they can keep nursing pads in place. On the other hand, some ladies find sleep impossible while wearing a bra. Choose a super soft and seamless bra for the greatest comfort. Examples of these include Cake Cotton Candy, HOTmilk My Necessity and Cantaloop Adjustable Nursing Bra.
How do I care for my bras?
It is a good idea to have at least three to four maternity bras. If you forget to wear nursing pads and your breasts leak or bub is sick on you, you may need to change your bra more frequently than usual. Hand-wash your maternity bra in mild washing powder or liquid. Air dry them but do not hang them by the straps as this may cause stretching out of shape. Hang them over the line so that one cup is on either side of the line and the centre of the bra rests on the line. When storing your bras they should be positioned so that the cups are side by side and not cup-in-cup. This way they will retain their shape for longer.
Is there a best maternity bra?
The best maternity bra is the one that ticks the big three – Comfort, Support and Appearance – for you. A bra that supports your breasts well, is comfortable to wear and you love the look of it is the best maternity bra for you. If any one of these factors are missing then you may find yourself wishing for the end of the day so you can take it off!
Good luck with choosing the best maternity bra for you 🙂
Here at Yummy Mummy Lingerie have a great range of maternity bras to suit all shapes and sizes. Whether you are after comfort, style or a sports maternity bra, we have something suitable for you. We also sell quality complimentary maternity wear such as maternity sleepwear, maternity active wear and nursing singlets. We ship Australia wide and overseas. Please contact us for assistance on email@example.com