What to look for when you’re buying maternity bras

Why do you need a maternity bra?

Like rest of your body, your breasts are changing too. They are becoming bigger and more sensitive. This is due to hormonal changes, weight gain, an expanding rib cage and, later in pregnancy, your mammary are also preparing for breastfeeding. Nope, unlike with weight gain, you can’t just go buying bras that larger than your previous size. They don't provide enough support; remember, your breasts are beginning to produce milk and are therefore heavier than they used to be.

When do you need a maternity bra?

Normally your breast size increases between the eighth to tenth week of pregnancy. Your breasts will start to outgrow your bras. How do you know this is happening? There are clear indications: the band and straps begin cutting into your skin, your breasts start spilling out of your bra cups or your bra feels too snug. Think of this as another chance to go shopping, and get it over with!

What is the difference between regular, maternity and nursing bras?

Regular bras can be of any type: flimsy, non-padded, underwired, won’t matter which as long as it provides the support you need (although there are rules even to buy these if you want to maximise comfort). Maternity bras are specifically designed to provide comfort and support to your growing breasts during pregnancy. They have wider straps, a soft cotton lining and extra hooks. Most maternity bras will not have underwire cups because those aren’t great for sensitive breasts. The basic difference between a maternity bra and a nursing bra is that nursing bras have front clasps to allow for breastfeeding.

What do you need to look for in a maternity bra?

While shopping for a maternity bra, consider the following:

  • Support: Look for bras with wide elastic straps to prevent bouncing and which have side and under seams for firm support. Go for bras with a deep front cut.

  • Coverage: It is better to go for bras which fully cover your breast as much as possible, as your breasts are sensitive during pregnancy. This makes you comfortable.

  • Adjustability: Go for bras with at least four hooks so that you can adjust it as your breast size increases.

  • Comfort: Cotton works better than any other fabric; cotton bras can reduce irritation and keep you comfortable all through your pregnancy.

How do you know if it's the right fit?

It’s always better to get your maternity bras fitted by professionals in maternity stores or in lingerie section of large department stores, but if can't afford it or are too shy to confront male bra salesmen, you can find your fit by making sure that

  • the cups fit correctly, cover most of your breasts, and don’t overflow at the top

  • the centre seam lies comfortably against your breastbone

  • your bra fastens onto the first set of hooks, leaving plenty of room for growth

If you’re confused about how to choose other maternity clothes, take a look at our tips.