Often women find the sudden jump in breast size during pregnancy to be quite a shock. Just like when you gain or lose weight, you may find that many of your old 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. When selecting a new bra it is important to find one that fits (with a little room to grow if it’s still early in your pregnancy). Not only will your breasts grow during pregnancy, they may also become a little tender so comfort is key during this time. Huggies have teamed up with HOTmilk to bring you, a guide to getting the best bra.
What to look for in a maternity bra
- Avoid underwire bras as they can be restrictive and get uncomfortable
- Soft fabrics like cotton that breathe well, will provide better comfort
- Quality bras will have seams that are well stitched and don’t rub or chaff – especially over the very sensitive nipple area
- Maternity clips that are easy to fasten and unfasten
- Good quality elastic that will wash well
- Wider straps to support heavier breasts
- Good adjustability – i.e. bra that you can grow into – 6 rows of hooks and eyes is essential
- A bra that makes you feel like a woman, not a nurse maid
How to fit a maternity bra
Breasts come in many different shapes and sizes, and it’s important that you try on a few different bras before deciding which fits you best. A quick note, if you have two different sized breasts, the larger breast determines the cup size. Here are the steps to take to find a great fitting maternity bra:
1. Before fitting the bra, extend the shoulder straps out right to the end.
2. Slip the straps over the shoulders and whilst holding both ends of the bra, lean forward so the bust will fall naturally into the cups
3. Stand up straight and fasten the back closure. Most maternity bras have about 6 rows of eyes to allow for expansion in the diaphragm so close the bra to the middle of the first set of eyes
4. Pull the bra down firmly to position the back fastening underneath the shoulder blades
5. Lift the bust into the bra cups by using the opposite hand to the breast, this ensures the breast is correctly positioned in the cup and isn’t sitting behind the under bust band, or spilling over the top cup or the underarm
6. Lastly adjust the shoulder straps so they give a firm but comfortable uplift to the bust
Maternity bra fitting checklist
Back – Your maternity bra should fit firmly but comfortably around your back
- If the bra is riding up at the back this means the back is too big, and you need to try a smaller band size
- If the under bust or backs are overstretched and cutting in this means 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 shoulders this means they are too tight and you need to loosen them
- If the cup is sagging and your breasts are feeling unsupported this means the straps are too long and need to be made shorter
Cup -It should sit comfortably over the breast and provide good coverage
- If the breast is bulging over the top of the cup or at the underarms this means the cup is too small and you need to try a larger cup size
- If there is wrinkling in the cup this means 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 is sitting comfortably against the breast and that it doesn’t cut in across the top of the cup
- Check the inside opening is large enough to expand and doesn’t cut in
- Make sure there is enough overlap between the top of the cup and the A-frame cut out – if there is a gap this may mean the cup is too small and the breast is pushing the cup out and putting strain on the cup
Feeding -Try dropping down the cup while you are in the fitting room
- Make sure you can undo the maternity clip easily and preferably with one hand, this is important as you may not have both hands free at the time
- Check the cup drops down far enough for feeding, ideally the cup should sit lower than the A-frame at the centre front so it drops down further
- It will depend on the type of fabric in the top cup as to how much this area will give when dropping the cup down so make sure you are comfortable when doing this
- 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 the checklist, you should ask yourself the following:
- Do you like the look of the bra?
- Do you like the shape? Try a top on over the bra to see if you like the shape it gives.
- Are you happy with the amount of coverage in the cup?
- Do you feel supported enough?
Maternity Bras FAQ
Many women write in to HOTmilk, asking all kinds of questions about maternity bras. 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: The side sling or A-frame 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 and 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: Especially 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, this will ensure you get the best wear out of your bra.
The main thing when finally coming to a decision about a maternity bra is that it’s something you feel comfortable in. You should be pretty careful when choosing a bra, as many retailers don’t let you return a bra that has already been worn, so make sure the one you buy is the one you definitely want. HOTmilk is a leading designer of pregnancy lingerie and nursing bras that come in a gorgeous range of designs and colours. In association with Huggies, they have provided the majority of this great maternity bra information.