Buying a bra is confusing at the best of times. When you are pregnant however you are advised to ditch the underwire and start to consider a maternity bra and then move onto a nursing bra; one that will assist you with breastfeeding (or expressing) in comfort.
How does a maternity bra differ from a standard bra?
There are almost as many different styles of maternity bras as there are regular bras but there some key differences.
Maternity bras don’t:
- have rigid underwires – (Some regular bras also come without underwire and these may work just fine for you during pregnancy)
Maternity bras do:
- usually have wider straps
- offer more hook and eye options
- have more support built into them
- come in a range of colors, shapes and fabrics
- have a soft cotton lining
How does a maternity bra differ from a nursing bra?
A nursing bra is designed for breastfeeding. One of the biggest and most important features of nursing bras is that it has clasps or panels that allow easy access to the nipples.
Many women prefer a combination of both, buying maternity bras or larger sizes of their favorite pre-pregnancy bra in the beginning and switching to nursing bras somewhere in the middle of the third trimester.
If you do buy nursing bras to wear during pregnancy, make sure they give you room to grow. Your breasts may go up another cup size or two after your baby arrives and your milk comes in.
How many maternity bras should I buy?
This is a personal choice. Some women can get away with a tank top with a breast shelf which gives them the support the need whilst other women find that their breast size changes rapidly.
If you find a brand which suits you and helps you to feel comfortable, consider buying three of them. Maybe just in different colours so you have some variety. One bra to wear, a clean one as a spare and one in the wash.
You can continue to wear the same maternity bras for each subsequent pregnancy as long as they are still in good shape and they have not lost their support properties.
Remember too, that if you’ve been pregnant before and breastfed, your breast shape can change for each pregnancy so the size that fit you once may not be right this time around.
What should I look for when buying a maternity bra?
When buying any bra, whether it be a regular design, a maternity bra or a nursing bra the key elements to consider are always comfort, support and appearance.