If you’re pregnant and asking yourself if you need to buy a new bra, the answer is likely yes. I am currently six months along and have swiftly transitioned from a B cup to a D cup in the blink of an eye. Breasts increase in size pretty early during pregnancy (around six to eight weeks), and many will find they outgrow their bras rather quickly. The hormonal shifts, weight gain, and expanding rib cage associated with pregnancy will contribute to this growth, as will mammary glands preparing to make milk later in pregnancy.
I was tempted to squeeze into my regular bras for as long as possible, but I quickly realized how uncomfortable my lacy pre-pregnancy bras were becoming, and they simply couldn’t support my heavy (and itchy) breasts. Time for an upgrade. There are a few options as you’re growing. One, buy a larger size of your normal pre-pregnancy bra. Two, switch to a maternity bra. Three, if you’re somewhere in the middle of your third trimester, buy a nursing bra. Many, like me, prefer a combination of two or all three.
So how are maternity and nursing bras different from regular bras? Think of a maternity bra as an improved version of a regular bra, designed specifically for comfort as your breasts grow during pregnancy. Some features include a soft cotton lining, wider straps, extra latches on the band, etc., and they tend not to be underwired. Many regular bras offer these features, too, which will work just fine during pregnancy.
Nursing bras differ in one way from maternity bras: They feature clasps on the straps that allow for easy breastfeeding access. If you buy a nursing bra to wear during pregnancy, make sure there is enough room for you to grow, as your breasts tend to go up another cup size or more after your baby arrives. Many of the bras available are maternity/nursing hybrids, which provide support throughout pregnancy and after.
Officially ready for a new bra? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite maternity and nursing bras that will get you through and beyond your pregnancy. And remember: If it feels tight, then it isn’t right. Find your correct size by getting measured at the lingerie department, or do it yourself.
1. Motherhood Maternity Average Busted Seamless Clip Down Nursing Bra
Designed for an easier, more comfortable way to nurse and pump hands-free, the super-comfortable Larken X bra has no elastic, snaps, zippers, or awkwardly placed holes. It’s perfect at any stage, especially against sensitive skin during the first few months with baby. I personally love this one because it’s super soft and wire-free and gives relaxed support without being restrictive.
Made with organic cotton, this soft, naturally breathable bralette has light support and stretches for easy movement and recovery. The crossover silhouette is perfect for nursing. It’s made to be worn during pregnancy and beyond.
18. Motherhood Wrap Maternity and Nursing Sleep Cotton Bra
With rave reviews, this super-comfortable sleep bra made from cozy cotton and stretchy spandex lasts from the first trimester to new motherhood and features easy pullover breastfeeding or pumping access.