The Best Maternity Bras to Get You Through Your Pregnancy (and After)


(Image credit: @stellasimona)

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 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.

Tips for Shopping for Maternity Bras

When shopping for maternity bras, in general, you should look for fabrics that expand and grow with your body (think: nylon and spandex), as well as straps that are comfortable for your shape. For example, If you tend to get frustrated with sliders that slip or feel constricted by super-thin straps that dig into your skin, there are wider shoulder straps that help distribute weight evenly. Your bra should be somewhat adjustable — particularly around the band — so that it works for your changing shape through all three trimesters and postpartum when breastfeeding. Specs like one-hand clips and openings for pump flanges make for easy access and even more convenient.

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.

Best Overall Maternity Bra

Best Affordable Maternity Bra

Best Luxury Maternity Bra

Best Maternity Bra for Large Breasts

Best Nursing Bra

Shop More Bras That You'll Wear Forever

This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Judith Jones
Senior Fashion Market Editor

Judith Jones is the senior fashion market editor at Who What Wear who specializes in shopping content and trend stories with high-affiliate impact. She shares the coolest, most desirable fashion market finds and brands for every budget. Previous to working in fashion, Judith worked as a TV host on the PBS travel show Globe Trekker (airing on Netflix and Amazon Prime) sharing her passion for travel and culture.