Greetings and salutations to everyone who has found their way to this post! My name is Antonia, and I am not only one of the fitters and leaders here at Bra Genie, but I am currently marching (waddling) through my eighth month of pregnancy. While I am very excited for the impending arrival of my little bundle of joy, I am finding that there are “joys” of pregnancy far beyond the things you have always heard about (pregnancy induced carpal tunnel anyone?). How many of you have found yourselves in a similar position?
I tell our clients often that here at Bra Genie we have more than just bras and foundations, we offer solutions too. While I am generally referring to wardrobe concerns, this also includes information for our expectant mothers. Let’s explore some of the most common concerns and questions we get from those women who come through our door seeking some relief and support (pun intended) during this always magical, but often stressful, time of their lives.
What’s the best maternity bra for an expecting mother?
As Bra Fitters, finding the most comfortable and supportive options for our clients who are experiencing some of the most uncomfortable of times is a challenge we face often. As will be the case a few times during the course of our time together, the answer is not the same for everyone. Bras are very personal, and what may be the best maternity option for one person, may not be true for the next. However, there are some general rules we follow to help find comfortable options for our growing bosoms.
The bras that tend to work best for the duration of a pregnancy are the ones with softer cups which will stretch to accommodate your expanding chest. These types of bras include Spacer cup bras as well as Lightweight cups in a more forgiving fabric such as microfiber or stretch lace. It’s generally best to avoid rigid, molded cups as they tend to make the increase in breast volume more noticeable - aka double bubble. The options below are great everyday bras many ladies leave with due to their versatility and comfort.
Aubree Spacer Fabric T-Shirt Bra
Morgan Stretch Lace Bra
Cosabella Curvy Bralette
Evelyn & Bobbie Defy Bra
If you are concerned about your “headlights” shining through these softer cups, especially during pregnancy, we recommend picking up a pair of Nippies along with these bras so that you can gain all of the benefits of a bra that will do a better job of changing with your body while giving you the modesty you are seeking. They are available in a variety of colors and sizes.
Nippies Nipple Covers
One more thing to note, depending on when we are fitting you during your pregnancy, and how your body seems to be changing, we may opt to either fit you in a bra that is a band larger than you are measuring, to allow for you to start tighter and loosen it as your rib cage expands, or send you home with an extender, which is all of $2, to allow for you to add a full band size to your bra as needed.
How much will my breasts change during pregnancy?
Yet again, this will vary greatly from woman to woman. Factors that can contribute to this include the size you are starting at, the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy, and frankly what your hormones decide to put you through. Speaking personally, I have grown two band sizes and about 4 cup sizes during the course of this pregnancy. As a general rule you will see an initial change in your first trimester as hormones take hold, a more drastic change second trimester as your milk ducts prepare, and then a more gradual growth during your third trimester until your milk comes in. You may find that being fitted at least twice during your pregnancy, both at that initial change and then again after the more drastic growth, is the best way to maintain comfort during the full length of your pregnancy.
When should I get fitted for a nursing bra?
Our professional recommendation is that you wait to get fitted for a nursing bra until about two weeks after baby arrives. This is due to the fact that your milk needs to come in and your size needs to stabilize a bit before we are able to find the fit that will work for you long-term. However, we understand that the first few weeks of motherhood can be quite busy, so if you don’t think you’ll be able to make it in for a fitting after the baby is born, waiting to be fitted as close to your due date as possible is important.
That being said, there are a couple of pieces, which are designed for nursing, that I already own, and would highly recommend to anyone who is still pregnant to pick up before baby arrives.
The first one I need to tell you about is the nursing tank we carry. Y’all. I would be lying to you if I did not say that this has rapidly become one of my favorite things. I was gifted a couple of these from a co-worker who had a baby a couple years ago and then quickly bought myself a few more to make sure I always have one clean and ready to wear. This piece grows with you from pregnancy to postpartum, keeping you comfy and supported the whole time. With a hidden, built-in wireless bralette, these stretchy tanks offer enough support for the girls, even as they grow and change, that I can wear them out and about or as a cami underneath another top or dress. The single-handed nursing clips are discrete but also very easy to unlatch when it’s time to nurse. These tanks also provide great support for the bump – it’s honestly my favorite part. I can assure you that I will have one or two of these in my hospital bag as I plan to wear one on my way in and on the way out. Five out of five stars, would highly recommend!
Sugar Candy Nursing Tank
The second is a no-wire nursing bra with a multi-cup size range. The flexibility of the multiple sizes offered in one piece makes this a great nursing option to pick up before the baby arrives. While it does not offer the same shaping and lift of a traditional bra, this piece can be a real lifesaver. I’ve personally picked up the Royce 3 cup nursing bra. Being a fitter, I know that my size may change once my milk comes in, but it will be a great piece to get me through the first few weeks of nursing until I can come in to be refit for a traditional, wired nursing bra. The Sugar Candy Nursing Bralette and Cosabella Curvy Nursing Bralettes are other favorites.
Cosabella Nursing Bralette - also available in Non-Nursing Option
Is a wire bad for nursing mothers?
The short answer to this is no, wires themselves do not pose any specific health concerns for nursing mothers. However, it’s very important that you’re wearing the proper size in order to ensure that your milk ducts are not being blocked, which can create some very serious issues. We offer nursing bras with wires, flex-wires, and no-wire. The best advice I can give you is to wear what feels right for you and take advantage of our expertise while you are shopping with us. Go ahead and get fitted to ensure you are wearing the best and most comfortable size for your unique body. If you can’t get professionally fitted, you may want to consider a flex-wire or no-wire nursing bra.
How many nursing bras should I own?
As a general rule, we always recommend having 3 bras minimum in your rotation. One to wear, one to wash, and one in the drawer. This same rule applies to your nursing bras. As always, the more bras you have in your rotation, the longer they will all live as you will not wear each piece as frequently. Some of our clients prefer to leave with even more nursing options so they don’t have to launder them as frequently.
Also, I feel it is important to mention that you will likely find it very convenient to have a “sleep bra” nursing option to offer some light support to keep you contained and hold your nursing pads firmly against your breasts to prevent any leaks. I also enjoy having something of this support level for around-the-house wear. If you plan to pump, you might also want to consider purchasing a pumping bra for hands-free pumping.
Sugar Candy Nursing Bralette
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
There it is. My best answers, as pulled from the Bra Genie fitters’ brain trust to some of the most frequent questions we get from our expecting mothers and those who are shopping for them. I hope that you have found these to be helpful, and if there are any questions that you have that we did not address, comment below, call us, or come in to your local Bra Genie and we will be happy to provide you with the best advice and expertise we are able to provide. If there is one thing I have learned on this pregnancy journey, it is that there is always something new, or that you have never heard of, waiting to come up. Know that what you are going through is an experience that countless women have experienced before you. You are not alone and we are all doing our best to figure it out. It really does take a tribe, and those of us at Bra Genie are so glad to be a part of yours.
Wishing you the very best on your journey,
Antonia, Store Manager & Fellow Pregnant Mama
This article was written back in May 2021. Since writing this, Antonia has given birth to baby Ripley. Stay tuned for a follow-up to this blog!