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A Guide to Finding the Perfect Maternity Bra

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Sep 10, 2015 9:30:00 AM

When you are pregnant your body is changing every week. To be as comfortable as possible, you'll need to buy new bras to fit your growing body. Here are a few tips to finding the perfect maternity bra.

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When Is it Time to Buy a Maternity Bra?

When you current bras are too tight, it's time to look for new bras. Your body will continue to grow and change throughout you pregnancy. Properly fitting bras will provide you with the comfort and support you need. You may need to buy new bras several times during your pregnancy.

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How Are Maternity and Nursing Bras Different?

Maternity bras are specifically designed for women who are expecting. They usually offer more support for your growing breasts, and extra hooks in the back band. The straps are generally more padded and comfortable. The cups are a little more pliable, so the bras still fit as your body changes. 

Nursing bras take it a step further. They have special clasps that allow the cup to come down for easy access to nursing babies. 

Many women continue to buy their favorite pre-pregnancy bra in bigger sizes in the first part of their pregnancies. When this becomes uncomfortable, switch to maternity bras. Sometime near the end, they switch to nursing bras in preparation for the baby coming soon. 

Where Can I Find Maternity Bras?

While places like Walmart and Target do offer a limited selection of nursing bras, you will not be able to find maternity bras. You will also be shopping without a professional bra fitter if you choose to go to a big box retailer. You'll likely find nursing bras at places like Macy's or Nordstrom's too. They will even have a bra-fitting specialist to help you, but they won't have a selection of maternity bras. They will have a limited number of nursing options to choose from. Your best bet is to go to a maternity store, where the employees are trained to fit you in the perfect bra. They specialize in maternity and nursing bras, so you are sure to find something that works for you.

Be prepared to buy multiple bras. You'll need at the very least one to wear and one to wash. You will probably want a few extras so they don't wear out so quickly. You don't want to spend your entire pregnancy washing your bras!

Find the Perfect Fit

Most stores have a bra fitting specialist who can help you decide on the perfect size. If your store doesn't offer this, or you are uncomfortable asking for a fitting, you can go at it alone. Here are a few things to look for.

  • Look for an adjustable fit. Your body will continue to grow and change, so you want the bra to fit for a while. The bra should fit on the last hook when you buy it, and then you can adjust it smaller as you lose weight after you give birth. You will likely have to buy bras more than once as your body changes throughout your pregnancy.
  • Look for a supportive bra. This can cut down on the development of stretch marks. You might even want to take a look at sleep bras while you are pregnant. 
  • Like your normal bras, look for a comfortable bra that fits well. The straps should lay flat and the bra should create a smooth look. 
  • Underwire versions of maternity bras are available, but be careful of the fit. They are generally not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers. Many women prefer, and lactation consultants recommend,  a wire-free version. 
  • If you are looking at nursing bras, try to open and shut the clasp one-handed to test the ease of use. This will be important when you have a hungry baby!

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Topics: Maternity Care