Your body goes through vast, Herculean changes during pregnancy in order to support and grow your little one, with breasts being one of the first areas to grow.
In fact, your boobs can begin to change significantly even from the first trimester, with research indicating that in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy alone, a woman’s breast shape and size can alter by a cup size or more.
In all, it’s typical for a women’s band and cup size to increase by two to four sizes during pregnancy. As such, you’ll want to find a bra that not only keeps you comfortable and supported, but can also accommodate your changing body.
When should I start wearing a maternity bra?
All women experience pregnancy differently, but you can expect your body – and breasts – to start changing during your first trimester. For many women, seeing their breasts change shape and size or experiencing swelling and tenderness can be one of the first symptoms that they are pregnant. When deciding when to begin wearing a maternity bra, it ultimately comes down to comfort and support; maternity bras are designed to offer both, so you may find that you want to start wearing one soon after you find out you’re pregnant.
Do I need a maternity bra?
Maternity bras are not a de facto necessity; some women choose to stick to their regular styles, increasing their band and cup size accordingly. But, you may find that as your bump grows significantly – particularly as you head into your third trimester – that underwired models can dig into your rib cage. If you’re looking for comfort, ultimately, maternity and nursing bras – designed with pregnancy in mind – are certainly something to consider.
What should I look for in a maternity bra?
Comfort and support are undoubtedly two key considerations when it comes to finding the right maternity bra for you, but you may also want to factor in other aspects such as how much room for growth there is in the bra (whether there is room to extend the back band or add band extenders, for example), and whether the bra is nursing-friendly. Many women decide to buy nursing bras from the outset, especially if they’re considering trying to breastfeed once the little one arrives.
M&S 2pk Maternity Lace Trim Nursing Bras
A two-pack is always a handy investment, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding and leakages.
Smooth, comfortable and padded, these structured bras, made from sustainable cotton, are a great option if you’re looking for some structural support as well as comfort. The padding will also provide comfort should you be experiencing sore or uncomfortable nipples.
While they are well-structured and have a hook and eye fastening on the back, there is a nice amount of stretch and give in them, too. The nursing clips can be easily undone one-handed.
As well as being functional, the little bow on the front and the lace trim adds a nice bit of embellishment.
Lindex Soft Nursing Bra with Leo Print
Proving that nursing bras don’t have to be unsightly to be comfortable and supportive, this eye-catching piece, available in dark dusty yellow and light brown, is sure to help you look and feel good, even on the more challenging days of pregnancy.
The wraparound design is great for mums who are considering breastfeeding once baby comes, and unlike some wireless wraparound bras, the back has a traditional hook-eye fastening which offers plenty of room for manoeuvre.
On top of its fun design, we particularly enjoyed how soft this bra is; made from 95 per cent cotton and 5 per cent elastane, it’s also GOTS-certified.
Seraphine Lace Maternity & Nursing Bralette
A market leader when it comes to pregnancy and postpartum clothing, Seraphine also happens to have a great selection of maternity and nursing bras. Handily, quite a few of the bras on offer come in sets of two, but it’s the Lace Maternity & Nursing Bralette – available in black or white – that we particularly rate.
As well as looking stylish and sophisticated, the lace is soft and stretchy, and offers room for growth on the back. It also has adjustable straps to support your growing frame.
We also liked the drop cup nursing access, which enables you to breastfeed discreetly, without having to pull the whole cup down.
JoJo Maman Bebé Bravado Body Silk Seamless Maternity & Nursing Bra
Soft, comfortable, supportive – this features everything you need to look for in a maternity bra, with the added bonus that it’s also nursing-friendly thanks to two little clips on the bra straps, which can be unfastened one-handed.
Unlike some bras, you haven’t got to worry about whether they will change shape in the wash, as these wash well – ideal if you’re planning on nursing.
While you’re paying slightly more here than some models, the softness and comfortability more than makes up for it.
This design also comes in a wide range of colours including black, white, grey, brown, natural and rose.
Royce Lingerie Blossom Nursing Bra
Specialising in wire-free bras, Royce Lingerie sells a range of maternity and nursing bras, as well as breast pads and bra extenders.
The Blossom Nursing Bra, available in cup sizes CC to JJ, handily features a triple cup to accommodate fluctuating breast size throughout pregnancy and beyond.
While there is room to grow cup-wise, the back band fits snuggly, too. Overall, it’s a great consideration if you’re looking for a bra to see you through from the first trimester to postpartum.
H&M MAMA Nursing Sports Bra
H&M’S MAMA range offers a wide range of maternity and nursing clothes, and their underwear offering is just as reliable.
Available in black or old rose, H&M’s Nursing Sports Bra is a great item to consider if you’re looking to exercise either while pregnant or after you’ve had your little one.
The lined cups are roomy and offer enough space for breast pads, and the fabric is fast-drying (handy if you’re working out, nursing, or both).
It’s comfy and supportive; so much so you may well find that you wish to wear it for longer periods, and not just to work up a sweat in.
ASOS Design Maternity Lace Padded Plunge Nursing Bra
Proving that maternity lingerie doesn’t have to be frumpy, this lacey number is a great option if you’re looking for something that’s supportive but also stylish.
With its moulded, padded cups, it creates a smooth line and offers a great amount of lift. It’s also nursing-friendly thanks to its drop-away access, which can be accessed through little clips on the straps that can be undone one-handed (particularly handy if you’re nursing a hungry little one!)
It doesn’t have the roomiest backstrap, so this is probably best kept for when your breasts are no longer fluctuating in size, or for when you’re nursing once baby has arrived.
M&S’ Maternity Lace Trim Nursing Bras 2-pack ticks all of the boxes, particularly when it comes to comfort, style and affordability. Special mention goes to Lindex’s Soft Nursing Bra Leo Print for being one of the most eye-catching and fun maternity-friendly designs we came across.