Buying a pregnancy bra and outgrowing it in a matter of months is quite an inconvenience for mums to be. Your body has enough to cope with without having to go through the hassle of buying yet another set of pregnancy bras.
Choosing the right pregnancy bras that grow with you throughout pregnancy and beyond is entirely possible and are every bit as incredible (and real!) as they sound.
With a few pro tips, you will be well on your way to owning a set of pregnancy bras that continue to fit you perfectly as your breasts grow through pregnancy and breastfeeding!
1. What kind of bra should I wear when pregnant?
A lot of first-time mums reach out to us to ask - “What is the best bra during pregnancy?” To put it simply, the best bras to wear during pregnancy is a bra:
- That’s got no underwire.
- That’s soft and stretchy yet provides plenty of support.
- That accommodate a mum-to-be’s tender, sensitive and enlarging breasts.
- That will fit you through all three trimesters of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- That has drop down cups for easy breastfeeding once the baby arrives.
In other words, you want a pregnancy support bra that’s going to allow for fluctuations in the ribcage and also in your bust.
The other important aspect to consider is buying a nursing bra that will grow with you through your pregnancy so that you can continue to use it for breastfeeding after the baby has arrived, not just throughout your pregnancy.
2. Why do I need a pregnancy bra that will grow with my breasts?
Through each trimester in pregnancy your breasts change a lot, therefore, you want a bra that provides a tonne of comfort, support and flexibility, so you don’t have to purchase a large range of bras for every stage of your pregnancy at a time when you already have a lot of new expenses coming into your life.
Mums to be should be looking for:
- A pregnancy bra that has a lot of adjustability around the band.
- A pregnancy bra that has a lot of room for stretching around the under-bust and around the back.
- A pregnancy bra that allows for fluctuations in the cup as your breasts grow bigger during pregnancy and after giving birth.
- A pregnancy bra with nice soft fabric on the inside of the cups so that nothing is going to aggravate your breasts or nipples any further.
Normal bras come with an underwire and an inflexible band that is not stretchy enough to allow for all the changes in your body and breasts in the first trimester of pregnancy let alone the changes you are going to have through the rest of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
An underwire bra means that your breasts can only fit a certain size – which will get mighty uncomfortable for you as your breasts start growing bigger.
3. At which trimester should I start buying pregnancy bras?
This really depends on you, but we recommend that as soon as you outgrow your pre-pregnancy bra, you should buy a pregnancy bra that will provide you with the comfort and support that you need as your breasts and body changes and grows.
TIP: Buy a pregnancy bra that also has the ability to breastfeed so that once you give birth you can continue to wear the bra, breastfeed and adjust it as your breasts begin to decrease in size over time.
Don’t try to simply buy a normal bra in a bigger size; the fabric and structure of normal bras is not designed to support and accommodate your breasts and body as you go through many changes.
FOR EXAMPLE: A lot of mums start noticing a change in their breasts right from the start of their first trimester. From an unpleasant soreness in your breasts to maybe a little increase in your breast size. Your breasts will start changing from the first week itself and can often be the first telltale sign that you are pregnant. At this stage, it will pay to start researching the best bras for early pregnancy that can fit you throughout your journey as a mum to be.
Even though everybody is different, here are some tips on how your breasts can change and grow through each trimester and why a pregnancy bra that is flexible enough to cater for these changes is so important:
First trimester: (week 1 to week 12)
The most common changes you can expect in your breasts during this trimester are:
- Swelling in your breasts,
- Soreness or tenderness,
- The veins in your breasts may become larger and more visible,
- A feeling of fullness in your breasts,
- Slight ache right up into your armpits.
Since your breasts will continue to change and grow heavy throughout the first trimester, it is very important to wear a bra that supports these changes. The first trimester is also usually when you experience the most morning sickness as well.
TIP: In the first trimester stop wearing a bra that's uncomfortable in any way. If it's too tight, the straps are digging in or the underwire is digging in, put it away for well after you have finished breastfeeding. You don’t want your breast tissues to be restricted in any way. You want a soft-fabric bra that's comfortable and doesn’t irritate your skin.
Second trimester: (week 13 to week 26)
This is usually when your breasts start to grow and when your internal organs are really starting to shift around and make room for the baby. You will really notice that your ribcage starts expanding and your underbust increasing in size.
During this trimester, you may notice the following changes in your breasts:
- Your breasts will continue getting heavier as milk ducts develop.
- You may experience leakage of your ‘first’ breast milk (colostrum, to be specific).
Now that you’re in the second trimester your body is accustomed to it somewhat, your hormones have settled down and you're growing the baby and your bump!
TIP: It’s around the second trimester that most women start buying maternity clothes. Since your breasts start developing the milk ducts during this period and enlarge, even more, it is essential to buy pregnancy bras because they come with extra padding for any leaks. However the main things to consider at this point in time is, will your pregnancy bra expand enough to allow for the increase in the cup and underbust size as your breasts can grow a lot at this point in time.
Third trimester: (week 27 to the end of the pregnancy)
This is the time when your body gets ready to give birth and you can start to become really uncomfortable. This is a crucial time to have a pregnancy bra that fits really well to provide all of the softness, comfort and support you need in the final weeks of pregnancy. The last thing you want at this stage is a pregnancy bra that has become too tight and uncomfortable.
You may start noticing the following changes in your breasts:
- Your breasts will continue to get heavier and bigger than ever.
- Your nipples will become larger and they may darken in colour.
- You may experience dryness or itchiness on your breasts as the skin on your breasts stretches to accommodate their growing size.
TIP: This is the time when you not only need a pregnancy bra that fits you comfortably but one that will also let you breastfeed your baby after you give birth. It’s really important to have a nursing bra with drop-down cups at this point in time to allow you to feed the baby once he or she arrives.
Fourth Trimester: (Birth - 3 months old)
The fourth trimester starts from the moment your baby is born and lasts until he/she is three months old. During this phase, your breasts will continue growing bigger again as they produce breast milk.
After you've had the baby, anywhere from day 3 to day 6, your breast milk will come in and that's when in some mums your breasts may go up a cup size or two again. That’s when a lot of new mums become at risk of getting mastitis, getting blocked milk ducts, or not being able to feed.
There are massive changes in those first few weeks after giving birth, a major one is not just the size of the breasts but your nipples will also get really sensitive because the baby is breastfeeding 24/7. A lot of women will use breast shields to help protect their nipples after feeding. Having a nice soft fabric on the inside of the cups is really important so that you’re not going to aggravate your nipples any further.
TIP: You have had your baby, started breastfeeding, and your ribcage and underbust slowly start reducing in size and then after three or four months your breasts start to settle down and reduce in size slowly. Now it is important that the pregnancy bra that has been able to grow with you through your pregnancy can now recoil and be adjusted with you as your breasts and body begin to settle down again. That’s where a pregnancy/breastfeeding bra that is constructed with high-quality fabrics that don’t lose their stretch comes in to continue providing the softness, support and comfort you need right through breastfeeding as well.
During the first few months after you have given birth, your breasts are going to go through a lot of fluctuations:
- They’ll get bigger as the milk comes in
- They’ll get smaller as you feed the baby
And so the cycle will continue. To handle these shifts, you’ll need a bra that can cope with it all.
Also, some new mothers may experience more enlargement than normal if their breasts produce more milk than they are able to express or pump. Whether or not your breasts return back to their original size depends on a couple of factors:
- The length of time you breastfeed
- How much weight you gained during and after pregnancy
4. How does a pregnancy bra fit throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding?
It’s all in the design and the fabric.
Normal bras are typically made from a mix of viscose and polyester, whereas at Cadenshae we developed the Everyday Bra. The Everyday Bra has been created with superior fabric using a combination of nylon/spandex with a cotton/spandex lining that provides a construction that expands with your growing body while providing plenty of support at the same time.
The main elements that allow the Everyday Bra to grow with you during pregnancy and breastfeeding are:
- The cup design is stretchy so that it can allow for fluctuations in cup size.
- The fabrics used in its construction are flexible and stretch enough to accommodate for all the changes that are going to happen over the coming months during and after pregnancy, including when your breasts start to reduce in size. Fabrics used to construct the Everyday Bra don’t lose their stretch so that when your breasts reduce in size the fabric cups reduce in size also to continue providing you with the comfort and support you need.
- The adjustable straps are designed in such a way that the bra straps can be adjusted to be long enough when your breasts are at their biggest, and then short enough when your breasts start returning to their pre-pregnancy size.
- Since your body is changing so much during and after the pregnancy, the flexible cups, adjustable bra straps and under-band of a pregnancy bra is what you need to grow with you most.
- The super comfortable racerback design expands with you and helps disperse the weight of your growing breasts to reduce any pain points.
- The front panel of the bra provides great coverage for the varying sizes that your breasts will go through.
5. Should I buy a maternity bra or nursing bra that can grow with me?
Maternity bras and nursing bras both have super soft fabric and no underwire. The only difference is nursing bras have specially designed drop-down cups which can be used to open the bra cup to nurse the baby, while still supporting the breasts without the need to remove the bra.
A lot of the time, the terms “maternity bra” and “nursing bra” are used interchangeably. There are bras available in the market that are specifically designed for maternity, but most pregnant mothers choose to buy nursing bras with the idea that they’ll be able to continue using the nursing bra after the baby is born.
Buying maternity bras solely was an old fashioned trend before the invention of nursing bras but with nursing bra development in the modern day most mums to be preferred to purchase nursing bras right from their first or second trimester depending on when their breasts start to grow.
Because a nursing bra can offer everything that a maternity bra does and more, such as the ability to easily breastfeed. Once the baby is here, you will need a nursing bra anyway. So why not save a few bucks and buy a nursing bra that’s got all the features of the maternity bra and can grow with you through pregnancy and breastfeeding.
6. If a pregnancy bra is designed to grow with my breasts, how will it provide optimal support?
It is crucial that a bra designed to grow with you through pregnancy comes with an adjustable underbust band that allows you to adjust it at each stage to provide the support your breasts require. For example:
- You can loosen it when your underbust grows bigger in trimester two,
- or tighten it when your underbust reduces in size after giving birth.
- A high-quality strong elastic underbust band needs to have some stretch, and it needs to be able to retain that stretch so that it doesn’t lose its shape over time.
- Wide shoulder straps ensure that your breasts get a good amount of support throughout the pregnancy and after-birth as well.
7. Is it possible to outgrow the nursing bra that's designed to grow with me?
Of course, it is possible, but we find most women are comfortable with the same bra throughout.
Everybody is different. There could be occasions where you unexpectedly put on more weight than you have in previous pregnancies or if you haven't been pregnant before you don't know how much your body is going to change.
If you purchase a nursing pregnancy bra that has cups that can grow and retract with your breasts comfortably including a fully adjustable back and straps, you are well on the way to wearing a pregnancy bra that will fit through your pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Pregnancy bras like the Everyday Bra are specially designed to support your breasts even if you go up by 2-3 sizes (cup as well as the band).
8. What are the benefits of wearing a nursing bra that grows with me?
- It will save you precious bucks.
- It will reduce the stretching of breast tissue, thus reducing damage to the breast. Wearing a fully-supportive nursing sports bra will reduce your chances of getting severe stretch marks across your breasts. Having proper support for your breasts during pregnancy and nursing will stop the ‘sagging’. According to many medical experts, sagging can cause damaging and tearing of the breast tissues – all of which can cause stretch marks.
- It will help alleviate backache and stress. Heavy breasts can cause back strain and pain that can cause further discomfort. Wearing a well-fitting pregnancy bra that expands with you will offer you proper support and weight distribution to ease the strain on your back, shoulders and neck. A good-fitting pregnancy bra also promotes a healthy posture which will help you deal with upper back discomfort.
9. I'm not going to breastfeed; Do I still need to buy a nursing bra?
Even if you are not planning to breastfeed your baby, your breasts will still get heavier and you will need a bra to offer the support you’ll need to stay comfortable during the pregnancy.
Also, you will start producing breast milk around the third trimester. New mothers who don’t nurse their babies, sometimes still need to express/pump the milk otherwise the engorged breasts can get really painful.
Wearing a nursing bra will make it very easy to access the breasts when you need to use the pump, in addition, to giving you the best support.
10. How should my pregnancy nursing bra that grows with me fit initially?
Before you buy the perfect pregnancy nursing bra, you need to keep a couple of things in mind:
- The bra cup should be large enough to completely cover your breasts.
- You should be able to fit your open hand in your pregnancy bra cup.
- The bra band should fit you comfortably; it shouldn’t cut into your underbust or skin whatsoever.
- The bra straps should not dig into your shoulders at any point.
- If your bra is riding up in the back, you need to go up in a bra-cup size.
11. What is the best pregnancy bra for mums with growing breasts?
Whether you are a fitness-freak-mama looking for a pregnancy sports bra or the chilled-out-Zen-mum, Cadenshae has something for everyone. But in regards to the best pregnancy bra that grows with you, our Everyday Bra wins hands down. It is super stretchy, ultra-comfortable and allows for fluctuations that you won’t find in other maternity or breastfeeding bras.
Everyday Nursing Bra
I love my Everyday Nursing Bra - purple/green. Thank you for creating such a great product. I have just bought my second bra from Cadenshae because I wear it so much more than I thought I would! It is so comfortable. I love the racerback style as I can wear it under my racerback tank and straps do not show. - Pascal
Oh my gosh, I am in love!! The everyday bra is so comfy! And roomy for my boobs! I am going to get more as I don't wanna take this one off haha. - Kasey
This bra feels so comfortable and soft to wear. Love the bright purple colour. I hadn't owned a racer back bra before so was worried about getting it on and off but it's really easy. I've been wearing it for every day, yoga and walking so far, feels great. About to order another colour! - Em
I have 4 of these and two are from the old batch (not really overly supportive when active but crazy comfy for wearing at home/out!!!) and two new ones that I find give good support while out walking. I really like the inner harness piece that gives a bit of coverage for large boobs while feeding too! Amazing Bras and worth every dollar! Best breastfeeding Bras ever! - Maddy’s Mum
A Final Word
Your body goes through an incredible amount of changes during pregnancy – both physical and emotional. It’s really important to make sure you are wearing well-fitting pregnancy bras that will support your new curves and keep you feeling great.
Written by Nikki Clarke.