Maternity Bra Advice

CONGRATULATIONS if you are pregnant or have recently had your baby, we hope that this can be of some help to finding a comfortable bra for the duration of your pregnancy and breastfeeding. We have put together a basic guide on what to expect when it comes to bra fittings.

Breast Changes during Pregnancy and after Delivery

Stages of pregnancy
Early Pregnancy

Early Pregnancy

For most women, one of the earliest signs of pregnancy is sore nipples and tender/enlarged breasts. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find your breasts increase in size. The rate and time at which they increase differs for every woman. It can be any time within the first trimester (first 3 months), that you notice your current bras become too small and the underwires start to dig into you. We suggest that when your bras start to feel uncomfortable, you have your first maternity fitting.

Later Pregnancy

Later Pregnancy

During the 2nd and 3rd Trimesters (6-9 months), your BAND size (around your rib cage) will increase as your baby grows and your body changes, and your breasts may continue to get bigger. It is not uncommon to go up 2-3 band sizes during pregnancy, and several CUP sizes. It is suggested that you have 2 to 3 bras to rotate during your pregnancy and to have them professionally fitted, so that you can get the best size, as your body will be constantly changing throughout pregnancy.

After Birth

After the Birth

During the first couple of weeks after delivery, most women who establish breastfeeding will notice their breasts may suddenly increase in size again. This is when your breasts are adjusting to milk production and increasing needs of the baby, and it may take a few weeks for the breasts to ‘settle’. It is also noticed after delivery that your band size will go DOWN again, closer to your pre-pregnancy band size.

Maternity Bra Advice

When should I first buy a maternity bra?

One of the first things you notice when pregnant is sore breasts and nipples, so at some stage early in pregnancy as your breasts start to increase in size, you will want a bigger bra. We suggest purchasing one or two maternity bras within the first 3 months or as soon as your current bras start feeling tight and uncomfortable. If you don’t feel ready for a non-underwire bra, then getting a good-fitting, comfortable underwire bra is fine too. At Avokado, we can suggest some underwire bras that are most suitable for early pregnancy. We also have a FLEXI-WIRE MATERNITY BRA that would be a great bra at this stage.

Read more about Flexi-wire maternity bras here >>>

Why should I be purchasing a non-underwired bra?

We recommend that at some stage towards the end of pregnancy, you start to wear a non-underwire maternity or feeding bra. As your breasts are constantly changing during pregnancy and breastfeeding, you may find that having no underwires is a lot more comfortable. There is a misconception that non underwire bras don’t support your bust. If a bra is properly fitted, you should get good uplift and support from it. If you prefer an underwire bra, then the Freya flexi-wire Nursing bra makes a good alternative. However, we recommend that you have this bra professionally fitted and that you wear non-underwire bras for at least the first 2-3 weeks after the birth.

Because your breasts can be very tender, you may find it really comfortable to sleep in your bra as this gives support (as well as contains breast pads). We do not recommend sleeping in any underwire/flexi-wire bras as the wires may dig into your breast tissue and may cause discomfort.

Why are the nursing bras so full in the cup, I’m used to wearing more 'demi-cup' styles?

There are many changes when you get pregnant and one of them is coming to terms with changing the style of bra you are used to wearing. This is especially relevant for ladies who's busts increase dramatically during pregnancy. Maternity and Nursing bras are created to give the breasts as much support and comfort as possible. They are designed for the best function and the fuller the bra, the more support and the more comfortable they are, which is very important during pregnancy and breast feeding. The up side is that there are really pretty nursing bras (in the big cups) these days, so they are feminine and great to wear too.

How many maternity bras should I purchase?

From our point of view, the most important aspect for you is having a correctly fitted bra that is comfortable throughout the day (and night). In the first 2 Trimesters (up to 6 months), we recommend 2-3 bras that you can rotate, and during the last trimester another 1-2. We advise that, as long as your bras are fitting well and are comfortable, you try and wait until close to the end of your pregnancy before you have your last fitting. At this time we are able to gauge a better idea of your post delivery bra & band size.

Should I go for an A-frame or Side-Sling nursing bra?

Nursing bra’s have either an internal A-frame or side-sling support for feeding. This really is a matter of personal preference and what you find the most comfortable. The A-frame provides a triangle frame around the top of the breast when the cup is dropped down for feeding. This option provides more coverage and support so they are more suitable for larger bust sizes. The side sling cradles the bust from the side of the cup during feeding. As there is less coverage this option provides more skin-on-skin contact with your baby.

What makes maternity bras different to standard bras?

Most Maternity bras that we stock have no underwires (aside from flexi-wire maternity bras). Maternity bras usually have more hooks/eyes at the back of the band than standard bras, giving plenty of room to extend the band as your body changes. There are non-feeding (no clips) maternity bras and feeding/nursing bras available and they are all made with comfort in mind, cotton lined and comfy, soft fabrics, but still offer support and lift despite having no underwires.

How many cup sizes will I go up during pregnancy?

Every pregnant woman varies in their breast size, some ladies will change dramatically and others won’t. It is not uncommon to go up 2 or more cup sizes during pregnancy and 2 – 4 band sizes bigger (your diaphragm area will increase throughout pregnancy).

If I purchase a nursing bra in early pregnancy will it last me for after delivery?

When we fit you within the first 3 months we usually allow for some extra room in the cup and some room to expand the band at the back. As your pregnancy progresses your diaphragm area usually expands, meaning you will need to change to looser hooks/eyes on your bra. Along with the normal stretching of the band, this will give you a good amount of ‘wear’ from the first bra/s you purchase. At some point you may want another fitting (towards the end of your pregnancy) to ensure that you have a good fitting bra for your last month of pregnancy and first few months post delivery. If you need more bras after pregnancy, we recommend that if possible, wait until approx week 3. By this stage, your breasts would likely have ‘settled’ in size.

How do I look after my bras?

As with all of our bras/swimwear, we recommend that you either wash by hand or in a Lingerie Wash Bag in the washing machine (gentle cold-warm wash, no softeners or bleach). If you use a lingerie washbag, do up the bra hooks and ensure that the zip is properly fastened on the bag. Dry in a warm place, but do not use a tumble dryer (this WILL damage the bra).  Read more about Care Instructions.

*disclaimer-This information is purely from the point of view of Avokado, based on experience of individual staff members & feedback from customers. Please consult your Doctor or Midwife for any further information about breast care during and after pregnancy.