It's no secret that breast size fluctuates throughout life. If you are pregnant or nursing, your bra size will inevitably to fluctuate even more, which can make bra shopping even more of a challenge. During pregnancy, your breast tissue will increase by a few cup size increments. Your breast size and shape will also change after you give birth and if you plan to breastfeed.

Let's go through what you need to know about pregnancy bras, postpartum breast size, and when to buy a maternity bra.

Understanding Your Body's Changes by Trimester

Every woman's body is different and will therefore every woman will experience pregnancy differently. However it is generally safe to say that most women's cup size increases throughout pregnancy, and band size can also fluctuate.

During the first trimester, many women will experience breast growth. For this reason, we recommend re-measuring your bra size to ensure that you are wearing a comfortable and supportive bra. You may find that your old favorite bras no longer fit, or may start to dig into your rib cage or breast tissue.

Most women notice the largest increase in their growing breasts during the second trimester. Many women increase at least one band size and one or two cup sizes. You should invest in a good pregnancy bra like you do other maternity clothes. As opposed to your favorite pre-pregnancy bras, during this trimester your bra should fit comfortably on the tightest hook so you can loosen it as your pregnancy continues.

Your breast size will likely reach its peak during the third trimester. As your breasts and baby bump continue to grow, underwired bras may no longer feel comfortable, and you may find yourself reaching for your favorite sleep bra during the third trimester. Your breasts will likely remain this size during the immediate postpartum period, so it's a good idea to get fitted for a nursing bra as well. Nursing bras will become a part of your daily postpartum wardrobe.

After you give birth, your breast size will likely continue to fluctuate and may never revert to your pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding also impacts your breast size and shape.

Signs It's Time for a Maternity Bra Fitting

You should get fitted for nursing bras during your second or third trimester. A nursing bra is designed to provide comfort and support during your postpartum period. Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, a nursing bra is a great option for postpartum breasts as breast size can fluctuate greatly during this time.

A soft, wire-free everyday nursing bra is a great option as this style will be less restrictive on your breast tissue and will help you to avoid any clogged milk ducts.

Securing the Perfect Bra Fit

Like any bra, having the proper bra fit for a pregnancy bra or nursing bra is imperative. Your breasts are also incredibly sensitive during this time, so having a good fit becomes even more important.

How to Measure Yourself for a Maternity Bra

Finding Your Band Size and Cup Size

Glamorise's bra size calculator recommends measuring your band size directly above your bust. Wrap the tape measure around your back and chest going under the arms just above the bustline. Round to the nearest whole number.

Find your bra cup size by wrapping the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust. Once you have both your band and bust measurements, plug both into our bra size calculator. This will give you your best bra size.

Choosing the Right Support Level

Like your favorite everyday bras, maternity and nursing bras come in an array of support levels, and there are both underwired bra and wireless bra options.

Wired vs. Unwired Maternity Bras

If you're in search of the most comfortable maternity bras, we recommend a wire-free style. After baby arrives and during the postpartum period, you will likely be at home and want to be as comfortable as possible. Wireless bras are a great option for maternity bras and nursing bras as they are comfortable enough to sleep in, but also supportive enough to wear as an everyday bra. Some women also like to have extra breast pads in their nursing bras to prevent any breast milk leaks.

If you want more support while on the go, look for an underwired bra. Underwired nursing bras provide ample support to go about your day, while also being practical to wear while you are nursing.

Choosing the Right Type of Maternity Bras and Nursing Bras

When it comes to shopping for maternity bras, comfort and support should be at the top of your list. You will likely want your everyday nursing bra to be as comfortable as possible during postpartum and while you are breastfeeding. Some women prefer to wear wire-free maternity and nursing bras as they offer complete comfort. Other women prefer to wear underwired maternity bras to have support as they go about the day. There are also nursing sports bras that offer versatile support and with the added convenience of a nursing bra.

Comfort comes first, regardless of what your go-to maternity bra is. If underwired bras are the most comfortable for you, choose maternity bras with underwires. If you prefer the comfort of wire-free styles, go for soft cup nursing bras.

Concluding Thoughts

Your changing body during pregnancy means that your breast size and shape will also change. If you plan to breastfeed, these body changes will continue during the postpartum period. Having comfortable and supportive maternity bras is key to ensuring you feel your best through all of these changes.

About the Author

Maeve Gesualdi is a Fordham University alumna where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Fashion Studies. Based in New York City, Maeve is part of the marketing team at Glamorise. Maeve regularly interacts with customers via social media and product reviews, as well as with influencers and models. She is constantly getting feedback on our products as well as gaining a better understanding of what women in our category struggle with and/or look for when searching for a bra. Aside from writing, she is passionate about all things travel and fashion.

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