Bra Fit & Your Pregnancy
Your breasts will change over the course of your pregnancy to prepare for nursing your baby, so it's important to make sure that you're wearing a comfortable and good supporting bra that fits you well. Many women will go up one, two or even more cup sizes during this time, and most women will find that their band size increases as their baby bump grows.
What to expect
1 First Trimester (0–12 Weeks)
Many women discover their pregnancy within the first 5 to 7 weeks and may notice that their breasts are already changing. Your breasts may be tender or sore, and your cup size may increase. For some, this is one of the first symptoms that alert them of pregnancy.
If you've recently found out that you're pregnant and your current bras are no longer fitting or comfortable, LACE recommends investing in at least two or three supportive everyday bras to see you through the next 6+ months. Be sure to allow for a little bit of room in the cup as it's possible your cup size may still increase. Purchase your bra in a sister size, one band size larger than you would need, and wear it on the tighter set of hooks so that as your baby bump grows and ribs expand, you can loosen the back band of the bra.
Breasts may be tender and sore making sleep uncomfortable. Wearing a non-wired bra, or a pyjama top with built in support may offer you support and comfort while you sleep. Should you choose a nursing bra, look for a design with stretch in the cup to accommodate size changes and has minimal structure as you may be able to wear this for the first few weeks of nursing. LACE bra fitters recommend waiting to purchase nursing bras, bras with clips to drop down the cups, until a few weeks before your baby is born, or after your milk comes in shortly after your baby arrives.
2 Second Trimester (13–28 weeks)
Your breasts will continue to change through the second trimester as your body prepares for the arrival of the baby. You may notice that your nipples and areola become larger and darker, your skin may be more sensitive and some women may also get stretch marks on their breasts.
If your bras are uncomfortable or too small in the cup, or too tight in the band, you may wish to invest in a few good everyday bras. Ensure that there is a small amount of room in the cup for any future growth and that you can comfortably wear the bra on the tighter set of hooks, allowing you to loosen the bra as your baby bump grows.
Some women notice a yellowish discharge of pre-milk, colostrum, from the nipples as early as the 16th week.
3 Third Trimester (29–40 weeks)
The baby bump is growing quickly, and if you have not yet re-fit yourself in new bras, you're likely getting rather uncomfortable. Your breasts may be getting larger and heavier, and a well-fitted and supportive bra will help take the weight off of your shoulders and your bump.
If your baby bump is sitting quite high, underwired bras may be uncomfortable, and press or the centre front between the cups may feel tight on your tummy. Look for bras without underwires, such as a non-wired nursing bra, or a bra with a raised underband at the centre front to prevent the bra from digging in at the top of the bump.
Bras purchased at this time may be too small once your milk comes in and your breasts are engorged. You may wish to leave a bit of room in the cup yet for more growth during the pregnancy, or for when the milk supply is ready after birth. The bra should be comfortable around the body, and some women prefer to purchase the bra on the loosest set of hooks closer to the end of their pregnancy so that they can tighten the back band after delivery. Bra extenders are suggested should the band feel too firm if your ribs continue to expand.
In the weeks just before delivery, some women purchase one to two nursing bra styles so that they have a bra available immediately for feeding. How much your size may change when the milk comes in is hard to predict. LACE bra fitters recommend you allow one to two cup sizes for growth, and don't forget nursing pads will need to be placed within the cup to absorb leaked milk.
The most important thing is to make sure that you're wearing a comfortable and well fitting bra throughout your pregnancy to support your breasts while they're changing size. Yes, you can continue to wear your favourite styles, including underwire bras, up until the baby arrives, at which point we suggest to switch to a nursing bra. If your current bra is uncomfortable, be sure to check your size and fit with the LACE Bra Fitting Guides, or contact us for more assistance.