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Bra Fitting During Pregnancy: Keeping Up With All That Change!

2012 July 5

Let’s talk some more about pregnant boobs!

Last week I showed you how my breasts had changed from the first trimester to week 33 of my third trimester and gave the actual measurements of how they changed. But keeping up with all that in bras? Now that’s been a learning experience, so I wanted to share some of the tips and hints I’ve gotten from professional bra fitters for pregnancy along the way and how they worked for me, as well as a few things I discovered, too.

(PS: I know I promised to post this last week, but my brain died last Thursday–thank you, Baby StackDD+! It seems it has finally returned to functional today. Thank you, God!)

Tip #1:

Look for bras with soft, stretchy cups that feel good on *and* can accommodate some increase in your cup size!

First thing? These puppies are sensitive! Not only are they tender to the touch in the first trimester, but you might also have other sensitivities, which took me by surprise! For example, my underbust has been more sensitive to itchy or scratchy materials or wires that don’t feel as comfy as others. I wondered if this was, well, normal, and asked Linda from Linda’s Bra Shop about it–and it’s totally to be expected:

“Pregnant women tend to be more sensitive. Both emotionally (hello, tears during a commercial for no reason) and physically. Breasts get tender, skin gets sensitive, the body is adjusting to a new norm and hormones may change what you’re used to.”

So, she has several go-to soft, comfy bras that she likes for pregnancy that feel good against more sensitive skin. The bonus? These often have more stretchy material that work well as “transition” bras: those, Linda says, that can get you through to your next size. What I’ve experienced is that those with stiffer cups aren’t as forgiving when your cup size starts to change.

A couple of “transition” bras I found:
Fantasie 4520: My old stand-by when I still fit into the size range. It has very stretchy cups that saw me through cup fluctuation during weight loss prior to pregnancy, and it helped me get a few weeks into my second trimester while I was waiting to get bras in my new smaller band/bigger cup size from my Skype fitting (the Ewa Michalak PL Black in a 30/65H and then my Panache Cleo Chloe in a 28J).  ($60; UK sizes 30-38 D-G, 34-38C, 40 D-F)
Panache Andorra: The lace looking material on the cups of this bra is actually a surprisingly soft stretch lace that felt wonderful on my breasts and would be able to accommodate fluctuation in cup size so you don’t bulge out the top. It was too wide in the wires for me personally which I really mourned! I was dying to wear this bra. Chyrstal at By Baby’s Rules also found this bra to be great for pregnancy. ($62; UK sizes 28-42 D-J)


And Linda’s favorite “transition” bras for pregnancy. (Note: several are US brands; I’ve listed US and UK sizes; Linda’s comments in quotes!):

Fantasie Esme: $60, UK sizes 30DD-H, 32-38 D-H, 40D-GG


Wacoal Basic Beauty Full Coverage Underwire: “This has straps that go in slightly in the back for comfort and support.” ($48, US sizes 32D-G, 34-42C-H, 44C-G/UK sizes 32D-F, 34C-FF, 44C-F)


Anita Twin Range Seamless Underwire: “A real favorite for pregnant and non pregnant women alike. Soft straps, yummy stretchy material.” ($69, US sizes 30D-H, 32-40B-H, 42B-F, 44B-E; UK sizes 30D-FF, 32-40 B-FF, 42B-E, 44B-DD)


Anita Alicia Underwire: “Another good Anita. Not as stretchy as the others, but still so soft smooth and supportive.” ($69, US sizes 30D-H, 32-42B-H, 44B-F; UK sizes 30D-FF, 32-42 B-FF, 44B-E)


Le Mystere Whisper Bra: $64, US sizes 32-40 C-G; UK sizes 32-40 C-F

Non-underwire/soft cup maternity bras

You can also try non-underwire maternity bras for comfort. The options in 30 & under bands in higher cup ranges (H+) are more limited (see my reviews of the available styles here) and I struggled to find one that give me a decent shape with my particular breast type (full on top, very close set breast tissue) but I found the Freya Dotty and Freya Kelly the best of the available options and used these for travel and lounge bras. Linda’s recommends any of her DD+ non-underwire maternity bras (ranging from 30-46 bands and DD-K cups).

Tip #2:
Try a bra extender to help you make do between sizes.

Claire at Butterfly Collection suggested this as an easy way to get you through to your next bra size when the band starts to feel a little too tight. I found these useful when my Cleo Chloe band started feeling too small and it took me a few weeks to find my next bra. Joann’s Fabric sells these for about $3; just make sure you buy ones with the right number of rows of hooks for your bras (2, 3, or 4)!

Tip #3:

Claire, Linda, and Bravissimo all recommended buying bras that fit on the tightest hook to start so that you can leave room for ribcage growth. Linda mentioned that fitting on the middle hook works, too.

This helped me stay in my bras longer, and guess what that means? Less $$$ spent! Hurrah.

Tip #4:

Buy just a couple bras at a time, but take care of them so they last as long as you need them to!

Linda’s no-nonsense approach to bras during pregnancy?

“I suggest buying 2-3 bras in the current size at a moderate price. If you can swing $85 a bra, fabulous! But don’t spend junior’s college fund on transitions bras since they’ll only fit for a short time. I suggest spending about $40 a bra and since you’re only rotating 3 (instead of the usual 5 or more) they will be worn out by the time you need a new size. Estimate ‘up’ if you’re in between sizes, start on the middle or tightest hook, HAND WASH, rotate them and be gentle – don’t put them on the wrong way and stretch them out or ruin the underwire. Read here for more tips on helping bras last longer.”


Hopefully these tips help get you going on what to expect with bras during pregnancy, what types of bras make staying in the right size easier, and how to stretch your bras to last as long as possible. I didn’t always get pregnancy bras right, though. In my next post, I’ll cover some advice I got that didn’t work for me and some alternatives that did.



My How They’ve Grown: Boob Changes In Pregnancy

DD+ Solutions: Bravissimo Strappy Tank Tops with Built-In Bras

What I Wore: Trying Stripes with Blazers for Easy Full DD+ Bust Maternity Outfits

What I Wore: The Scarf Question, Plus Making a Non-Maternity Dress Work in My Third Trimester with a DD+ Bust


4 Responses Post a comment
  1. July 10, 2012

    Fabulous tips! Something else to consider when buying bras for the transitional period is whether or not they are bandless, i.e., they do not have any extra fabric beneath the underwire. Some women tend to carry the baby high, and the extra fabric at the bottom can flip up or press inward. In some cases, it can be essential to buy a non-wire bra for just this reason. Additionally, if at all possible, I recommend making one of your transition bras a non-wire because it will give you something to wear post-delivery but pre-nursing bra as underwire will be out of the question. Great article!

    • Sarah permalink
      July 11, 2012

      Thanks for your input, Erica! Great insight.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. A Fitting Gone Wrong: Pregnancy Fit Issues and How To Avoid Them! | StackDD+
  2. What I Wore: Bras, Pregnancy Edition, and How to Save Money | StackDD+

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