Pregnant women are baffled as to when to wear maternity clothing. The question is, are they a waste of money, or are they a blessing? However, I’m pregnant, and I wanted to learn how to properly measure for a maternity bra in order to discover some that are more comfortable than my regular bras. There you have it!
In order to discover how to measure for your maternity bra, put on a bra that isn’t padded or compressive and then take a tape measure across your breasts at the fullest place. Cup size and ribcage measurement are two different things, yet they’re related.
What’s the matter with you? Let me dissect this a bit more.
Measuring Yourself vs. a Professional Fitting vs. Using a Maternity Bra Calculator
The following are the three most common methods for determining your bra size:
- Get a professional bra fitting at a lingerie shop (this is our favorite option)
- Do the math yourself with a tape measure and a ruler.
- Use a pregnancy bra calculator online to get an accurate fit.
For those who haven’t been fitted before, or who feel they’ve been using poorly-fitting bras, a professional fitting is worth the investment. The fitters at maternity clothes and underwear stores are well-versed in how the breasts alter and develop throughout pregnancy and after, so they can give you a more accurate picture of what to expect when you go shopping for these items.
In addition, every woman is unique; two 36C women, for example, may have very different needs and desires when it comes to bras. Good fitters are knowledgeable about their inventory and can help you choose the right size for your body and preferences, regardless of what the label says.
How to Measure Your Bra Size
Not all people have access to professional fittings, however–which is why I’m writing this article! Here’s a step-by-step guide to figuring out how much you weigh:
Wear an Unpadded Bra
It’s a good idea to measure yourself while wearing a bra, but make sure it’s not one that’s padded or too tight, like a sports bra.
Use a Tape Measure
Measure twice with a tape measure. Located near the bottom of your rib cage, just below your bust line. This is the band size you need. Measure around the fullest region of your breast, horizontally and usually right at the nipple line, for the second measurement
Both measures should be taken with the measuring tape held firmly but not forcibly. It’s your cup size that’s the difference between your larger measurement and the band size. For instance:
- An “A cup” is a 1-inch difference.
- A B cup has a 2 inch difference.
- A C cup is defined as a 3″ difference in height.
- A D cup has a 4″ variation in cup size.
- So it goes on!
When it comes to cup sizes, there’s a wide range of options available. As a result, regardless of the bra’s stated size, you should pay close attention to the bra’s actual quality and how well it fits you. Bra sizes can be large or small, much like other clothing items.
Alternatively, you can use a maternity bra calculator like this one to help you figure out how big your bra should be.
How Do I Know If My Maternity Bra Fits Correctly?
Here’s how a bra’s fit is checked by experts:
- You should try your bra on under your clothes and make sure that it fits properly when you are standing and sitting.
- You should be able to pass two fingers beneath the band comfortably without any discomfort. The straps should also be dragging it up towards your shoulder blades, making it sit horizontally beneath your breasts.
- You should be able to slide two fingers comfortably beneath the straps, and they should not dig into your skin.
- In addition, the cups should be well-fitting, with no excessive overhang, pulling away from your ribs, or large gaps. In the middle, between the cups, you want to have a smooth surface against your sternum.
In addition to being functional, your maternity bra should be comfortable and tailored to your daily routine. As a result, many women avoid using underwire bras, as they find them to be uncomfortable. As an alternative, they favor bras made of supportive mesh, foam, or molded cups.
Consider the material’s suppleness as well. Lace, for example, is a fabric that many people find to be both beautiful and irritating at the same time.
When Should I Start Wearing a Maternity Bra?
The reality about pregnancy bra sizing is that you don’t actually require one. Right on cue, sir! During my investigation, I learned that there is no such thing as a pregnancy bra. In place of nursing bras, the maternity label is used to indicate that the bra can be worn throughout pregnancy.
As a result, expect to see substantial changes in your breasts during your pregnancy. They’ll get heavier and more tender, and you may even find yourself needing a bra that can handle pads at the conclusion of your pregnancy.
If you used to let the ladies roam free without a bra, you may now find yourself reaching for one because you need the added support. Most experts agree that getting a bra fitting during your second and third trimesters, or approximately every six to eight weeks, is a good idea.
However, if your existing bra is making you feel self-conscious, it’s time to get fitted for a new one.
What’s the Difference Between a Maternity Bra and a Nursing Bra?
If you start looking for a maternity bra, you’ll likely be confused by how often you get handed nursing bras. “I’m not nursing yet,” you might think or, “I don’t plan on nursing at all.” The truth is, as I’ve mentioned, there’s no such thing as a maternity bra.
In your search for a maternity bra, you’ll likely be perplexed by the frequency with which you’ll be presented with nursing bras. “I’m not yet a nurse,” or “I don’t intend to become a nurse in the future.” In reality, there is no maternity bra, as I have previously stated.
The main difference between a nursing bra and other bras is a clip on the front that makes it easier to nurse while wearing one. As strange as it may sound, nursing bra clips aren’t a hindrance if you’re not breastfeeding, and many women find them so supportive and comfortable that they wear them even if they aren’t pregnant or nursing, so you may want to give them a try.
What to Look for in a Maternity Bra
In my experience, a maternity label doesn’t guarantee a bra will perform effectively for a pregnant woman. They exploit the designation as a pretext to raise their prices for less helpful companies.
As a result, it’s critical that you take action and thoroughly evaluate the bras you’re considering. Look out for the following:
- For both comfort and to accommodate your expanding breasts, breathable, stretchy textiles are essential. This extends the life of your bras. Consider the difference between a sports bra, which compresses, and a nursing bra, which is designed to be supportive while accommodating changes in size.
- While cotton is usually a wonderful option, the top bra producers are increasingly using combinations that are both robust and breathable. If you want to avoid materials containing harmful chemicals, look for producers who adhere to rigorous manufacturing standards.
- Because they distribute your weight across your back and shoulders, racerbacks and t-backs usually provide more support. Also, wide straps are preferable to narrow ones, which can be downright uncomfortable.
- Do not be frightened to wear maternity and nursing bras without underwires. In the recent decade, bra technology has advanced dramatically.
- Specialty bras like sports and sleeping bras should also be used, as they can help alleviate the discomfort of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Good pregnancy or nursing sports bras will help you keep up with an active lifestyle for as long as possible, especially if you sleep on your side.
The most important thing is that you’re comfortable in whatever bra or bras you choose. Focus on choosing a fit and fabrics that make you feel good throughout the duration of your months, rather than obsessing over the restrictions.
Finding the Best Nursing Bras
With our Ultimate BodyFit Maternity and Nursing Bra, you’ll be able to nurse with one hand and enjoy the convenience of drop-down cups and one-handed nursing clips once you find your perfect fit. This nursing and maternity bra also offers additional back support and is stretchable to accommodate your changing size throughout your pregnancy and after delivery.
Medela’s maternity and nursing attire is made to satisfy your specific requirements at all times of the year, not only throughout the course of a single day. In addition to keeping you comfortable, our pregnancy and nursing bras are convenient because they allow you to pump or breastfeed as often as necessary. Medela is happy to give parents all around the world with superior fit, comfort, and functionality as you embark on your breastfeeding adventure.
When should I fit & buy a nursing bra?
- A little over eight months into the pregnancy.
What are the common fit issues to avoid?
- The back band is either too loose or too tight.
- There are too many straps or they are too slack (cutting in).
- Breast tissue is restricted by cup sizes that are either too little or too large (gaping).
How can I tell if my nursing bra is fitted correctly?
- The back band is designed to sit flat against the back and not rise. You don’t want it to be too tight or too loose.
- The cups of your bra should completely enclose your busts. There should be no wrinkling in the fabric, and the breasts should not spill out of the top, sides, or bottom of the cups.
- The bra cup should be smooth and the wire should sit perfectly under and around the breasts. The most crucial aspect of a bra is how it feels.
How many nursing bras do I need?
- Having at least three nursing bras on hand is recommended. To wear, to wash, and to keep in the drawer.
What’s the best nursing bra for me??
- This is entirely up to you in terms of personal taste and way of living.
- As a sleep bra or a transitional bra, seamless bras are great. Whether your breasts are growing or fluctuating, these bras will accommodate your changing needs with ease and flexibility.
- Contour bras are perfect for women who wear a lot of T-shirts and want a bra that provides a smooth profile from under their apparel.
- Sports bras are designed specifically for exercise. They contain more support structures to support breasts during high to low impact exercise.
- Sports bras are specifically made for working out in. During high- to low-impact exercise, they have more support structures to keep breasts in place.
- Exercise is the primary function of a sports bra, which is why they are called sports bras. As a result, these bras have a greater capacity to support breasts during high- to low-impact exercise.