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maternity bra buying guide

maternity buyers guide

Maternity bra buying guide

One of the first symptoms of pregnancy is a change in your breast size. This is why the maternity team at Mothercare works directly with midwives, experts and pregnant women to develop a wide product range that will help you through the different stages of pregnancy and nursing. We have expertise in all areas of lingerie from non-wired maternity to nursing bras along with our expert fitting advice, giving you the excuse to buy some lovely lingerie at this exciting time.

Maternity & Nursing Bra Guide

Bra Measuring & Fit Guide

When do I need my first maternity bra?

As soon as your current bras start to feel uncomfortable and your breasts become more sensitive it is time to move into a maternity bra. Breasts are supported by ligaments rather than muscle, making them susceptible to hormonal changes, so it's a good idea to get measured as soon as you know you're pregnant. Visit your local Mothercare store to get professionally fitted by our bra experts who are there to help.

Why wire free maternity support and nursing bras?

Many health care professionals will recommend that you avoid wearing wired bras during pregnancy. With all these rapid changes non-wired maternity bras won't dig into the sensitive breast tissue. A fully supportive non-wired bra will also help your breasts to retain their shape after your pregnancy and far beyond.

How many bras will I need?

This will depend totally on your body and your needs. Initially you will need to buy maternity bras. These will be maternity non-wired bras and we have plenty of choice including comfy, fashionable t-shirt bras to create that smooth look under clothing and our printed two packs that provide great value. Start by buying a couple of bras and see how you get on. You may need more, or you can wait until your breasts go up in size again to buy more.

At around 36-38 weeks you need to be thinking about buying your nursing bra which has drop down clips to make feeding your baby easier. If you visit your local store our trained bra fitters will be able to offer advice on the best bra to suit you and estimate your cup size in preparation for when your milk comes in.

Night time can be particularly uncomfortable for many women, which is why we have gentle supporting sleep bras available for you which will help support your increasing bust size as you sleep. Looking after your breasts now will have a positive long term effect in the future.

Below is a simple table for when you may need all these bras:

Pregancy stage 0 to 3 months 3 to 6 months 6 to 9 months After birth
Support bra yes yes yes no
Sleep bra maybe yes yes yes
Nursing bra no no yes (if you are breastfeeding) yes (if you are breastfeeding)
When to get measured yes yes yes (& for nursing bras around 36 weeks) yes (& for nursing bras around 36 weeks)

How often should I be measured?

As soon as you become uncomfortable in the bra you are currently wearing during pregnancy, and especially if you find your breasts are fluctuating in size, get yourself measured. Fluctuating in size is due to hormonal changes that your body is constantly undergoing and is completely normal. Breasts may increase by up to 2lb during pregnancy so it is important to get regularly checked to ensure your remain fully supported throughout. All our bra fitters in stores are trained to a high standard to help you find the right sized bra.

When fitting for a maternity bra you should start by fitting on the tightest hook to allow for your rib cage to expand with your baby. When fitting for a nursing bra use the loosest hook as your rib cage will decrease after you have had the baby.

What is the difference between a maternity non-wired bra vs a maternity nursing non-wired bra?

The difference at Mothercare is really the nursing functionality. Our maternity support and nursing bras have the same features and benefits however the main difference is the nursing clips. Nursing bras have drop cups and retainer straps to hold the strap in place whilst nursing your baby. The maternity support bras will be cheaper than the nursing bras as they do not have these nursing features. Some mums-to-be opt to get fitted for nursing bras throughout their pregnancy, because even once you have had your baby your bra size will fluctuate and will often reduce in size in the weeks and months after birth, so you may be able to wear them at two different stages in your parenting journey.

This table provides you with an outline of the key features and benefits of Mothercare's range:

Features of mothercare maternity bras Maternity support bra Maternity nursing bra
4 hook and eye adjustment - which allows the increased ability to remain comfortable as the baby grows and the body changes mothercare tick mothercare tick
100% cotton lined (2 packs only) mothercare tick mothercare tick
Enclosed inner cup seams- for additional comfort and to reduce the risk of irritation mothercare tick mothercare tick
Cotton lined cups for added comfort and protection against skin/nipple irritation mothercare tick mothercare tick
A curved centre front that has been gently shaped to accommodate your bump mothercare tick mothercare tick
Misplaced seams for added comfort (2 packs only) mothercare tick mothercare tick
Drop cups for easy nursing mothercare tick mothercare tick
Feeding retainer straps so the bra strap stays in place even when feeding mothercare tick mothercare tick
Soft but firm elastics to maintain comfort and support mothercare tick mothercare tick
Machine washable mothercare tick mothercare tick

What are maternity and nursing non-wired T-shirt bras?

Our non-wired maternity and nursing t-shirt bras have been designed with soft smooth moulded cups that are ideal for wearing under those slightly fitted tops. They've been designed for comfort which will also give you a great shape and the support you need whilst you are nursing.

What are maternity sleep bras?

Whilst pregnant you may find your breasts are more tender than normal and that you need additional but gentle support at night. Our maternity sleep bras are designed to be worn through pregnancy which means you will get a lot of wear out of them before the birth. Most women find that once they have their baby they need to wear a bra or sleep bra in bed to hold the breast pads in place (breast pads capture breast milk that leaks as you sleep).

Mothercare's maternity sleep bras are made from soft breathable natural fabrics. We have two different designs to suit your needs. They are not cup-sized like maternity bras, but sized 8-20. Simply use your dress size to determine which fits the best.

Below is a quick guide to the different types of maternity and nursing bras stocked by Mothercare.

Bra type Mothercare sells?
2 pack fashion nursing bras mothercare tick
2 pack fashion support bras mothercare tick
Single non-wired maternity support t-shirt bras mothercare tick
2 pack sleep bras mothercare tick
Fuller bust bras mothercare tick

If there is anything else you would like to know or questions you have that we haven't answered please feel free to contact us.

Remember pregnancy whizzes by, (although it doesn't feel like it at the time) so treat yourself to some new underwear to look and feel fabulous for the next nine months and beyond!