Maternity vs. Nursing Bras

Prepare yourself! You will probably need to purchase several different bra sizes during the next year or so. While it may seem very logical to choose a nursing bra that could be worn for nursing, rather than a maternity bra, early in your pregnancy, this may not be so practical. Many body changes occur during pregnancy. Not only does the uterus expand, but the rib cage expands as the whole skeletal structure begins to loosen in preparation for the birth of the baby. By the second trimester, the uterus has begun to push upward – more for some women than for others. That’s why most women find the rib cage measurement will grow by 2 to 4 inches during pregnancy.

Once the baby is born, the hormone levels change and the rib cage begins to shrink and return to its pre-pregnancy size. Milk production begins, and the breasts take on a whole new size. So the nursing bra purchased during pregnancy most likely will NOT fit in the rib cage or the cup size once the nursing features of the bra are ready to be put to use. In addition, most bras will be so stretched out that they would no longer provide adequate support.

Most maternity and nursing bras have a life of about 3-4 months because of the ongoing body changes occurring during pregnancy and nursing as well as the stretching and relaxing of the fibers of the bra. If you find the perfect fit in a nursing bra during pregnancy, bear in mind that it probably will not provide the best support when baby arrives because of the change in rib cage, breast size, and the natural stretching of the bra during wearing.

Maternity bra features:

  • More breast coverage to provide better support.
  • More back hooks to allow for adjustment with changing rib cage size.

Nursing bra features:

  • More breast coverage to provide better support
  • More back hooks to allow for adjustment with changing rib cage size.
  • Special openings that allow for convenient nursing access.
  • Various styles – center opening, pull-to-the-side, and top hooking.

Working with a professional, experienced bra fitter can save lots of money when trying to shop for bras. If a professional fitter is not available in your area, please call our toll free number 888-806-BRAS (2727) or email us for special assistance.