How to Choose a Maternity Bra

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How to Choose a Maternity Bra

Pregnancy can bring many changes to an expectant mother’s body. One of the first changes many women notice tends to be an increase in the size and the sensitivity of their breasts. It can even sometimes be the first indication of pregnancy itself. With growing, tender breasts, it is important to ensure they are fully supported with a comfortable maternity bra. This eBay guide will go through several factors that will help to choose the best maternity bra for an expectant mother’s changing body.

What Are Maternity Bras?

Maternity bras are specially designed bras that help keep the expectant mothers breasts supported throughout their pregnancy term. Women’s breasts tend to get enlarged and tender during pregnancy due to the influx of hormones that are designed to help the body prepare to carry and nurture the baby.

The hormones trigger an increase in the blood supply to the breasts and glandular development, resulting in the familiar feeling of ‘fullness’, particularly on the top and sides of the breasts. The hormones will continue to work after pregnancy to expand the glands in preparation breastfeeding once the baby arrives.

Difference between Maternity and Normal Bras

Maternity bras are designed specifically for a pregnant woman’s breasts. They expand with the breasts without cutting into the skin, and have an integrated support system for the expanding breast. They are often lined with a soft, non-irritant fabric and should be made from a similar material. They have wide, padded straps to ease strain on the neck and back.

It is recommended to avoid underwired bras during pregnancy, to allow for expansion, and to accommodate the changing shape. Wired bras are more likely to interfere with the natural changes in the growth and shape of the breasts, digging into the breast tissue, obstructing blood flow, affecting lymphatic drainage into and out of the breasts, and compressing the developing milk ducts.

As such, most maternity bras are non-wired; however, wired maternity bras are widely available, as some women prefer the better shape and support offered by underwire for heavier breasts. If choosing an underwired bra, pick one that has a soft, flexible underwire, which is widely placed and does not touch the breast tissue. It is advisable to own at least one non-wired bra for when the breasts are fully engorged or when more comfort is desired.

Why Wear Maternity Bras?

It is important to wear properly fitted maternity bras instead of simply opting for a larger normal bra to accommodate the changes in the breasts. Maternity bras prevent the breasts from drooping and the skin from sagging as milk ducts develop. Breasts are particularly susceptible to the hormonal changes because they are made of ligaments instead of muscles, which tend to soften and stretch during pregnancy.

It is recommended to measure for and purchase several different maternity bras, as most women gradually move between 2 to 4 cup sizes during the nine months of pregnancy. Most women start to notice an increase in breast size in the first few weeks of pregnancy, with the biggest increase in breast size occurring in the first three months. Regularly check the bras and get fitted for a new bra as soon as discomfort is experienced, to ensure the breasts have the support they need.

How to Choose a Maternity Bra

Below are some things to consider when choosing a maternity bra:


It is recommended to get fitted by an experienced professional to find a bra that provides the maximum level of comfort and support. A bra fitting service is usually free and is likely to be offered at most local maternity retailers.

If measuring at home, try on the best fitting bra on the loosest hook and follow these steps to find the current, correct size:

· If the band feels too tight, the bottom of the bra is lifting away from the rib cage and if the breasts are falling out of the bottom of the cups, the band size is likely to be too small – it should be firmly anchored to the body. Try a bra with a bigger band size but go down a cup size.

· If the band is riding up at the back and the bust is sagging, the under-band elastic is likely too loose. Try a bra with a smaller band size, but go up a cup size.

· If there are marks on the shoulders where the straps are, the straps are taking too much of the weight. Support must come from the under-band, not the straps. Try a bra with a smaller band size, but go up a cup size.

· If breasts are spilling out the front or sides of the bra, the cups are too small. Go up a cup size.

To measure with a measuring tape, wear a well-fitting non-padded bra on the loosest hook. One can find band size by measuring tightly underneath the breasts, and cup size can be found by measuring across the fullest part of the bust. Most manufacturers provide a calculator or sizing chart that can be used once these measurements are found.

Essentials of a Maternity Bra

A well-designed maternity bra will have the following characteristics:

· Support: Bras should have wide, cushioned and non-stretch shoulder straps, deep sides, wide and supportive under-bust bands, and a deep centre at the front. Ensure the straps are elastic and firm to eliminate bounce and give extra support. The bra should feel like it is supporting the breast without back or shoulder discomfort.

· Coverage: Ensure there is as much fabric as possible covering the breasts, both at the sides and at the décolletage for better comfort, as the breasts become more sensitive.

· Adjustability: Buy a bra with a minimum of four rows of hook and eyes to allow adjustments as the breast grows, so to attain optimum comfort and flexibility in fit. When getting fitted, wear it on the tightest row, and move it back row by row when needed.

· Comfort: the material should feel soft on the skin and non-abrasive. Cotton is by far the best for ultimate comfort, whilst synthetic fibres are being specially designed for better breathability. Cotton is soft and lets the skin breathe, which is beneficial during hormonal temperature changes.

Some Important Considerations

· Avoid buying a bra that leaves too much room for future growth, as it will not give the proper support. It’s better to have regular fittings as the breasts develop.

· Buy three maternity bras – one to wear, one to wash and one for tomorrow to ensure a fresh, clean bra is available every day.

· To minimise irritation, look for bras with mostly cotton components, without seams over the nipples.

· Ensure there is between a half and a full cup’s worth of growing room, by placing a hand inside the cup when trying it on, to make sure it gives slightly. As such, it is also recommended when buying online to find out the sizing systems of the bras listed, and get fitted properly to avoid disappointment after purchase.

· If choosing a new maternity bra during the later stages of pregnancy, get one that fits on the last set of hook and eyes so that it can be made smaller after birth, as the rib cage decreases in size. This is also a good time to buy a nursing bra, or a maternity bra specially designed drop-feeding cups or clips for convenient breastfeeding.

How to Buy Maternity Bras on eBay

Following these simple steps to buying maternity bras on eBay:

· It is important to get properly measured to avoid disappointment after purchase. Have the measurements on hand before starting shopping.

· If the buyer knows what brand or type they want, they can simply type in the details in the search bar at the top of the screen. For a general result, simply type in ‘maternity bras’ in the search bar.

· To ‘Shop By Category’, find the drop-down menu near the eBay logo, or use the left hand sidebar to find the maternity bra section.

· For a general bra search, go to Fashion, which turns automatically into ‘Clothing, Shoes & Accessories’, then go to Women’s Lingerie, Intimates and then Bras and browse the listings. It’s likely that maternity bras will be among the listings.

· Otherwise, go to the Baby category, then Maternity Clothing, then Bras for maternity-specific bras.

· The listings can be narrowed using the following options: ‘Format’, ‘Size’, ‘Colour’, ‘Brand’, ‘Material’, ‘Product Type’, ‘Condition’, ‘Price’ and ‘Item Location’.

· Maternity bras may be found in eBay’s recommended products. Go to the eBay deals page from the top of the screen, then to Fashion & Beauty, then Women’s Clothing and go down to Women’s Underwear for maternity bras.


With the help of this guide, and eBay’s large range of maternity bras, buying well-fitted, supportive bras can be one of the simpler aspects of the pregnancy experience. With the many changes that affect the body, it is important to ensure the clothing fits perfectly and supports the mother’s body through the changes. Buying the right maternity bra can go a long way towards comfort during pregnancy, leaving the mother free to enjoy the new arrival to their life.

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