As you get older, you come to realize that bra shopping is no joke. Gone are the days when you could roll up into Walmart and buy a bra that you thought was cute and not give it a second thought. These days, support is crucial. And when you get pregnant? Well, shopping for the best maternity bras gets even more complicated because, well, your boobs HURT.
Why? Well, as your hormones shift during pregnancy, you’re likely to go up a cup size or two. Along with this growth, you’ll also probably experience tenderness, pain, and itchiness as your breasts get ready for baby.
Suffice it to say that you’re going to WANT a good bra that will support you as your breasts change. We’ve been there, and we’ve compiled a list of the best maternity bras out there.
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Tips for Choosing the Best Maternity Bras
If you’re stumped about when to buy a maternity bra (do you buy one when you see the two pink lines? Or when your boobs start to hurt?), we’ve got some tips for you.
When to Buy A Maternity Bra
Many women experience enlarged breasts in the first trimester of pregnancy, so if your current cup size is uncomfortable, you can go ahead and buy a new bra, but don’t assume that you’ll stay this size.
We recommend only buying one or two in the first trimester, as you’ll continue to grow as your pregnancy progresses. If you experience breast tenderness during the first trimester, we also recommend getting one sleep bra for your current size (more on sleep bras in a bit).
During the second and third trimesters, your breasts will get fuller and heavier. This is when we recommend investing in great maternity bras that will lead you into the postpartum period and breastfeeding, if that’s the route that’s best for you and baby.
Choosing a Size
One of our absolute favorite brands for new mamas, Kindred Bravely, has a great graphic for measuring yourself for a nursing and maternity bra.
If at any point you need a little more breathing room, you can always buy a simple bra extender to help! These work with bras that have a back clasp and will keep you from having to buy an entirely new bra just because you need a little extra width.
When buying a maternity bra online, always refer to size charts. It’s annoying, we know, but they’re there for a reason and can make a huge difference in getting a bra that fits properly.
Choosing a Style
Style is largely up to you, mama.
If you’re one of those women who likes to wear frilly, lacy bras that match your underwear, we salute you.
If you’re anything like me, comfort is QUEEN. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good lacy bra for a fancy occasion, but during pregnancy and postpartum, I’m not interested in anything that might be itchy or even vaguely uncomfortable, so my style reflects that.
The good news is that you don’t really have to sacrifice comfort for style these days. Brands like Kindred Bravely have tons of cute options, like this Something Sweet Nursing Bundle that will cover all of your style, functionality, AND comfort needs.
Back Clasp Style
When choosing a maternity bra, think about the ease of putting it on as your belly grows and after baby comes, at least imagining the possibility of a c-section scar.
It’s for this reason that many mamas say the best maternity bras don’t have back clasps; they’re just too hard to put on.
Many of maternity bras that pull over your head also have a clasp you can adjust for support and comfort, so those offer a good alternative.
But if you’re super busty, it may benefit you to have 1 or 2 bras that clasp in the back simply because they often provide better support. Read reviews (and what we have to say below) to make the best decision for you.
Personally, I’m a 36E when I’m not pregnant. I had one back-clasp pregnancy bra and wore it the least because of the difficulty of getting it on as my belly grew, but it was nice to have with work clothes. Otherwise, I like bras that pulled over my head.
Pay attention to stretch based on your preferences for comfort and support.
You want stretch in the cups of maternity bras so that the bra can grow with you, but too much stretch often means a lack of support.
The larger your chest, the more finding this happy balance matters. We’ve tried to recommend bras that give support and also have stretch in the cups, but pay attention to our descriptions to make sure you’re choosing the best bras for your needs.
Bras That Will Work for Nursing
If you plan to breastfeed or are even considering the possibility, we recommend buying nursing bras so you can wear them during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Double duty!
Best Bras for Pregnancy
When choosing a pregnancy bra, a common question that comes up is underwire vs. no underwire.
No underwire is definitely the most common, especially because many mamas continue to wear maternity bras after baby is born, and nursing bras typically don’t have an underwire because they can lead to clogged milk ducts.
But if you need more support or just want it during pregnancy, an underwire bra can be a great choice.
We’ve divided our recommendations by whether or not they have an underwire, just to make this simple for you.
This is the most common option and was my personal favorite. Even as a busty mama who really needs the support of an underwire, I just couldn’t stand the discomfort during pregnancy, so wireless worked best for me.
I lived in this bra when I was pregnant. Not exaggerating. There’s a reason it’s won SO many awards.
It’s won the following: “Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) Award Winner, Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Winner, What to Expect Must Have Nursing Bra Finalist, Experienced Mommy Best Product,” according to the Kindred Bravely website.
We love the nylon/spandex blend for comfort, ease of use, and flexibility (as your body will change SO MUCH during pregnancy).
It’s great for women of all sizes, but if you’re super busty, know that the support will be moderate. For more support, we recommend the Kindred Bravely Sublime bra.
Perfect for women with small to average-sized chests, mamas everywhere rave about this bra. I personally haven’t used it because I’m too busty, but it’s such a reader-recommended favorite that it was clear it needed to be at the top of the list.
Mamas go on and on about the soft, comfortable flexibility of this bra, and how easy it is to nurse in without dealing with clasps. It has adjustable straps and provides light support.
Larger chested? No worries. Check out the full-cup version.
When they say seamless, they mean it, and it’s obvious from the name that it has clasps on the straps for easy nursing access.
Pro tip: when they say hand wash, they mean it. Reviews say that it looks worn if you machine wash it, even on delicate.
A fan favorite that you can find at Target (always worth bonus points, in our book!), this is probably one of the most popular maternity bras out there. And it’s popular for a reason.
Moms can’t get enough of the the soft comfort, the fact that it’s available in a variety of sizes, and that it gives moderate support. It doesn’t squeeze you too tightly, but it does hold you up.
Best of all, it’s available in all the sizes you could possibly want!
When I wasn’t hanging out in my Kindred Bravely Simply Sublime bra, it’s because I was wearing this bra.
It’s incredibly comfy, as supportive as I could hope for as an E-cup (more supportive is available, but not without squeezing me uncomfortably), and versatile enough to work with different tops.
I also loved that it supported me through breastfeeding. In reviews, moms note the comfort of this bra, and how it supports their ever-changing pregnant and postpartum bodies.
A fan favorite with stellar reviews, this bra is fantastic for mamas who want an affordable option that will get them through both pregnancy and postpartum.
It’s a machine washable nylon/spandex blend, which also means it’s stretchy enough to grow with you.
It clips down for easy breastfeeding access, and it’s ideal for average-sized chests. For larger chests, check out the “full busted” version.
If you want the support of an underwire, your options are fewer, but still very good. Here are our very favorite underwire maternity bras!
Full-coverage, super supportive, and available for a great price, it’s no wonder women looooveeee this bra.
Unlike most of my favorite maternity bras, it’s handwash only, but with an underwire and cup padding, I think that’s an understandable, not-so-difficult request.
It’s also a fanatic option for women who don’t plan to breastfeed because it’s not made to be a nursing bra. So it can carry you into postpartum without dealing with clips that might come down, even though you aren’t nursing!
Let me just be really upfront with you here: Cake Maternity makes amazing bras for pregnancy and postpartum. I loved them.
This is the only underwire bra I could tolerate during pregnancy, and the wire is so soft that it’s supposedly also breastfeeding-safe, though I admittedly didn’t try it once I was nursing.
Moms can’t stop talking about the comfort and support provided by this bra that is both comfortable and, get this–pretty! It’s also available in every size you can imagine, which is a huge win.
The Best Maternity Bras for Plus Sizes
If you’re a full figured beauty or have especially large breasts, you know the bra struggle all too well.
Finding the right bra is basically a massive celebration, especially if you can find it without having to sell your car to pay for it.
And with that struggle already being oh-so-real, we all know it only gets crazier when we start searching for maternity bras to support our heavy busts. The good news is, I’m in that busty category, so I can speak to this problem from experience and tell you what I loved.
While most Kindred Bravely products come in sizes that are designed to accommodate plus-size bodies (yay for inclusivity!), this is my favorite of their bras for large chests because it has better support than you often find in a bra that doesn’t have an underwire.
This bra is incredibly comfortable, and it has adjustable straps. I love that it pulls over your head so you aren’t stretching your pregnant shoulders to clasp the back. This bra is an award winner for a reason!
Storq makes amazing products, and this bra is no exception.
The wide band provides extra support; the fabric is very giving so the bra can grow with you. AND it clips down to provide breastfeeding access after baby is born.
I love that the strap adjustment is on the front, so it’s easy to keep this bra fitting perfectly without breaking your shoulders. Mamas rave about the soft comfort of this bra, and how well it keeps up.
This is the only bra I wore while pregnant that clasped in the back, and I really liked having that more traditional fit and support for work clothes or nights out.
You can only wear what seems like a sports bra for so many occasions, you know?
If it fits correctly, this bra is supportive, but I see many women buy too large a cup size anticipating breast growth, only to complain about the lack of support.
So please, I beg of you, pay attention to the size chart.
Mamas love the extra thick band and the fact that the wires are nestled in them, so you barely feel the underwire. This is a super comfortable, high quality bra.
Okay, mama, I’m going to be honest on this one. We’ve included this bra on our list because it has some MAJOR pros that make it amazing.
It’s incredibly comfortable, designed for G to J cups (WHAT?), and is an easy pullover design. Mamas love it. They rave about it. They say it’s amazing.
But there is one bigtime con: it’s dry clean only. And while we don’t need to wash our bras that often, I struggle to imagine sending a maternity bra to the dry cleaner.
So here’s my tip. If you love this bra, get 2 so you don’t miss it while you’re dry cleaning the other one!
An affordable, comfortable, and beloved bra, this is the big sister of the ever-popular seamless clip down. The difference? Bust size and support.
The photo doesn’t show it, but this bra is made to support large-chested mamas throughout their pregnancies and postpartum. It clips down for easy breastfeeding access and receives thousands of amazing reviews.
The Best Maternity Bras for Sports Bra Lovers
If you’re like me, you hate it when you leave the house and have to put on an actual bra. I live in sports bras, and I did when I was pregnant, too. Here are my favorites…
We love this bra so much, we listed it twice; both as a good plus-size maternity bra AND as a maternity sports bra.
It’s amazingly comfortable and offers the perfect support for light activities like prenatal yoga. If you’re looking for full support, read on!
This was my go-to sports bra for medium-impact sports during pregnancy. I wouldn’t call it a high impact bra, but it’s definitely supportive and comfortable, despite the underwire.
I’m told it works for high impact for women who are under a C-cup, but as a bustier mama, it was definitely medium-impact for me!
Be careful to follow the size chart because sports bras need to fit correctly to be appropriately supportive. If your bra is too loose, obviously size down.
This amazing bra is designed specifically for active moms and comes in sizes ranging from the smallest to 3XL (that’s up to an H cup!). We love its support, adjustable straps, and convertible back.