Maternity Bras 101

A maternity bra is a carefully designed bra made for wear during pregnancy.

It contains unique design elements that are incorporated to provide support, comfort and versatility to the wearer that are rarely found in a regular bra.

Maternity and nursing bras differ in one basic way. Nursing bras have clasps and slings allowing for easy access to the nipples for breastfeeding.

Infographic and text courtesy of Cake Maternity.

Maternity Bras 101 Infographic


Source: Maternity Bras 101 Infographic



Features of good maternity bras

  • Top cup stretch to allow for fluctuation or breast growth
  • Strength in the low cup to provide added support and lift
  • Reinforced shoulder straps for strength and support
  • 6 hooks and eyes for back band adjustment
  • Strong supportive back band
  • Cotton lined cups for comfort
  • Strong durable fabrics for added support

The ideal fit

Cake Lingerie Maternity Bras Sugar Candy Plus Size Seamless Nursing Bra

Above: Cake Lingerie Sugar Candy Plus Size Seamless Nursing Bra.

It is always advisable to go and get fitted from a professional bra fitter. This is particularly true during pregnancy, as most women will experience a sudden increase in breast size.

The most important thing to remember is that a bra should always feel comfortable and supportive. If a bra suddenly becomes uncomfortable it is likely that it is no longer a good fit. This is a sure sign you need a new bra.

Maternity Bras Tips:

  • Your breasts should be fully enclosed in the cups. No breast tissue should be spilling out the top or sides of the cups. Nor should the wire be sitting on the breast tissue.
  • There should be no large amounts of fabric wrinkling. This is a sure sign that the bra is fitting incorrectly and that the cups are not proving you with support.
  • The under band should be fitting firmly around the ribcage. It should not feel too tight nor should it be lifting away from the chest.
  • The back band should be fitted to the tightest hook and eyes when purchased at 3 months of pregnancy. This allows you room for growth as the rib cage expands.
  • The straps should sit comfortably on your shoulders. They should not feel too tight or loose. Remember that it is not the straps job to hold up your bust. In fact the back band takes on 80% of the support.

Maternity Bras 101: Types of maternity bras


Sports bras are designed to support during exercise. Tip: Pay careful attention to the type of sports bra you buy.

A seamless stretchy sports bra is ideal for low impact exercise such as yoga or walking and should not be worn for medium to high impact exercise as the stretchy nature of the fabric will not give you the much needed support.

Should you decide to be more active and participate in exercise such as running make sure you invest in a fully structured sports bra that will separate and support you effectively. This should contain, a flexible wire, sturdy contour fabric, breathable fabric to keep you cool, thick adjustable straps, wide back band, bounce minimizer panels, full cup coverage.


A plunge bra is better suited for a smaller bust. As it will not give you full breast coverage.
A plunge bra gives you plenty of cleavage ideal for wearing under pretty sundresses and summer tops.


This is a very popular style, as it will provide you with good coverage and support without covering over the entire breast. The Balcony styled bra is flattering for a small bust and larger bust and can be found in an assortment of different styles and designs.


A contour bra is the ideal bra for women who are looking for a smooth profile from underneath clothing. The foam pad provides some support and provide the wearer with a great shape.

Soft Cup

A soft cup is a popular option for women who do not want to add bulk to their bust. The soft cup will sit flush against the skin and mold to your natural shape of her body.


A sleep bra provides some support during sleep. This is particularly helpful during a time when you may have experienced a rapid increase in breast size and require some much needed support. A sleep bra should be soft, breathable, contain no hooks and eyes or adjustments that might cause irritation in the night.