For many expectant moms, the booby fairy waves her magic wand around 16 weeks. That's when your breasts pop and begin to grow beyond the confines of their carefully chosen sleek and sexy bondage. Intimate apparel is carefully chosen and proudly worn—having the rules rewritten for breasts gone wild is no fun. But when you start to outgrow your cups and set your rib band to the last pair of hooks, it's time for a maternity bra.
Specially-constructed and often fitted by professionals in-the-know, maternity bras offer support and comfort that your luxury lingerie just can't match. Like your maternity clothes, maternity bras may cost more than what you are used to spending, but you're not going to do yourself any favors by buying a bigger size in your regular bra to save yourself some money. The design and construction of a regular bra won't provide the support necessary for your pregnant breasts.
You may be used to picking out the perfect bra for those romantic nights with your partner, but those tips and tricks don't really apply to maternity bras. Consider approaching a store that specializes in maternity bras and ask them to fit you. A professional fitter can help you make the appropriate choice.
Maternity bras are available with or without underwire. If you didn't wear underwire before pregnancy, there is no reason to start now. Women love or hate underwire at the best of times –stick with what's comfortable rather than introducing what could be a new form of torture.
Your rib cage expands while pregnant and your baby may curl up right under your ribs, forcing them outwards. You will need to measure around your body, just under your arms, to figure out your band size. If the measurement is an uneven number, round up to the next even number—band sizes are even numbers only and you don't want a tight maternity bra.
Your cup size also increases as your breasts swell in preparation for nursing. To ensure an accurate cup size you need to take a bust measurement. Measure your chest around the fullest part of your bust keeping the measuring tape level all around your body. The difference in inches between the band size and the bust size determines your cup size.
Once you have determined the proper size, pick a bra and try it on. This is the only way you can be sure that you've found a bra that fits comfortably. If the cups cover your breasts with no spillage, and the band is level all the way around without riding up in back, you have a good fit.
If you find a comfortable maternity bra that suits your taste, buy more than one. You will want to launder your bras, so you will need extra. Most women buy their first maternity bra early in their pregnancy, usually during their first trimester. Your breasts will get bigger as your pregnancy progresses and you will outgrow your first maternity bra. Be prepared to go back and buy more later in your pregnancy—in a larger size. Resist the urge to buy bras with "room to grow" as you can never estimate just how large your breasts will get.
When you go back during your third trimester—you will go back—consider buying an adjustable nursing bra. They offer the same support as a maternity bra, but the cup fabric can be detached so you can feed your baby. The adjustable cup and band will give you a little extra room when your breasts jump a cup size just after birth.