Pregnancy health

Breast & Rib Changes

Published On: 27 June 2019

How to Find the Perfect Pregnancy Bra: a guide for boobs big and small.

During pregnancy, you may notice changes in a number of different areas of your body – not least being some increases in the boob department! Finding the perfect pregnancy bra is important for both your personal comfort and to reduce any post-pregnancy damage, not to mention they’ll look better.

Because of this, we’ve enlisted the help of Abracadabra Specialist Bra Coach, Julie Lamont, to share with us how to find the perfect pregnancy bra – for all boobs big and small.

But first some science…

Why do my boobs change size when I’m pregnant?

First up, let’s start with the basics. Many women wonder why their boobs change size when they’re pregnant. Rest assured, it’s a normal part of pregnancy and occurs as a result of hormonal fluctuations throughout your body.

If you’re lucky, it’ll be just one size, as some women find they can increase two to three sizes during the course of their pregnancy. Either way, you MUST update your underwear drawer.

FUN FACT: Not only does your breast size change during pregnancy, but your rib cage expands too. This is to accommodate your uterus, which raises your diaphragm position, changing the volume reserves in your lungs. So, don’t be surprised if you go up a size (or several) in both cup and band measurements.

Why is it important to find a pregnancy bra that fits properly?

Especially if you’re going to begin or continue exercising while pregnant, you need a sturdy, supportive bra ASAP. A properly-fitted bra helps reduce any post-pregnancy damage to your breast area and keeps you feeling comfortable and supported.

Even if you’re not exercising regularly, properly fitted bras during pregnancy will save you from a world of pain both now and down the track. We haven’t even mentioned that you, and your boobs, will look better in properly fitted bra. There’s nothing worse than feeling self-conscious in a noticeably small bra or in an unsupportive saggy bra. You’ve got enough to worry about. Get one that has breastfeeding clips and you’ll get even more use out of it.

What to look for in Pre-Natal/Maternity Bras?

Julie gives us the lowdown on what to look for when buying pre-natal or maternity bras:

  • The Pre-Natal or Pregnancy bra is not a Nursing Bra, and is worn during your pregnancy, and purchased around the three to four-month mark, as your body is changing.
  • Expect to go up one to three cup sizes during your pregnancy, and go up one size in the band, due to your growing tummy and expanding ribs!
  • Try on your bra on the tightest or middle hooks, so you can move it out, as the bra stretches or as your chest expands.
  • Look for stretchy, soft cups, as your bust is fluctuating in size, and becomes heavier.
  • Bra band extensions are handy for when your bra starts to get tight around the band, until you get your new nursing bra, or when you’re just between sizes.
  • If you’re in your third trimester or carrying bub up high, a non-underwire bra with a wide band will be more comfortable, especially if you want to sleep in it!
  • If you’ve got your heart set on underwire, you will need regular fittings so the wire positions can be monitored.
  • Don’t forget to loosen shoulder straps as you expand!

Finding the Best Nursing Bra for You

Comfortable and well-fitted bras when breastfeeding are extremely important, so Julie shares her secrets on finding the best nursing bra for you:

  • The Nursing Bra should be fitted and purchased around the seven-month mark of pregnancy, before you get too busy!
  • Buy at least three bras, so you can start each day fresh.
  • Look for comfort, in soft flexible cups. Built-in ‘A frames’ in the cups give added support for heavy breasts.
  • Look for cups that fold all the way down, not just a ‘trap door’ opening, as full fold-downs are best for comfort and makes feeding easier.
  • Lace may be too scratchy for sensitive skins, but that’s a personal choice. Look for a high cotton content to keep you cool, and make sure you can undo the cups and do them up again with one hand, as you’ll usually be holding bub in the other hand.
  • Underwires can be worn at this time, and give extra support for engorged breasts, as long as the wire sits on the chest wall around the breast, and not on the breasts.
  • Once you cease breastfeeding, you will need to be measured again, because your size and shape may have changed.

Top Tips for Healthy Bumps

Now you’ve got your pregnancy bras sorted, find out all the latest nutrition, exercise and pregnancy info at

Al Taylor X HB Founder, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Mum of Two