During pregnancy and while nursing your baby, it is crucial to have a good quality maternity bra that is the correct fit. An ill-fitting maternity bra can cause discomfort and provide inadequate support. Most woman's bra size increases two to four sizes during pregnancy. A good maternity bra has cups that can be quickly unhooked with one hand for easy feeding and do not have an underwire. Thick shoulder straps will provide additional support, and a high cotton content makes a breathable fabric that won't make you too hot.
You may want to ask a friend to help you take your measurement. Place a tape measure around your rib cage to measure your band size. The correct placement is just under your bust, making sure the tape measure lies perfectly flat against your back.
Bra sizes are measured in inches. Tighten the tape so that it feels snug around your body and take the measurement in inches.
Add 4 inches to your measurement; if it is an odd number round it up or down to the nearest even number before adding the 4 inches. This is your band size; for instance if you measure 31.8 inches, round the figure up to 32 inches and add 4 inches to give you a band size of 36 inches.
Measure your cup size by measuring across the fullest part of your bust. Do this with your regular bra on and keep the tape measure relatively slack. Take the measurement in inches.
Deduct your band size from your cup measurement and follow this guide to find your cup size: 1 inch equals cup size B; 2 inches equals cup size C; 3 inches equals cup size D; 4 four inches equals cup size DD; 5 inches cup size E; 6 inches equals cup size F. For instance if your band size is 34 inches and your cup measurement is 38 inches, your cup size is DD, giving you a maternity bra size of 34DD.
Remember that bra sizes can vary slightly between stores; always try on a maternity bra before you buy it. Make sure it fits comfortably on the tightest hook so that you give your breasts room to grow. Test the fit of the bra by sliding your hand inside the cup; if you can do so without difficulty you will have adequate room for breast pads.
Tips & Warnings
If possible, go to a trained bra fitter to be measured for your maternity bra; they will make sure you buy the correct size and give you advice on what bra to buy to suit your body shape, bust shape and budget.
Start looking for a maternity bra at the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy or as soon as you feel that your breasts are becoming larger and more tender.
Take your bra measurements regularly during pregnancy as your breasts continue to change in size and shape.