The Best Maternity Bras, According to Pregnant Moms
When you’re pregnant, you’re probably already expecting to have to buy new clothing. But you won’t just need new pants and tops to support your ever-changing body; you’ll also want to invest in a good maternity bra. But with so many options—molded cups, nursing features, sleep bras and extra-supportive bras specifically made for women with larger busts—how do you know which one is right for you?
Read on to learn more about maternity bras, including why you need one and what to look for, as well as a roundup of some of the best maternity bras you can buy today, including this year’s Best of The Bump award winner.
Changes to breast tissue begin early in pregnancy—as early as one or two weeks after conception, according to the National Institutes of Health. In fact, breast tenderness and swelling in the first trimester is so common, it’s widely viewed as an early sign of pregnancy. As estrogen and progesterone levels start to rise and blood flow to the breasts starts to increase, you’ll need a bra designed to support your growing chest. And no, buying your current bra in a bigger size won’t do the trick—the best bras for pregnancy are specifically designed to provide flexibility and support for growing pregnant and breastfeeding bodies.
When to start wearing a maternity bra
Wondering when to buy a maternity bra? Amanda Hunt, founder and CEO of Davin & Adley, a maternity bra brand, suggests starting to look for the right pregnancy bra pretty early on. “You may be able to get by for the first 12 weeks without a new bra, but usually around 13 to 14 weeks, you will need to start looking for a maternity bra with more support,” she says.
Keep in mind that the first maternity bra you buy almost certainly won’t be the last; just because you find a maternity bra that fits now doesn’t mean that it’ll be your perfect size after baby arrives. “It’s not unusual to change bra sizes within the first few weeks of breastfeeding,” says New York City stylist Samantha Brown—so as your due date approaches, consider buying a bra one or two sizes larger than usual, so you have one ready to wear after birth.
The same features you look for when shopping for a regular bra are especially crucial when you’re looking for a bra while pregnant or breastfeeding. Your girls are working hard for you and baby, so accommodate them well! You’ll want to watch out for the following considerations, according to Hunt:
- Fabric. Pregnancy can come with lots of skin sensitivity issues, so it’s extremely important to find a maternity bra that’s soft on your skin. Hunt warns against scratchy trims and fabrics that can itch or irritate.
- Comfort. A good maternity bra should fit comfortably. Pull-on maternity and nursing bralettes are great options for pregnancy. The style is made for stretching over your belly and not feeling restrictive.
- Support. “This is one of the most important features of a maternity bra,” says Hunt. “The weight of your breast tissue can get incredibly uncomfortable and cause pain in your back and shoulders. Having a well-fitted bra with wider straps and a supportive band will raise your chest off your belly and help improve your posture.”
- Underwire or not. You’ll also want to consider whether you want a maternity bra with or without an underwire. “The risk with underwire bras is that they can put extra pressure on the mammary tissue,” explains Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, a certified lactation consultant, adding that it is possible to develop clogged milk ducts during pregnancy, which can lead to mastitis. Ouch. A wire-free bra can offer some safety while still providing structure. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t wear an underwire bra, especially if you’re eager for the added support. “During pregnancy the beasts are growing, so an underwire bra should be fitted so as to not put pressure on the breasts,” O’Connor says. The bra shouldn’t be tight, and the wire should be flexible.
To find the best maternity bras out there, we enlisted pregnant and nursing moms to thoroughly test the leading options on the market. They wore them everywhere, from weddings to work to TV night in the living room—and based on their reviews of the bras’ support, comfort, fit, quality, style and value for money, as well as our own extensive research, we’ve rounded up the maternity bras that are best suited to your particular needs.
For more than 10 years, The Bump has been recognizing the absolute best baby and pregnancy products on the market through our awards series. Curious to see which maternity bra was named the Best of The Bump award winner this year? Keep scrolling for the overall top pick, plus a list of carefully vetted maternity bras that are particularly good for specific needs—whether you need a sports bra, a strapless model or a plus size option, we’ll make sure your cup runneth over with possibilities (but never spillage).
If you’re looking for the perfect bra to support your growing breasts during pregnancy, look no further than the Sculpt Bra from Bravado Design. It’s our Best of The Bump winner for overall best maternity bra thanks to its all-around comfort, functionality and design. (Head here to see all of this year’s Best of The Bump winners.)
Many maternity bras fall into two categories: pull-on styles meant for sleeping and lounging, or hook-and-loop-style for daytime wear and extra support. This brilliant bra exists at the intersection of those two styles, with hook-and-eye closure and adjustable straps like a traditional bra, but featuring soft, stretchy, ultra-comfortable material and a sports bra-like fit for feel-good support you’ll love. “I’m able to do all [my usual] activities without the girls coming out,” our product tester gushed. You’ll also find molded cups meant to reduce compression on your breasts while providing separation and shape that pull-on bras don’t always provide.
Made of a stretchy nylon-blend material, the Design Sculpt Bra feels soft against your skin and is suitable for wearing both day and night. Our product tester thoroughly enjoyed the Sculpt Bra, awarding it 5 out of 5 across all categories, particularly praising the stylish look, great material, comfort and quality—this bra delivers on all points, making it truly deserving of The Best of The Bump badge.
Sizes: S to XXL, regular and full fits | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Hook and loop | Nursing features: Not designed for nursing
“I really love the material and the comfort! I sit at a desk all day and it doesn’t squeeze the top of my belly too tight.”
- All the features of a traditional bra with maximum comfort for long-term wear
- Molded cups and inserts for definition with discretion
- Only available in four colors
- No nursing features
Seamless, buttery soft and oh-so-comfy, the Motherhood Maternity Seamless Maternity and Nursing Bra was designed to work across the pregnancy journey, from the first trimester all the way through breastfeeding. Our product tester gave this bra 5 out of 5 in a broad range of categories, but support was where this pregnancy bra really stood out for her. “This bra had great support for my chest and across my back,” she told us. “I felt supported on my shoulders as well, with no pinching … I could wear it all day and night and feel good wearing it.”
Of course the Seamless Maternity and Nursing Bra was no slouch in other areas—our product tester also awarded it 5 out of 5 in comfort, fit and value for money. “The fit was great … very comfortable. I love the fabric, which is so soft—soft enough to use at night without pinching my skin.” It’s worth noting that while this particular model is best suited for average-busted women, Motherhood makes a plus-size version as well.
You get all this in a $20 package that can last you all nine+ months and beyond, whether you choose to breastfeed, pump exclusively or just need a bra that grows and shrinks with your ever-changing postpartum body.
Sizes: S to XL | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Hook and loop | Nursing features: Clip-down nursing access
“I would recommend to any friend who is nursing or pregnant. It will be a bra that I would gladly gift to my new mommy friends.”
- Available in six neutral tones
- Some women say the sizing can run small
As your breasts grow throughout pregnancy, you’ll need a maternity sports bra that stays supportive without becoming restrictive. That’s why we love Kindred Bravely’s Sublime Nursing Sports Bra. This sports bra features adjustable straps and a wide, supportive chest band that gently expands as your changing body needs it to.
The Sublime Nursing Sports Bra is made from a stretchy nylon/polyester blend that can grow with you. What’s more, “I love that the pads are removable and that it comes in such a wide variety of sizes,” our product tester raves. “It fits really well, and can be adjusted in the places that I needed to adjust.” It’s no wonder she gave the Sublime a 5 out of 5 for comfort and fit.
The lightweight material feels divine; it’s breathable and will help keep you dry and comfortable, but it’s soft and doesn’t feel slick like lots of workout wear often does. As our product tester describes it, “It’s a great nursing sports bra, but also just a really comfortable sports bra overall.”
Sizes: S to XXL, regular and busty fits | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Pull-on style | Nursing features: Clip-down nursing access
“This bra feels like it’s excellent quality and one that I will use for years to come.”
- Comes with a band extender
- Attractive colors
- Wide range of sizes available
- Not much in the way of material between the breasts
- Sizing between the cups and the band can be tricky
Some outfits, perhaps your favorite maternity evening dress, call for a strapless bra. And during pregnancy, the bra you choose really matters when it comes to support for your growing chest. The Lively No-Wire Strapless wasn’t expressly designed for pregnancy, but it has everything you want in a pregnancy-friendly strapless option.
Molded, foam-padded cups and soft but sturdy side-boning work alongside an underbust support band lined with silicone grips in a way that our product tester found “surprisingly supportive.” The result is a strapless bra that gets the job done without the use of an underwire that your sensitive pregnancy breasts might find uncomfortable.
Of course, looks aren’t everything, but style is an important quality in any bra that might get paired with a fancy shoulderless outfit. In this category our product tester awards the No-Wire Strapless Bra a 5 out of 5, telling us, “I think anyone wearing this would feel cute and stylish.”
Sizes: Band sizes 32 to 38, cup sizes A to DDD | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Hook and loop | Nursing features: Not designed for nursing
“I’m not someone who typically wears support-based bras when not pregnant, but I need them during pregnancy. I was surprised at the support a strapless bra was able to provide. No aches at the end of a long day wearing it.”
- One of few wireless strapless bras that work for pregnancy
- Silicone grips on upper and lower bands help bra stay in place
- Not designed for nursing
- Only available in a few neutral colors
During those nine+ months of pregnancy, and especially in the second and third trimesters, you might feel more comfortable sleeping in a maternity bra. As your growing chest becomes swollen and heavy, some women prefer the support that a sleep bra can offer, and this bra from Medela was made specifically for nighttime use.
The Keep Cool bra boasts a lightweight, breathable material that feels like a second skin. Our pregnant product tester calls the bra “very comfortable—it feels like I don’t have anything on,” awarding it a 5 out of 5 for comfort. “The material is great for my skin as well.” The adaptive stretch material is made from a nylon blend that expands to provide a firm but comfortable fit for any body type.
A racerback style provides breathable back coverage, which can be a blessing for women who experience higher body temperature during pregnancy. And if that weren’t enough, this bra is fully machine-washable too. “Great quality and material. Withstands a wash without shrinking and wearing down,” indicates our product tester, with a 5 out of 5 for quality. “I would recommend [this bra] to any woman—pregnant, nursing or women in general.”
Sizes: S to XXL | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Pull-on style | Nursing features: Pull-aside nursing access
“It supports the breasts and the back very well, staying in place whenever I move.”
- Made with quick-dry technology for breathability and comfort
- No hooks, clips or tags for irritation
- Only available in two colors
Many maternity bras (and let’s face it: regular bras too!) say they’re good for large breasts. But if your girls are plus-sized, you know that’s no guarantee against the old, uncomfortable squished feeling. Enter the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra from Bravado Designs. This bra does the job for busts of almost any size—bands sizes from 32 to 46, and cups from B to J. And our product tester loved the fit, awarding it a 5 out of 5 and telling us, “Not tight, no spillage—it’s like I was wearing nothing. It holds my breasts up very well, and I feel very secure and comfortable in it.”
All this support comes without the use of wires and other uncomfortable elements. The Body Silk lives up to its name with soft material, zero seams or wires and a lack of restrictive elastic. Instead it’s crafted with comfortable, breathable OEKO-TEX material and features removable foam inserts and knit-in support zones for added support around the cups. Raves our reviewer, “This bra manages to support without feeling restrictive and tight. I’ve bought many nursing bras and they don’t stand up to the comfort I feel in this one.”
Sizes: S to XL-FC | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Hook and loop | Nursing features: Clip-down nursing access
“Very soft and extremely comfortable; feels like I’m not wearing a bra.”
- Thick straps for added support
- Zones of extra support around the cups
- Available in tons of pretty colors
- No racerback option
- Some reviewers say to order a size up for the best fit
Let’s face it: An underwire bra can often provide an additional level of support that wireless bras simply can’t. Unfortunately, very few underwire bras are designed with maternity in mind. But if you’re on the hunt for an underwire bra that will work for pregnancy, look no further than the wildly popular Classic Nursing Bra from ThirdLove, which features a flexible wire that will move with your pregnant body. This bra was designed with both comfort and functionality in mind, so it’s no wonder our product tester gave it 5 out of 5 for comfort and support. “This bra is extremely comfortable,” she says. “The material of the cups and bands is so soft. I’ve even fallen asleep in it and it didn’t leave any impressions or aggravate me.”
This underwire maternity bra fits bodies from petite to plus-size, offering an expansive line of sizes from 32A to 44H. Pleated straps, gold accents and well-defined cups ensure you feel beautiful while wearing this maternity bra, and the hook-and-eye closure gives a secure fit. Fans rave about the quality and durability of this machine-washable maternity bra, including our reviewer, who says, “This is the first nursing bra I’ve worn with a wire. As a breastfeeding mom with large breasts, it’s important to have full support. I recently wore this bra to a wedding and it was so supportive, I could barely tell I had on a nursing bra.”
Sizes: 32 to 44 band size; cup sizes A to H | Underwire: Yes | Type of closure: Hook and loop | Nursing features: Clip-down nursing access
“The quality is amazing, the fit is great and the support is unmatched.”
- Comfortable fit despite the wire
- Available in a wide variety of sizes
- Company offers matching underwear
- Only available in one color
- Very pricey
This beautiful lacy number from Cake Maternity proves you don’t have to sacrifice style just because you’re pregnant or nursing. No detail was spared when it comes to this pretty, all-lace bra; it has a French-inspired pattern that’s sheer for that added touch of sexiness, a wide underband that’s supportive and attractive and even the option to make the straps into a racerback in the back of the bra. Our product tester loved the way she looked in this bra, saying, “Such a sexy look for a nursing bra!”
It should come as no surprise that our product tester gave this bra a 5 out of 5 for style, but it earned equally high marks for comfort; while this bra is sheer, it has a mesh microfiber lining for added comfort and to reduce the possibility of showing through clothing. What’s lacking? Wires! There are no uncomfortable wires on this bra, another feature that enhances the all-day wearability. Available in cup sizes B through G, this versatile bra offers support for women of all sizes. “This bra has great support and isn’t too constricting!” gushed our reviewer. “I love how comfortable the fabric is.”
Sizes: S to XL, cup sizes B to G | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Hook and loop; j-hook included for racerback style | Nursing features: Clip-down nursing access
“This is one of the best nursing bras I’ve used and has a great style!”
- Beautiful lace detailing in pretty colors
- Feminine scoop-neck design
- Reviewers indicate it’s best to size up
- Some feel the lacey material isn’t as soft as other maternity bras
- Company doesn’t offer matching panties
Available in six different colors, the Everything Bra is designed to be worn both day and night, offering the right amount of support around the clock without feeling restrictive. It was designed with a lactation consultant to ensure proper breast support without impinging on milk production after pregnancy. According to our pregnant product tester, “I’m still nursing on top of being pregnant, so I can say that [the Everything Bra] gives good support for someone who’s breastfeeding a toddler (aka not just freshly postpartum and super full of milk all the time), and I think it’ll be really great for the postpartum period too!”
Sizes: S to XL | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Pull-on style | Nursing features: Clip-down nursing access, pull-down neckline
“I think this bra is really good quality. The material is nice, and just based on how everything looks and feels I definitely think I’ll be able to use it for a long time!”
- Designed with a lactation consultant to prevent restriction
- Offers comfortable support
- Designed for hands-free nursing
- Some reviewers feel it isn’t the most supportive maternity bra
- Some indicate the shoulder straps are uncomfortable
You might expect that a three-pack of basic maternity bras—offered for just $30—would suffer when it comes to quality. But when we asked our product tester to try it out, her response echoed the thousands of five-star Amazon reviews: “This bra was perfect,” she told us. “It’s great under clothes and it has great padding. The comfort is amazing, with very comfy cotton material around and under your breast.”
This budget-friendly maternity bra also includes one-handed nursing access and removable cup inserts, and our tester found that it was “easy to remove the clips to nurse or pump.” It’s wire-free, which means you can wear it both day and night, and the three-pack ensures you’ll always have one on hand, even on laundry day. “I think this pack of maternity bras is at a great price,” our product tester said, awarding it 5 out of 5 for value for money. “Many nursing bras cost $30 or more for just one. I think it’s great for moms that work and always need to have a spare nursing bra on the go.”
Sizes: S to XXL | Underwire: No | Type of closure: Hook and loop | Nursing features: Clip-down nursing access
“I would recommend this bra to any mom that isn’t looking for a stylish bra and just needs something practical for everyday use of nursing and pumping.”
- Great price point
- Comfortable, stretchy but supportive fabric
- Not as stylish as other maternity bras
- Some reviewers indicate the straps seem to be set wide and can slip off shoulders
To help you find the best maternity bras, The Bump editors scoured the market to find the most popular and highest-rated options available. We combed through user reviews to see what real moms thought of these products, leveraged our familiarity with leading pregnancy brands and relied on our own experiences as new and expectant parents. From there, we enlisted the help of pregnant and nursing moms who tested the bras for several days. They wore them and washed them and some even nursed their babies in them, and carefully evaluated each for support, comfort, fit, quality, style and value for money.
We stacked this rigorous testing against our own research and expertise to bestow the prestigious Best of The Bump award to the overall best maternity bra. And then we went one step further, using the testing results to identify other standout options that are particularly good for your specific needs. All this to ensure that you find a quality product with plenty of bang for your buck that’ll prove a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
About the writer:
Christin Perry is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting and health and wellness topics. As a mother of four (ages 5, 10, 12 and 14), she’s gone through the paces and has used what seems like every product under the sun—and she’s used that experience to write dozens of product roundups for The Bump. Christin considers herself lucky to have worked for a long list of other large clients, including Forbes Advisor, VeryWell Family, Parents, Parade, The Knot, Apartment Therapy and Dwell, to name a few.
Interested in becoming a product tester for The Bump? Head here to apply.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Amanda Hunt is the founder and CEO of Davin & Adley, and former Senior Technical Designer and Product Development Specialist for All Brands Intimates & Swimwear at Urban Outfitters, Free People and Anthropologie.
Samantha Brown is a professional and celebrity stylist based in New York City.
Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, LCCE, is a New York-based lactation consultant with more than 20 years of experience working with breastfeeding families. She is a past president of the New York Lactation Consultant Association (NYLCA) and a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) and United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA). Additionally, she has been an accredited La Leche League Leader since 1997.
National Institutes of Health, What Are Some Common Signs of Pregnancy?, January 2017