Of all of the changes that accompany pregnancy, one of the very first things I noticed was my increased chest size. Everything just felt a little different – sensitive, itchy, tender, and large. For many women, an increased bust is one of the very first things they notice too.
Finding the Perfect Fit
I often get asked about pregnancy & postpartum nursing friendly sports bras. But, during my pregnancy with Benji I typically doubled up on sports bras, or purchased one of my go-to brands and went up a size. Honestly, I don’t think I realized how many amazing brands out there offer sports bras for pregnant women. As my body continued to grow I often felt restricted, sometimes coming home and taking my bra off to “breathe.” Next time around my plan is to find an option that’s a bit comfier and made for my changing body 🙂
After Benji arrived I only nursed/pumped for six weeks. I never had an opportunity to expand my bra collection, beyond a few seamless options I purchased at Target. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a bit of research to find the best options for you and me (in the future)!
Pregnancy Exercise and Bras
Finding a well-fitting sports bra that doesn’t feel restricting is a barrier for a lot of moms. As the body starts to grow and move differently, having support from above is important for breathing, comfort, and supporting your changing body and gait.
What features are important to consider?
- Breathability: The circumference of the rib cage expands significantly during pregnancy. Finding a bra that allows for rib cage movement laterally will allow you to take a full breath and have less restriction.
- Material: How does the bra feel on? I remember always being overheated while pregnant, so keep an eye on the material will ensure you’re cool and comfortable. Look for “moisture wicking” in the description.
- Postpartum: Easy boob access. If you are looking for easy access for nursing, this should be easy peasy. There’s typically velcro straps or plastic clips, which I personally found easier one-handed.
- Adjustable Straps: Beyond having straps for easy boob access, can you move the straps around? Some women may find razorbacks less comfortable and more restrictive, so the ability to swap straps around is a huge win if that’s a concern.
- Support: What level of support do you need for your daily activities and/or workouts? Does the bra actually hold up and/or adjust with increasing breast size?
- Individual cups: Do you prefer individual cups in your sports bra? With a larger bust, you may find this to be more comfortable, especially as you sweat. When I did have a larger chest, I found being “smooshed” together in front led to boob sweat and discomfort. This is a personal preference, but something to think about 🙂
The Bra Selection
The options provided below were based on feedback from moms, friends, Amazon reviews, and social media outreach.
I love the Kindred Bravely brand. Where did the name come from? “As moms, we have to stick together, which is where “Kindred” comes from. And “Bravely”? Well, being a mom can be tough. It’s not for the faint of heart. It takes courage—bravery—to be a mom.” Learn more about KindredMamas here.
I would recommend the Kindred Bravely option for low impact activities like yoga, walking, or playing with your kiddos. The clip-down cups allow for easy breastfeeding access and the bra comes in four colors. The soft and breathable material that will keep you dry, comfy, and supported. The bra also comes with a 90-day product guarantee.
Support: Low impact / Moderate
LOVE: Not sure which Kindred Bravely maternity bra is the right fit? Take a “Fit Quiz” directly on their website to find out.
I ordered a Belly Bandit Upsie Belly during my pregnancy and loved it! So, I was excited to see they also offered a nursing friendly sports bra too (and a ton of other options for mom).
Support: High impact, high performance
The bra has double-layered support, extra-wide padded straps that do not dig. The one-handed clasp allows for easy access for nursing. The best part? The bra has a grow-with-you design, so you can adjust as “the girls” get bigger.
I love Senita! They are one of my go-to maternity wear brands for cute and stylish, yet supportive activewear for mamas. This nursing bra has a large and supportive shelf, with cup size up to DDD.
Support: Medium Impact. The racerback design with double hook and closure makes it easy to adjust and great for both maternity and post-nursing use. One of the best features is the quick-release clasps for easy nursing use!
Another great option from Senita. The large and supportive shelf is a great option for a larger chest client, with options for C-DDD cups. The quick-release clasps allow for easy nursing access and the open back detail with double hook and eye closure making adjusting easy peasy for maternity and post-nursing wear.
Handful Bras aren’t necessarily made for pregnancy and nursing, but from experience they are one of the most comfortable brands I’ve worn. The Adjustable Sports Bra is a great medium-impact pregnancy option if you are looking for general comfort and a cute style option. The moisture-wicking bra features pockets, removable pads (I find their pads to be WAY easier to remove and put back), and straps that can be work in three ways.
Support: Medium (they do also have high-impact options).
More to love: Handful donates 12.5% of revenue from Battle Cry Pink bras year round to YSC® (Young Survival Coalition) in recognition of the 1 in 8 women (12.5%) who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Additionally, Breast Cancer Survivors are eligible for a lifetime 30% discount on all Handful® bras and activewear through the Breast Friends Forever program.
Brooks has a variety of options. The Brooks Juno comes highly recommended, and is a perfect high impact support bra, particularly for larger chested mamas. I love the adjustable straps and back closure, allowing for a bit more custom on the fit. From personal experience, the razorback design is also a huge plus. I found these offer a bit more support.
The Fiona is the Brooks medium-impact option. The bra doesn’t consist of the same cushioning that the Juno does, but still is great for pregnancy and nursing. The open back makes it simple and easy to take on and off, and the front adjustable straps (like on the Juno) allow quick and easy access for nursing. If you are looking for a non-razorback high support option, the Fiona may be a great choice for you.
Although I do not have experience with the Fiona during pregnancy, this was my go-to style pre-breast reduction. While carrying a “G” cup I actively looked for sports bras with great support and adjustable straps.
The Athena 2.0 is designed for medium-high support and coverage. Extra bonus – it’s pretty cute too! I love the convertible back. The Athena 2.0 comes with extra coverage on the top and sides, remove-able cups (great for nursing), convertible and adjustable straps, and easy to use nursing clips. Extra bonus is the adjustable band sizing.
The Athena is Love & Fit’s top selling nursing bra. If you’re looking for something with a bit more “pizazz” they also have a strapping version here.
When Benji was young Milx came highly recommended from several moms. “Life changing” they told me. The brand only makes one style, and it functions as a bra you can pump in, nurse in, and wear to class. All three?! Not having to get a bra for each of these activities separately is great. Another benefit is it’s comfortable, breathable, and attractive.
Cake Maternity has several great options. The Zest is a full-structured nursing sports bra that is stylist, supportive, and comfy. The full coverage cups are great for a larger chest and higher impact. The Zest also features drop-down clips for breastfeeding. If you are looking for a seamless nursing option, I recommend the Cake Cotton Candy.
This is by no means a complete list, but a few that were recommend and/or showed up . I’ve also included a few additional brands below that offer maternity and nursing options.
What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below 🙂