Measure Yourself for Proper Maternity Nursing Bra Fit

Most moms notice their regular bras start to feel tight around 12 weeks into pregnancy. At this time, you will most likely need to increase your band size by one size and increase your cup size by one to two sizes larger than your normal, pre-pregnancy bras. (Example: if you wear a 34C, you will most likely need a 36D, or 36DD/E sized bra for the remainder of your pregnancy). Because your breasts size will continue to increase, most nursing bras have cups with a lot of stretch to accommodate growth. Once your baby is born, expect your cup size to increase even more when your milk comes in. Cup size on average increases 2,3,4 sizes from your pre-pregnancy bra cup size, however in some cases it could even be more! Don't be alarmed if need a large cup sized nursing bra, it happens all the time! Moms are amazed at how large their breasts actually become once they start nursing! It will take 4-6 weeks for your milk to stabilize, so we suggest wearing a comfort style nursing bra for those first several weeks after baby is born. Once your breast milk has stabilized, a more fitted nursing bra comfortably.

Remember that comfort is key and a nursing bra that is too small can cause mastitis and can caused plugged milk ducts. Make sure you give yourself enough room in the cup. If you choose to wear an underwire nursing bra, make sure it is the proper sized cup - if it is too small, the underwire can poke into your breast tissue and cause pain and cause a multitude of problems.  

Measuring Yourself for a Maternity Nursing Bra

How to measure:

Step 1: Determine your band size (i.e. 36, 38, etc).  To do this, measure yourself around by bringing the measuring tape around your back, under your armpits and up above your breasts.  Round all fractional numbers to the nearest whole number. You can also measure your band size by measuring your rib cage (directly underneath your breasts). If you choose this option, add 2 inches to whatever your measurement is. Example: if your rib cage measures 32", add 2 inches and your band size is a 34. 

Step 2: Determine your cup size - Now measure yourself around the same way but this time around the center of the breast (the fullest part of your breast), rather than the under the armpits. Round all fractional numbers up to the nearest whole number. Subtract your band size circumference from the mid-breast circumference to find the cup size.

Example: If your band size is 36 and you have a 40 inch mid-breast circumference, then you have 4 inches worth of cup size. Each cup inch stands for a bra cup size…. A, B, C, D, etc. You would be looking for a bra around 36D.  *If you are between cup sizes, always size UP.

measure for maternity nursing bra fit cup size chart

We are here to help you! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance with measuring yourself or determining your bra size! We’d love to hear from you!

Email us at or call us at 1-800-601-7519 or text us at 413-426-6338

The way the bra fits is the true indicator of size, however. Try the bra on (preferably with a dry nursing pad) to make sure the band is not binding, too loose, or that any underwire does not cut into the mammary tissue. An improper fit to your nursing bras can lead to other lactating breast issues (see common lactation problems).

Lastly, the cup of the bra is something you must consider, as well. Many moms like to purchase the padded cup nursing bra, however, the padded cup tends to get in the way of the hand-hold when learning to breastfeed. I generally advise moms to use a soft cup nursing bra in the early days to allow more freedom to hold your breast properly when learning to nurse. If you are a mom who tends to “leak” quite a bit, the padded cup nursing bra may be a great option for you once you’ve gotten the hang of nursing. The padded cup nursing bra is also a wonderful way to disguise those clunky and not-so-attractive breast pads.

Good luck on finding the perfect nursing bra right here at Nursing Bra Express! We have a wide variety of nursing bras and we want you to find your perfect fit right here, please feel free to ask us any questions you may have and we will be glad to assist you during this precious time in your life.

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