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Maternity & Nursing Bras Buying Guide

From the first months of pregnancy to the early days of motherhood, the right bra is an essential investment for new mums and mums-to-be. Our range of maternity bras offer everything you need to accommodate your body's changing shape, while our stylish yet practical nursing bras are carefully designed to help you breastfeed with comfort and ease. Our guide will talk you through everything you need to know for this exciting time of change.

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Choosing the right bra for your needs
Choosing the right bra for your needs

We've broken down the three main stages of pregnancy and explained the changes your body is likely to go through to help you know the best time to buy a maternity or nursing bra.

First trimester

Weeks 1-12
During your first trimester the breast tissue may feel swollen and tender, meaning that your normal underwired bra may not fit as comfortably or offer adequate support. The underband also may not provide enough room to accommodate your changing shape.

We recommend that you stop wearing underwired bras and instead opt for a non-wired bra to reduce discomfort.

Hints & Tips
Go up one back size from your current size and begin wearing the bra on its tightest hook to allow room for future adjustment as your body develops.

At this stage the bra does not need to be a specifically designed maternity bra - we also offer non-wired bras in a variety of different styles.

Second trimester

Weeks 12-28
During the second trimester your ribcage will expand significantly to accommodate your growing baby, meaning that both your back and cup measurements will increase.

The bra you were wearing during your first trimester may be feeling tight - when this is the case it will be time for your second bra fitting appointment.

Hints & Tips
You may benefit from choosing a maternity bra rather than a regular non-wired bra at this stage to benefit from the additional underband adjustment they offer.

Alternatively, you could use an extender from our bra accessories range.

Third trimester

Weeks 28-40
We recommend that your third bra fitting takes place around week 30, but remember, if your bra feels tight before then pop into one of our stores for another appointment.

A couple of weeks before your due date you should also be fitted for a nursing bra. Nursing bras are similar to maternity bras but have additional features to help with breastfeeding.

Hints & Tips
Ensure you are fitted for a nursing bra on the loosest hook - this is because your underband will reduce as your body adjusts post-pregnancy.

Our nursing bras either have a sling to support the weight of the bust or offer a feeding hole for support and additional modesty.

Key features and benefits
Key features and benefits

1. Non-wired bras are designed to accommodate your changing shape and offer specific support for breasts during pregnancy.

2. Additional hook and eye fastenings make size adjustments easy as your shape develops through pregnancy.

3. Nursing bras are designed with a clip fastening which enables the cup to be dropped down for feeding. Underneath this is either a sling for increased support or a feeding hole for support and modesty.

nursing bras
Our buyers' picks
Our buyers' picks

Our lingerie buying team have hand-picked three of their favourite products from our award-winning range of maternity and nursing bras.

black non-wired maternity bra

Black non-wired padded full cup maternity bra

"This pretty maternity bra is a must-have to get you through your pregnancy as your body starts to change and develop."

Ananda - Senior Lingerie Buyer

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nursing bra 2 pack

2 pack lace non-wired padded full cup nursing bras

"This two pack offers great versatility. The plain nude is perfect to wear every day and the feminine lace style is great for when you want something a little prettier. Both are designed with a drop cup and feeding hole for total modesty and great support."

Kat - Lingerie Buyer

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padded nursing bra

Beige non-wired padded full cup nursing bra

"Part of the comfort collection, this bra is a customer favourite and we love it too. It is designed to be supportive and give you a great shape but is also super-soft and comfortable enough to wear all day."

Sharon - Head of Lingerie Buying & Design

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Free bra fitting at Debenhams
Free bra fitting at Debenhams
Free bra fitting

We offer a free and discreet bra fitting service in all of our stores. No booking or appointment required - simply pop into your local store and speak to one of our staff members.

Our friendly and expert bra fitting teams are fully trained to not only help you find a bra which fits perfectly, but also offer advice on different styles to suit your shape and needs; including maternity and nursing bra fitting.

During the fitting you will be asked to remove your top but keep your bra on. Our fitter will firstly take an under-bust measurement to establish your back size, then then use our 5 signs system to asses the correct bra size. You will be offered a variety of styles to suit your needs, ensuring that you leave with the best fit for you.

Find a store near you

For further advice on bra styles and fits, ask our experts at brafit.queries@debenhams.com