What to look for in a maternity and nursing sports bra
When you're ready to jump in and exercise, you will be needing a new wardrobe of sports bras for the new breasts that come with pregnancy and breastfeeding. (It’s just like jeans, you usually can’t wear the same ones anymore—at least not for a while!) Flex fit and adjustability become most important since you’ll be needing bras that grow with you, in every sense of the word. Multiple points of adjustability and stretchy cups (vs rigid cups) are key.
Support is also super important for sports bras during pregnancy and nursing. There’s a lot of movement in the breast area while you’re exercising— whether it’s a low or high impact workout. Don’t discount the shift that comes during a downward dog. “While you are pregnant it’s best to look for a sports bra that fully encapsulates the breasts to ensure the support you need,” says Jessica Pfister, VP of Le Mystere. “By locking each breast in place, you prevent movement, chafing and bouncing which can cause unnecessary pain.” Pfister recommends a no bounce strap in order to keep the breasts properly supported for high impact workouts.
If you’re just easing back into working out postpartum, start with one or two low-impact sports nursing bras. These will give you feeding flexibility with support (minus the discomfort of a rigid bra). You’ll likely find yourself wearing these as a leisure bra 24/7, since they’re basically just good nursing bras in stronger, more tech-y fabrics. When you’re ready to kick up the workout a notch, feel free to make the investment into a more expensive, high-impact sports nursing bra. Ultimately, it's up to you and how you feel best, though.
Best maternity sports bras for pregnancy and portpartum
These sports bras have a lot of adjustability but it’s best to go up a cup size if you’re less than 6-7 months into your pregnancy. Your breast size will likely double or triple, and you’ll want to account for the fullness that comes during nursing.
Not only is this sports bra moisture-wicking, but it’s also covered in mesh for maximum breathability. Great for larger breasts (up to 38DDD), this bra has a wide, supportive underband, adjustable straps and a J hook if racerback is feeling more comfortable/supportive as your size changes.
When you’re feeling full in the cup, regardless of size, a front zip is a great solution. This super soft, low impact sports bra has super easy-to-use velcro adjusters at the shoulder strap in the front—brilliant for on-the-go adjustments when your boobs feel like rocks and your size keeps fluctuating.
Small or large band, small or large cup, you’ll feel comfortably supported in this wireless sports bra. It has mesh where you need it (underboob sweat) and modesty cups that keep your nips covered without adding any bulk. The triple hook closure is great for adjustability— buy it to fit on the smallest hook and you’ll have room for expansion.
This high-support running bra feels light as air, thanks to the honeycomb pattern of injected foam, padded straps and brushed underband. This design reduces bounce (hallelujah) and makes running possible for full-busted women. (Which is basically all of us while pregnant and/or nursing.)
This super soft, microfiber sports bra supports with cushioned underwire and lightweight foam pads. Three row hook and eye, plus adjustable shoulder straps (J hook, too!), make this a good adjuster for pre- and post-pregnancy. The power mesh wings and smoothing leotard back keep the little extra bits in place (you know what we mean).
These nursing sports bras are made specifically for breastfeeding moms. The clips are key, but so is the ease of the open/close that comes with a good nursing bra. You should be able to open these with one hand, effortlessly, and get a feeding in before/during/after a workout.
Best low-impact nursing sports bras
These low-impact nursing bras are great for yoga, walking and pretty much all-day everyday wear. They are comfortable and super flexible, so whether you’re breasts are running full or you’ve just done a feed, they’ll give you light support without compression.
You’re welcome. When everything else is annoying, too compressive, too tight, too itchy (shall we go on?), this is all you’ll be wearing. Pack it in your hospital bag, as this baby can be worn home and through recovery giving you coverage as well as one-handed nursing capabilities all in a soft-stretch fabric. And yes, it’s good for light workouts, too.
Simple sizing can be your best friend since your cup size keeps changing. The choice here is Small to XL, so you’ve got choices (be sure to measure before purchasing, though). The supportive, silky, space dye fabric hugs your changing shape without any compression. Even though it goes on over your head, the back hook and eye provides added breast and back support.
From Small to XXL (with ‘busty’ as a size range), this luxurious sports bra will 100 percent follow your ebbs and flows throughout the day. Made for nursing, it features easy-to-use clips, with a wide underband for support. You can buy this late in your pregnancy and wear it all the way through the first year.
Best high-impact nursing sports bras
These high impact nursing bras are ready to run with you if you’re looking for a high-impact workout. The key, though, is “not to wear a bra with compression if you are breastfeeding,” says Dr. Jane Van Dis, Board Certified OB-GYN and Medical Advisor for Bobbie. You want a bra that’s snug and supportive without the tightness that can be painful as your milk comes in throughout the day. You don’t want to deter anything that helps with milk production—even during a workout.
Designed by an MBA-wielding prenatal/postnatal yoga teacher mom, this bra works. The extra wide shoulder and back provides comfort and support, without compression. That and the 6-row hook and eye back closure feel like a custom fit, even as your body changes by the hour (or minute in some cases). Full coverage is another win here. Even when your breasts are FULL, you’re covered and supported—and ready for a one-handed feeding.
At only $25, this sports bra is straightforward and simple in design. The fast-drying, functional fabric is lined in the cups with space for nursing pads. Easy peasy clips make it great for on-the-go workouts as well as those at home (you know what we mean).
If you don’t yet know La Leche League, you will. As the mecca of all things breastfeeding, it’s no surprise they make a killer nursing sports bra. This wireless, one-handed nursing bra is an easy, supportive option for size small to 3XL.
When you want to feel like you’re wearing a regular bra, yet still have nursing capabilities, this sports bra is a top pick. The wireless-yet-supportive band, easy-open clips and lightly molded cups (for coverage) work well for medium-high impact workouts.
If you need a workhorse to keep your boobs in place and feed the BB, this is it. Available in size 32-40K, this bra has all the features. Flexible wire, full-coverage cups, cotton-lined slings, easy-feed clips, six row hook and eye, J hook, padded/adjustable straps, and more. As in, you truly get the works.
Exercising can be really important during pregnancy and postpartum for many reasons, especially Mom’s mental health. How and when to get back into exercising postpartum is a question we posed to Van Dis. “I always recommend walking postpartum unless complications from birth or postpartum prevent it—for both vaginal and Cesarean moms. It helps with circulation, prevention of blood clots, and improved healing. I tell women who have had uncomplicated vaginal deliveries that they know their body best and likely their body will tell them if an exercise is too strenuous," she says.
Van Dis adds, “For Cesarean moms, it really depends on their exercise level pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and their postpartum course. Given 80 percent of moms experience baby blues, and one in five experience postpartum anxiety, depression or mood disorders, exercise can be a really important modality for addressing mental health. There's no one ‘right’ recommendation for every new mom.”
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