Back in July, I received an email from my pregnant niece with “joining the club” in the subject line. Her first baby is due in January, but she wasn’t talking about the motherhood club. She was talking about my club. Here’s our email exchange:

Niece: I just wanted to tell you that since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve gone from a 34B to a 38C, and am continuing to grow! hahaha…I have experienced a few shirt gaps with my button ups already, so now I appreciate on a personal level what you’re designing. (-:

Me: This made my day. However, have you had a professional bra fitting? I find it hard to believe you would have gone from a 34 to a 38. That means you would have gained 4 inches in back fat*. I suspect you may have gone to a 34D. Very exciting.

Niece: Yeah, that may be the case. I just went to Ross and got a couple that seemed to fit. At least they fit way better than my others! And I think one of the things that happens in pregnancy is that your rib cage expands, so it may not be all back fat, but I could be wider…the 38 fits on the tightest clasp. So I don’t know…I’ll probably have to get a maternity/nursing bra next, and be willing to spend more since I’ll be in that for a while. (-:

As you know, I only have experience with large breasts, not large breasts while pregnant, so I wasn’t sure what advice to offer my niece. D cup bras are expensive, and my niece and her husband are poor graduate students. Then I found Brazen Lingerie. Despite its racy name (and you’ll love the Brazen Lingerie blog here), the events page hinted that Anina, the owner, may have a passion for pregnant and nursing mothers. So I contacted her for advice I could share here. Find it after the jump.

Anina’s Background

Yes, I have a real passion for pregnant and nursing mothers. I was always the flat-chested girl in school, but I went up to a 36G by the time my son was born. I’m now a 32D/34C, so the pregnancy gave me a little bit of boobs.

I love it when pregnant moms say, “Oh, my boobs are getting bigger. You have no idea!” I’m thinking, “Yeah? Really?! Don’t get me started on how boobs can change during pregnancy!” I just smile and tell them that it happens that way to some moms.


Nearly every pregnant woman gets bigger boobs, but not always. I’ve had a number of customers who didn’t change at all. You wouldn’t know they were pregnant if you didn’t see their stomachs. On the other extreme, a pregnant woman can change up to FIVE bra sizes during pregnancy and then another 3-4 sizes while nursing. Don’t worry –this isn’t the typical experience.

It is unusual – but not impossible – that someone would go from a 34 to a 38 in her first trimester. It is more likely that your niece’s cup has increased and she is wearing a 38D because she is unable to find a 34 or 36 in a cup size larger than a D.


When I was pregnant, I bought three new bras every time I changed a size. Of course, no salesperson ever told me that I would probably keep changing sizes and that I should try an extender instead. It may be necessary for your niece to buy a new bra every time she gets a little bigger, but an extender will help her to use it as long as she can.

No need to buy a nursing bra until about 7 1/2 or 8 months pregnant. The rate that cup size and ribs go up is not the same rate that they go down after the baby is born. No one wants to waste money on a bra that may never fit again.

When buying a first nursing bra, look for ones that are sized S, M, L, XL, etc., rather than by cup and band. Also, look for one that is stretchy in the cup. She won’t know how much she will grow when her milk comes in after the baby is born. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Comfort is key–almost more than exact size.


If you have any questions, Anina will be glad to answer them. I haven’t met Anina in person yet, but I’m looking forward to making a trip to visit her shop soon. I’ll let you know all about it when I do.

I’ll also be posting links to other helpful sources that I’ve found on this subject. But I wonder . . . for those of you who are or have been pregnant, do you find there is already enough information out there about bra shopping and clothing resources for pregnant and nursing women who are D cup and higher?

*I realize that “back fat” isn’t the correct term here!  I now understand why it’s called the rib cage measurement.