While many expectant mothers express concern regarding the safety of continuing their fitness regimen into pregnancy, studies have shown that light-to-moderate, low-impact exercise (with the go-ahead from your physician) is perfectly safe for pregnant women.
In fact, regular exercise during pregnancy is likely to benefit your overall wellbeing and may even have a positive impact on your baby’s developing motor skills!
There’s just one problem, however: two common side effects of pregnancy are an increase in cup size and tenderness in the breasts. Understandably, this can make exercising feel uncomfortable, exhausting, and even painful. That is unless you have the right sports bra!
A high-quality maternity sports bra will offer you an added sense of control and support and will be equipped with features that actively help to minimize discomfort.
As you progress through your pregnancy, a well-built sports bra will come in handy not only for workout days but for every day.
We’ve put together a selection of our top 5 best sports bras for pregnancy to keep you comfortable and active during this transformative period!
Our best overall pick in the category of pregnancy-friendly sports bras is the MIRITY Racerback Sports Bra!
This sports bra is made from a blend of nylon and spandex, in a respective ratio of 92% to 8%. A nylon and spandex blend is arguably the perfect choice of material for sports bras during pregnancy for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, nylon/spandex fabric is highly elastic and has excellent shape retention properties. This means that a sports bra made out of this material will adapt to increases in cup size over the course of your pregnancy without losing its shape, so you’ll even be able to keep using this bra once your breasts return to their original size.
Secondly, this type of fabric is lightweight and breathable. Excess sweat in the cleavage and underbust areas can make working out an unpleasant experience at the best of times, but during pregnancy, this problem is liable to be exacerbated. That’s why sports bras for pregnancy should be as moisture-wicking as possible to keep you feeling clean and dry.
Thanks to its overhead pull-on design, the MIRITY sports bra is easy to take on and off as needed without spending time fiddling with clasps or zips.
Moreover, the racerback straps are thick and sturdy, providing medium-impact support that should be suitable for the moderate exercise recommended during pregnancy.
A pair of removable pads are included with the bra for extra coverage, comfort, and a confidence-boosting lift. These pads can also be useful for nursing mothers, so the bra can see you through the postpartum period as well as pregnancy.
You can purchase this sports bra in sizes Small to 3X-Large, so finding a size that works for you shouldn’t be too difficult.
We should point out, however, that the sizing runs on the small side, so we would recommend conducting measurements prior to purchase and potentially sizing up from your usual fit.
- Nylon and spandex blend - Elastic, shape-retentive, lightweight, and breathable
- Pull-over style - Easy to put on and remove
- Thick, racerback straps - Medium-impact support
- Removable pads - Tailor to your desired comfort level
- Available in Small to 3X-Large - Wide range of sizes
- Runs small - Upsizing may be required
Following in close second, we have our runner-up pick, which is the Women’s Zip Front Post-Surgery Sports Bra from WANAYOU. While this bra may be marketed as a post-surgery recovery aid, its specific features also make it a great maternity sports bra.
Like our best overall choice, the material used in the WANAYOU sports bra contains spandex for elasticity and shape retention. However, in this fabric blend, the primary material is polyamide.
Polyamide is an excellent choice of material for sports bras in general, but it’s especially helpful during pregnancy. Being highly durable and resistant to abrasion, it can withstand a lot of heavy-duty wear.
Plus, this fabric absorbs moisture without retaining it. That means that it will absorb sweat away from your body and dry quickly to avoid a buildup of moisture.
The wide, racerback strap design makes for minimal shoulder pressure and firm support. If you feel that you need extra support of coverage, you can insert the included removable pads.
One of the major selling points of this sports bra is that it features an anti-slide zip closure. This allows for a level of adjustability and means that you won’t have to stretch out the bra to lift it over your head or struggle with clasps in the back. However, it does require some force to operate.
Available sizes run from Large to 3X-Large, which makes this sports bra perfect for plus-size women and the increasing bust measurements that typically accompany pregnancy.
- Polyamide and spandex - Durable, elastic, and moisture-wicking
- Anti-slide zip closure - Adjustable and accessible
- Wide, racerback straps - Support for moderate-intensity activity
- Removable pads - Extra support and coverage when needed
- Sizes Large to 3X-Large - Suited to larger breasts
- Closure can be difficult to operate - Not the most ergonomic system
It’s no secret to women everywhere that bras can be extortionately priced. When you’re preparing for the arrival of a baby, the last thing you want is more expenses.
So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly sports bra that doesn’t compromise on support and comfort, we’d recommend the FITTIN Racerback Sports Bra.
This incredible value sports bra is made of a combination of nylon and spandex. The result is a bra that is velvety-soft against the skin as well as highly breathable and elasticated enough to accommodate augmenting cup sizes.
Another great thing about the FITTIN sports bra is that it features a 2-way strap design which means that, with the help of clasps, the straps can be worn in U-back or X-back formation.
X-back straps, like racerback designs, typically offer more support, so you can move from U-back to X-back as your body changes and requires more control.
Unfortunately, the one downside to this bra is that the straps are quite thin, so wearers may experience some shoulder pressure when the straps are tightened.
A pair of removable cups are included with the FITTIN bra so that you can increase the level of coverage and support or go without for a more relaxed fit.
The FITTIN sports bra is available in sizes Small to 3X-Large, so it’s inclusive of the diverse bust sizes represented in pregnancy.
- Nylon and spandex - Soft, moisture-wicking, and elasticated
- 2-way straps - U-back or X-back support
- Medium-impact support - Suitable for moderate-intensity exercise
- Removable cups - Adjustable coverage and support
- Sizes Small to 3X-Large - Inclusive size spectrum
- Thin straps - May exert pressure on shoulders
Best for Breastfeeding
Wouldn’t it be great if your pregnancy sports bra could function as a purpose-built nursing bra, too? Well, with the Women’s Wireless Nursing Sports Bra from La Leche League, that’s exactly what you get!
The fabric blend used in the construction of this bra includes spandex, cotton, and polyester. This is an optimal blend of fibers, designed to deliver softness and elasticity alongside enough shape retention to ensure support.
Moreover, because of its waffle mesh paneling, the La Leche League bra provides effective moisture-wicking for comfortable, dry workout sessions.
The bra features a smooth-seam construction that minimizes the risk of chafing or rashes during wear.
What makes this bra so effective as a nursing bra, however, is its use of nursing buckles. These buckles unclasp at the shoulder, allowing the cups to fold down and granting quick, convenient access for regular feeds.
Available in Small to 3X-Large, this nursing sports bra should fit the majority of frames and cup sizes. However, the fit does run small, so we’d recommend sizing up from your regular fit if you’re unsure of your exact measurements.
- Spandex, cotton, and polyester - Soft, supportive, and elasticated
- Waffle mesh - Moisture-wicking
- Smooth seam design - No chafing
- Nursing buckles - Quick access for feeding
- Sizes Small to 3X-Large - Suited to most builds
- Runs small - Sizing up is recommended
Best for Everyday
Finally, it’s important to note that sports bras for pregnancy aren’t just for working out! Because sports bras are typically wireless, soft, and built for support, they can also be the ideal choice for day-to-day life throughout your pregnancy.
If you’re looking for the ideal sports bra to lounge, sleep, or run errands in as well as exercise, our recommendation would be the Kindred Bravely Sublime Support Nursing & Maternity Sports Bra.
This sports bra is made of spandex, nylon, and polyester, so it has all the qualities you could want from a pregnancy-friendly sports bra: softness, elasticity, support, and breathability.
The Kindred Bravely maternity bra is the perfect sports bra for getting up and about on busy mornings, thanks to its easy, pull-on style. Plus, it’s so comfortable that you could even fall asleep in it with no discomfort.
You can still use this sports bra for low-to-moderate-intensity workouts since it’s designed to provide moderate support for sizes Small to XX-Large. It’s also possible to increase the support by tightening the adjustable straps to your perfect fit.
Additionally, the bra is fitted with nursing clips that allow for fold-down accessibility. This makes the Kindred Bravely bra perfect for postpartum nursing in addition to pregnancy.
The only potential drawback to this bra is that it doesn’t come with any built-in padding.
- Nylon, spandex, and polyester - Soft, stretchy, and moisture-wicking
- Pull-on style - Easy to put on and change out of
- Moderate support - Ideal for low-intensity exercise
- Nursing clips - Fold-down feeding access
- Adjustable straps - Tailorable comfort
- No padding - Not the best coverage
Best Sports Bra for Pregnancy Buying Guide
When you’re looking for a sports bra to see you through your pregnancy and potentially into the postpartum period, there are a few key factors you should keep in mind.
We’re going to go through them all in this buyer’s guide to help you make your decision.
First and foremost, when it comes to determining comfort and quality, we would recommend looking at the specific fibers used to construct the bra.
In any sports bra, whether for maternity purposes or not, softness and elasticity are essential. Because the material is going to fit so tightly against your skin, you’ll want to make sure that all the fibers are safe for sensitive skin if you’re prone to allergies or reactions. Moreover, the fabric should feel comfortable and breathable so that you don’t finish your workout sessions covered in sweat patches.
Most maternity sports bras contain spandex, which is a synthetic fiber. Its main role is to provide elasticity so that the bra can continue to accommodate your bust through periods of growth. Spandex also has the benefit of feeling soft to touch and retaining its shape well so that the bra won’t stretch permanently.
Nylon is another commonly incorporated material in maternity sports bras. Nylon is lightweight yet durable, with high tensile strength and the ability to resist wear and tear to an impressive degree. Seeing nylon listed in the fabric blend on a sports bra for pregnancy is a good sign because it means that your purchase will be long-lasting and heavy-duty without feeling stifling to wear.
If you want your maternity sports bra to retain its shape so well that you’ll be able to use it both during and after pregnancy, polyester is a good fiber to look out for. It’s wrinkle and tear-resistant and holds its form well. Plus, it’s fast-drying, so a polyester bra can be washed quickly between daily workout sessions.
Polyamide is one of the best fabrics for moisture-wicking. It has a high absorbency rate but doesn’t hold onto moisture like other materials. This means that it will soak up and evaporate sweat quickly during your workouts, leaving you feeling fresh and clean.
Cotton is the ideal sports bra material for sensitive skin since it’s naturally hypoallergenic. It’s also super comfortable and very durable, so you’ll be able to enjoy your bra’s snug softness for years to come.
Straps on a sports bra aren’t just there to keep your bra in place. They actually play a key role in providing support and ensuring the comfort of the bra overall.
Generally speaking, thick or wide straps are the way forward for pregnancy sports bras. The thicker the straps, the stronger and more supportive they are likely to be. Wide straps also exert less pressure on specific points on the shoulders, minimizing discomfort.
In particular, we’d recommend racerback straps since this design typically provides the most support at the back, minimizing backache in the process. You can find sports bras with straps that can be alternated between U-back and racerback at your convenience.
Sports bras for pregnancy are made with a variety of closures, so it’s important to think about which one you think will work best for you.
A pull-on closure (no closure) bra is easy to put on and take off, in theory. Plus, it doesn’t have any zips or clasps that might dig in and cause discomfort. However, if you have a larger bust, physically stretching the material over your chest can be a struggle.
Zip closures work well as an alternative. Since they close at the front, they don’t require any reaching around the back to do up delicate clasps. They can, however, require some muscle to do up due to the tight fit of the sports bra and the anti-slip technology used in high-quality zips.
If you want to maximize the coverage offered by your pregnancy sports bra or even just want to boost your confidence with a lift, you may wish to prioritize bras that come with removable pads. This way, you can choose how much coverage and support you want at any given time. Pads can also be really useful during nursing because they help to soak up any excess milk.
And speaking of nursing, nursing buckles or clasps can be a godsend for breastfeeding on the go in the months following your pregnancy.
If you’re in the market for a sports bra that you can wear during and after your pregnancy, and you’re planning on breastfeeding, a single bra with nursing clasps will be perfect for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to wear sports bras during pregnancy?
As long as you choose a design that offers enough adjustability and elasticity to provide proper support as your body changes, it’s perfectly safe to wear a sports bra during pregnancy.
In fact, sports bras can help to prevent sagging and stretch marks in the bust area.
Can I wear underwire sports bras during pregnancy?
Wearing an underwire sports bra during pregnancy shouldn’t pose any significant health risks as long as it’s the right size and the wire isn’t digging in uncomfortably.
However, during the first few months of pregnancy and the first weeks after birth, your breasts will be undergoing significant changes. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend underwired bras during these times since they are likely to feel restrictive.