Maternity clothes, nursery furniture, baby-proofing supplies, blankets, car seats, dummies/pacifiers, nappies/diapers, baby clothes…your pregnancy shopping list may seem endless. You have probably realised that your bundle of joy can potentially cost you a bundle! It’s no surprise that many new mothers will try to find opportunities to save money wherever they can. One common thing for mothers to do, is to make sacrifices on their own needs. Yes, we all do it! One example is trying to get through pregnancy not buying any new bras instead continuing to squeeze ballooned breasts into regular bras. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap! Invest in some great quality maternity bras. Your breasts will thank you.
WHEN TO BUY A PREGNANCY BRA
As you know, every pregnancy is different. Some women notice changes to their breasts even before they have found out they are pregnant. The moment your pre-pregnancy bra starts to feel too tight or uncomfortable is when you need to go shopping. It’s not a good idea to just buy a bigger size of your favourite pre-pregnancy bra. This is the time you need to start looking after you and your ever changing body.
It doesn’t matter how early or late within your pregnancy you start to notice changes in your breasts. As you notice changes it’s a great idea to find a pregnancy bra that offers support and room for growth. With this simple change, you will certainly enhance your level of comfort and overall experience throughout your pregnancy. By taking full advantage of the quality that will come from investing in a high quality bra, you will optimize your pregnancy and nursing experience.
TYPES OF BRAS USED THROUGH PREGNANCY AND NURSING
Pregnancy Bra: This is a specifically designed to comfortably support your growing breasts during pregnancy
Nursing Bra: A nursing bra will provide clips, clasps, zips, magnets, panels or buttons to provide access to your breast to enable you to feed your baby without having to remove your arm from the straps.
Sleeping Bra: A Sleeping bra is made from soft material and is used to provide comfort while sleeping and to help hold nursing pads in place. This is usually a very soft, unstructured bra, with a lower level of support.
Maternity Sports Bra: This is usually a more structured bra that should provide great support, more functions, and comfort compared to pregnancy nursing bras. Whether you are an active person or not, this type of bra is a perfect option for women with a larger bust size.
Normally, women would ideally have a combination of all the bras listed above. But as mentioned before, spending a lot of money of on ourselves just isn’t practical. Instead, spend your money wisely by looking for a high quality, comfortable, multi-purpose bra that has the ability to be a combination of the bra types above. At the end of the day, it all is dependent on your needs. The best pregnancy bras may be able to cross over as a nursing and/or sports bra – which may cost more up front, but will definitely be cheaper than buying 4 different bras to do 4 different things.
WHY USE A SPECIALISED BRA DURING PREGNANCY?
During pregnancy, your breasts will grow in preparation for nursing your baby. Your ribcage will also expand as your internal organs rearrange themselves to make room for your growing baby. Obviously, this means you’re going to need a different bra. The average mum-to-be will go up two band sizes and two to three cup sizes during pregnancy and nursing.
But remember you don’t want to just buy a bigger size of your favorite pre-pregnancy bra. If you do, you risk all kinds of uncomfortable problems like:
- Irritation of sensitive nipples
- Back pain
- Pinching around the bra straps
- Sweatiness and heat rashes
- Squashed breasts
- Possible issues with milk duct blockages which will potentially lead to nasty infections and problems with feeding.
Maternity/Pregnancy bras are specifically designed to prevent these problems and deliver maximum comfort and support to mothers-to-be. True, the best pregnancy bra is going to cost more than your everyday fashion bra, but the increased comfort during pregnancy—which can already be a pretty uncomfortable time—is well worth it. Comfort is Key!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOOD PREGNANCY BRA
Fuller Cup: In order to provide comfortable support for your growing breasts, pregnancy bras have a fuller cup shape that provides more coverage.
High quality grade material: The best Pregnancy bras usually use a high grade material which is important to prevent chafing and irritation of your already sensitive nipples, but will also assist in providing you with the support which is required for varying breast fluctuation.
Wider Straps: As your breasts get heavier during pregnancy, the thin straps of a regular bra won’t provide enough support. They may pinch or cut into your skin. The best pregnancy bras will have wider, softer straps. If your breasts grow to a size DD or above, look for a bra with straps that are about an inch wide, and made of reinforced fabrics which will assist in supply extra comfort and support.
More Hooks: Your average bra closes with two hooks that can be set in three different positions. The best pregnancy bras will give you more hooks for more support and more flexibility. Look for a bra that has at least three hooks and between four to six sets of eyes to receive them.
Breathable Fabric: Your body runs at a higher temperature when pregnant. You definitely don’t want cheap non-breathable synthetic fabrics close to your skin, as this will only retain the heat and will likely cause chafing. Choose a pregnancy bra that is made of quality fabrics that will provide moisture wicking properties, exceptional breathability all while ensuring maximum freedom of movement and enhancing your natural silhouette in breathable comfort.
Wireless Cups: There is some debate regarding whether or not underwire bras are a good choice for nursing mums. Some lactation experts worry that the stiff wire can put pressure on the breasts and cause milk ducts to become blocked. So if you’re looking for the pregnancy bra that can also transition from a pregnancy bra to a nursing bra, then you may want to avoid underwire. The best pregnancy bras will be will carefully constructed to still provide you with the same level of support of an underwire bra but without the worry.
Good Fit: Of course, in order to get the most out of all the special features of a pregnancy bra, you need to be sure your bra fits your body correctly. Since your breasts will continue to change during pregnancy and nursing, it’s best to find a bra that is adjustable and can continue to provide a good fit as your body changes. This will all come down to the innovative construction and technical components of the bra. There are some pregnancy bras on the market that say their bras are built to fluctuate up to 3-4 sizes. Yes a bra could potentially do this, but the level of support and comfort will be compromised. The best pregnancy bras will use a high quality grade material that will embraces the body as a second skin and has a high shape recovery power to provide comfort and support to the frequent changing breast size during feeding.
HOW YOUR PREGNANCY BRA SHOULD FIT
Even during pregnancy, when breasts tend to become fuller and rounder, there are still many different breast shapes. Here are some points to consider when finding a good fitting pregnancy bra:
- The cups cover your breasts with nothing spilling out on the tops or sides—even when you bend over
- The band stays level all the way around your body and does not ride up in the back
- The hooks should not be on the loosest setting, as you need to leave room for your ribcage to grow
- The bra doesn’t dig into your ribs when you sit down
- The bra doesn’t leave red marks when you take it off
- Most importantly, you feel good and are comfortable!
Remember, there is a difference between a bra that can adjust to accommodate your growing body and one that has “room to grow.” You do not want to start wearing a bra that is too loose in the band or cups, assuming you will grow into it later. Instead, look for one that fits well now and will allow you to adjust it to accommodate your changing body. This way you get the support you need at all times.
TRIMESTER GUIDE TO PREGNANCY BRA SHOPPING
First Trimester: Fuller, more tender breasts are a common early pregnancy symptom. However, you probably won’t outgrow your regular bra until you are about 12 weeks along—assuming your regular bra fit well in the first place. In general, it’s a good idea to go shopping for a pregnancy bra as soon as your regular bra starts to feel at all tight or uncomfortable – this is usually around the 3 month mark.
Second Trimester: Every pregnancy is different, so you may find that your breasts grow a few cup sizes during the second trimester, or stay about the same size until the last few months of your pregnancy. However, your ribcage will definitely expand. Second trimester pregnancy bra shopping is all about listening to your body. Some women have probably had purchase new pregnancy bras more than once during their second trimester, so that is why it is important to spend your money on a good quality pregnancy bra, that will provide you with the ability to grow with your body, but will also double up as a nursing friendly bra.
Third Trimester: During the third trimester, it’s time to start thinking about nursing bras. Nursing bras have many of the same features as pregnancy bras, plus clasps or panels that can be opened for easy access during breastfeeding. It will be very helpful to have some nursing bras already purchased to use after your baby is born.
WHAT ABOUT SLEEPING IN A BRA?
In addition to a pregnancy bra for daily wear, you may also want a sleep bra or a sports bra. Again, look for soft, breathable fabrics. When shopping for a pregnancy sports bra, be sure you choose one that provides ample support. You want your breasts to be held in place comfortably during activity. The bra should be securely embracing your cup size and shape of your breasts, without the feeling of being squashed or constricted.
Sleep bras don’t need to deliver as much support, as their purpose is just to help you stay comfortable at night. Many women choose not to use sleep bras until they start nursing. Sleep bras are great for holding nursing pads in place. Look for one that provides easy access for night feedings.
NEED HELP FINDING THE PERFECT BRA FOR YOUR PREGNANCY?
Describing the perfect pregnancy bra will be different for each woman. It is important to consider what you are looking for in your pregnancy bra. If it is important for you to continue using your bras while nursing, then looking for a bra that allows you to nurse in it is vital.
Also important to think about is;
- Multi-usage: Can you use this bra across many of your daily activities?
- How much you’d like to spend? (consider cost per wear so you can invest in a quality bra)
- Will it allow you room to grow? (especially if you plan to nurse in it)
- Will it last you through other pregnancy and breastfeeding journeys to come?
While there is a lot to consider you can keep it super simple. Does it fit well, feel great and support you in the activities you require? Yes! Well you’re on the right track to choosing a bra that will work with you throughout your pregnancy and nursing journey.
Written By Krissy Pinn