For many women, one of the first noticeable signs of pregnancy is when they outgrow their regular fashion bras. The time scale of this process varies from woman to woman. Breast changes can occur within the first eight to 10 weeks of pregnancy, while for some women it may occur later. A switch to a maternity bra can be a welcome change when a woman’s breasts become fuller and more sensitive.
What to look for in a maternity bra:
The most important features are:
- good support
- adjustable straps and sides
- no underwiring.
For support, it is important that the bra has wide sides, straps and an under band instead of a wire. The bra should also have a surface area that is large enough to cover your breasts. As your breasts become more sensitive the extra coverage will be a source of comfort. Look for bras with wide sets of adjustable back eyes to allow your bra to change shape along with your body.
One trick is to buy a bra that fits well on the second row of closing hooks. This way it will allow for the expansion and reduction pre and post pregnancy that occurs in both the breasts and the ribcage.
Cups should also be made of a breathable fabric. This is generally 100% cotton but there are also a few synthetic fabrics that allow the skin to breathe.
Experts generally agree that an underwire is not recommended during pregnancy or nursing. There is a concern that the rigid wire could put too much pressure on the breast, which will then lead to blocked milk ducts and mastitis (the painful swelling of the breasts).
However, if you are a woman who always wears an underwire and finds it hard not to even during pregnancy, there are now maternity bras that are made with a flexible plastic support, which is similar to an underwire.
Finding a maternity bra that is right for you:
- Qualified lingerie specialists can measure women correctly and give advice on which bras are best for them.
- Some outlets that provide this service include department stores like Debenhams and House of Fraser, as well as specialised stores such as Peaches and Cream in Dublin city centre’s Hibernian Way.
- It is also important to remember that your breasts may continue to change throughout their pregnancy.
- There is one basic difference between maternity and nursing bras: Nursing bras have panels that detach from the bra cup to allow for easy breastfeeding.
- Some women opt to start with a maternity bra and then switch to a nursing bra in the third trimester, whereas other women prefer to wear a nursing bra throughout their pregnancy.
- For women who choose to wear a nursing bra for the entirety of their pregnancy it is important to remember that their bra size may go up a size or two after giving birth when the milk comes in.
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