Women’s bodies go through many physical changes during a pregnancy. These changes will affect many of the normal habits and comforts that their used to. One of the main changes will be how much your breasts grow and the level of sensitivity you experience on a daily basis.
As a result, it’s important to find the right fitting clothes to provide optimal comfort. A well-fitting bra is one of those things that many take for granted until they’ve experienced a pregnancy.
The right bra can make all the difference in you comfort but also the long term look of your breasts. Below you can find tips on how to select the perfect bras throughout your pregnancy term as well as your postpartum nursing needs to help you breeze through this process.
1. When to Purchase a New Bra During Pregnancy or Postpartum
In the beginning stages of pregnancy, many women opt to continue using their pre-pregnancy bras. However, as time goes on and hormones begin to kick in the breast may begin to swell causing old bras to become too tight. If the band is too tight around your midsection, the straps are digging into the skin or the breasts can no longer be contained by the cups, it’s time to start looking for a pregnancy bra.
2. Which Bra Type To Purchase
There are some key differences in pre-pregnancy, maternity and nursing bras and it’s important to know which one to buy to meet each transitioning stage. Maternity bras differ from regular bras in that they are designed to provide comfort and support to accommodate the breast during pregnancy by having wider straps, softer materials such as cotton and wider back enclosures.
Each woman is different and experiences breast changes differently so, it is possible to continue with regular bras if you naturally have smaller breasts so long as you find one that is comfortable and offers appropriate support.
In the postpartum stages, if you choose to breastfeed your child then a nursing bra is a must. Nursing bras are different from maternity and regular bras because they include a removable panel in the front, which covers the nipple, making it easier and more efficient for your baby to access the breast during feedings.
No matter the bra type purchased it is important to remember that the body will continue to change throughout and after pregnancy and therefore, new sizes may be needed down the line.
3. Picking the Right Size Bra
To ensure the correct fit, it is important to use a measuring tape to measure around the bottom and across the breast in order to determine the correct band and cup size. When measuring the band size, make sure that measuring tape is comfortable and exact to avoid ending up with a band size that is too loose or too tight.
For cup sizing, the measuring tape should be wrapped loosely around the breast at the tips. If the measure is between numbers it is best to round up to the next number. Make sure to fiddle around with the adjustable straps when you’re trying on bras.
Sometimes it’s as simple as elongating the straps to find that perfect level of comfort. If they’re fully elongated and you still feel pressure on your shoulders then you’ll need to size up.
Hormonal changes often create a new level of sensitivity in the breasts for many women. Because of this, it’s important to find a bra made from light and soft fabric. While lace and other synthetic fabrics are very pretty to look at, they can increase the risk of irritation and discomfort during pregnancy and postpartum.
Opt for natural fabrics such as cotton. Also, avoid bras that have underwire during and after pregnancy. While underwire will not cause health risks, they risk becoming a constant annoyance. Most maternity and nursing bras do not come equipped with underwire, but if a regular bra is being purchased it may be best to opt for one that is underwire-free and full coverage.
Bra shopping during pregnancy and postpartum is very similar to regular bra shopping. Shoppers should be hyper aware of the fit, making sure that the bra is neither too tight or too loose and comfort should be the key factor.
Bra shopping can be overwhelming with all the different type of bras on the market, but don’t let this discourage you from finding the one that meets your needs. If shopping is irritating for you during pregnancy, bring a friend along who can help size you properly and explore the store on your behalf.