Why choose maternity bras for more comfort and ease?

Aren’t there more important things to be concerned about during pregnancy? Why maternity bras? This could a question uppermost in your mind when you are going through all those glorious moments of pregnancy, a period of overwhelming emotions, expectations, dreams and all that. Well, maternity bras are indeed important for more reasons than one as you would find out from the following discussion.

Your breasts undergo series of changes including those caused by hormones during pregnancy and post-natal state including:-

  • Enlargement and growth
  • Hypersensitivity and tenderness
  • Darkening of areolas and nipples on account of hormones affecting pigmentation of the skin
  • Darkening of veins around the breasts on account of increase in blood supply to the breasts.
  • Colostrum (a yellowish and thick substance) leaking from your breasts
  • The nipples and areolas grow larger, and the nipples tend to stick out
  • Raised bumps on the surface of areolas which are also known as Montgomery’s tubercles.

These changes can also be experienced in varying degrees by different individuals.

kids tattoo on women belly

Managing these changes:

Maternity bras gain importance in managing the changes mentioned above. As your breasts keep growing specially designed maternity bras help in providing appropriate support and make you more comfortable. For women who experience a significant change in the size of the breast during pregnancy, cotton sports bra can be a good option for sleeping.

Major attributes of maternity bras

  • Good quality maternity bras are expected to have the following attributes among others.
  • Deep band positioned beneath the cups
  • Good support
  • Wider shoulder straps
  • Adjustable closure (back-fastening bras are preferable since front fastening bras offer less flexibility when you need to adjust.
  • Underwire bras are best avoided during pregnancy and the postnatal days.

Your breasts become tender and sensitive

During pregnancy and during the post-natal days when the body prepares your breasts for lactation, your breasts become tender and sensitive due to hormonal action. The milk ducts grow and fill with milk even during the second/third trimester. These changes in your body make the breasts more sensitive, and more so around your nipples. Using a normal bra is not a great idea during this period whereas using bamboo maternity bras made from bamboo fabric could be pretty comfortable for you.

No need to worry about discharges

These hormonal changes and lactation can cause discharge from your breasts at intervals. Such a discharge can also be caused by massaging and sexual stimulation. However, there is no cause for alarm when this happens, and when this does not happen either. Even in the absence of this discharge, you would still be producing milk for your baby.

Important factors that you consider while choosing maternity bras

Your breasts keep changing in size nearly throughout the lifetime, but it is more pronounced during pregnancy and post-birth. Usually, it is a great idea to get professionally fitted for your maternity bras as you step into the third trimester. This size should in most cases serve you until after about 8 weeks from the day your baby is born and your body adjusts itself to regulate the milk supply. A professionally fitted bra will help your body with the support that is much needed while giving you that amazing feeling.

Look for bras that have about 6 eyes and hooks on its back band

Girl back in sports braWhen you get fitted for your maternity/nursing bras at about 8 months into your pregnancy, you are better off fitting the bra’s back band on its loosest eye and hook. This will help you with enough room to tighten the bra’s back band after childbirth since your rib cage will contract at that point in time. Remember that about 80% of support comes from the back band of your bra and therefore this becomes pretty important.

Your maternity bras should fit well inside the cup

Many women tend to choose maternity bras with additional room in the cup. However, this is not desirable since a cup that does not fit well cannot provide the much-needed support for your breasts. A good maternity bra will be made of stretch fabric that sits on top of the cup to allow movement in your breast as it starts producing milk.

Fitting into cup specific bras can wait till about 8 weeks after childbirth

pink colour braSome women rush to pick cup specific bras immediately after childbirth. But, your breasts will be somewhat out of control during this period, and you can notice a significant fluctuation in breast size with your body learning to regulate the milk supply. A seamless bra during this period will keep pace with the changes in your body providing you with the support and comfort that you need. A cupped size bra, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable and restrict and compress your breast as it trains to regulate the milk supply.

Underwire bras are best avoided during pregnancy and postnatal period

Many women fancy using underwire bras to keep pace with their lifestyle. However, most professionals recommend staying away from underwire bras during pregnancy and the nursing period. One major reason for this is that it can potentially restrict your milk ducts. Bras with higher cotton content are often considered more desirable since it would allow the skin to breathe. If you about 3 maternity bras that should be adequate to see you through childbirth and nursing days. This will also save you some strain from laundry when your body is still recovering. You may also have to stagger the purchase with two of your maternity bras coming in the first/second trimester and another one towards the final weeks.

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Choosing between Male and Female OB GYN

If getting pregnant and being able to bring forth a new life form into this world is the exclusive prerogative of a woman and most women look forward avidly to this privilege when they are married and prepared emotionally and physically to conceive a baby, it is equally important for her to find the right gynecologist /obstetrician to care for her and her baby in the womb. The question that is uppermost in the minds of most women, however, is whether they should look for a male or female obstetrician/gynaecologist. But, before finding an answer to this question, one must consider the competence of a Gynec/OB and the confidence that the medical professional can offer.
For a pregnant woman, the association with the OB/GYN gynaecologist is one that would continue for several months before and after the baby is born. It is the duty of the medical professional to continuously reassure the mother-to-be that everything is fine with her and the baby and also keep her informed about various stages of growth of the fetus. He/she may conduct several tests and obtain a series of reports to help her communicate with you. Throughout this process, your level of confidence in your doctor will reign supreme. He/should be accessible round the clock for emergencies or at least have standby arrangements to cater to your needs in n emergency. He/should also be able to commit to being your doctor till the baby is delivered and also provide you appropriate postnatal care.

If a competent and reliable male OB/Gynec is available should you choose him?

Pregnant belly of woman This question may not have a straightforward answer because it is more a matter of personal preferences. In the world of healthcare and particularly so in maternity care, there is hardly any room to feel sexually embarrassed if a male OB is chosen as your doctor for taking care of your pregnancy. Globally too you will find a fair share of male doctors having specialized in gynaecology and obstetrics. Obviously, they are conscious that throughout their lifetime, they would be seeing only female patients and caring for female patients predominantly. Thus, there are indeed thousands, if not millions of pregnant women across the globe who are under the care of these male OB/Gynecs. What is important however is to be fully informed of all the medical facts about your pregnancy. So, there are several questions for which you need answers from your doctor/OB/Gynec.

Deciding the kind of birth you want

The primary decision you need to take before finding an OB/Gynec is the kind of birth you want. Most women look forward to delivering a baby without taking recourse to drugs. After all, it is a natural process, and your body has its built-in mechanisms to ensure the well-being of your baby and you. Some supplements to boost your overall metabolism and keep it at optimal levels is fine and could be essential too. There are also many women who have carried successful pregnancies without relying on supplements and yet been able to deliver a healthy baby without any complications. But, you need medical advice to determine what your circumstances are and what is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of your baby and yourself.

Be bold to take your decisions

At any point from conception to the postnatal days, insist on making your decisions yourself. You need not be bamboozled or bullied into accepting something that is not in agreement with your thinking. The type of birthing that you aspire for is another major consideration in the choice of your OB. Some doctors lean more towards a C-section procedure for multiple reasons. But, when you are confident of a normal birthing and there are no known complications, you can insist on normal birthing or choose an OB who agrees to it.

Does your doctor practice with other OBs as a team or does he have an independent practice?

Old person wearing apparel and stethoscope

If your doctor has an independent practice, for instance, Dr Shelley’s EMOG clinic, what happens on occasions when they not accessible? What is the standing of other doctors who stand for him and can you interview them at the start of your pregnancy or at least across the first trimester so that you have enough confidence when the need arises.

History of natural, drug-free, intervention-free births your doctor has handled

blue and white capsules

Can your doctor provide access to the history of natural/intervention free/drug-free he has handled so far? Has he experienced any complications during such births in the past and if yes, what lessons from such experience are relevant to you?

What is your doctor’s policy on ultrasounds?

Did you perhaps know that ultrasounds can be fined up to about 20 weeks of your pregnancy and beyond that time frame, the accuracy levels tend to drop significantly making it more an unnecessary routine? Some doctors tend to recommend an ultrasound closer to the 38th week only to predict a ‘big baby’ and therefore recommend a C-section delivery to ensure that everything is safe and under control. Many women would want to take this approach with a grain of salt.

Is your doctor open to alternative systems of medicine when needed?

This is important because, for some doctors, anything outside their line of learning and treatment is simply not acceptable. But, if you think otherwise, you have every right to find a doctor, male or female who can work with you in consonance with your thinking and aspirations.
Finally, it is your ability to be an informed mother-to-be that would largely influence the choice of your OB/Gynec. Considering the nature of an OB/Gynec’s education, training and practice in all aspects of the human reproductive system, a gender of your doctor by itself should normally not be an overwhelming concern. They would also be expected to know where the lines are drawn and it is unlikely that your trust would be misplaced.


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