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.
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
When 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
Some 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.