The experiences of a woman from the moment she conceives to that moment when she delivers the baby are indeed overwhelming as she starts preparing for the pregnancy. Her body goes through a series of changes with particular emphasis on hormonal changes. As part of this process, changes to the breasts can occur early on in the pregnancy and often constitutes the first positive signal that she is pregnant. The breasts tend to feel full and tender on the sides and top of her breast, due to the circulation of pregnancy hormones in the blood, which in turn triggers glandular development. With the milk glands expanding to prepare for potential nursing, the breasts continue growing and bring about a feeling of tenderness. This is also the time when she needs to give a thought to the type of bras she should wear throughout the pregnancy and the postnatal days. Merely choosing a standard larger sized bra and style she used before pregnancy may not be the right answer.
Specially designed maternity bras provide easy access to breast feed the baby, and they also accommodate the changes to the breast with a diaphragm and breast support throughout the pregnancy. Once the baby is born and you get ready for breast feeding, you have specially designed maternity bras sporting drop feeding cups. Once you start noticing a significant change in the size of the breast, you will need to be fitted for the maternity bras. Generally, this happens between the third or fourth month of your pregnancy.
Key factors to look for
In choosing maternity bras for support, comfort, style and active lifestyle include the following:-
Though maternity bras are available in a range of styles, the key factors that distinguish the maternity bras from standard bras are:-
- Drop feeding cups
- Soft lining (cotton) for comfort
- Cushioned inner sling providing support inside the cup (this will also keep the straps in lace while feeding)
- A wide elastic diaphragm to lend support
- Extended eye and hook
- Soft cup for support
Checking for right fitting
Getting your maternity bra fitted by a B Free Apparel fitting specialist is the best way to get the correct fitting. This can be done around the 16th week of your pregnancy and check again around the 28th week depending on how your bust develops. However, if your maternity bra is restrictive or uncomfortable, you should immediately get the fitting checked.
Underwire bra during your pregnancy
A bra that sports a rigid underwire is not recommended during pregnancy and post-natal care. The main reason for this is the frequent changes that happen to the shape of your breast. The rigid underwire can exert pressure when the breast is full and potentially lead to blocking of the milk ducts. But, if you prefer the support provided by the underwire bras, you could look for flexible low-gauge wires that support maternity bras.
Maternity bras while sleeping
Wearing maternity bras when you sleep is more a matter of personal choice. However, wearing one could be helpful when you are breastfeeding since it can contain potential leaks and hold the breast pads in place. But, if you experience better comfort without the bras, there is nothing wrong doing so.
Number of maternity bras you may need
During your pregnancy, you may need a minimum of two maternity bras. When you transition to the breastfeeding days, you might want to buy a third or perhaps even the fourth. During the initial days of breastfeeding, you may experience frequent leaks and that might call for washing your bras more often.
Moving to a regular bra
The maternity bras are found to be helpful at least for 6 weeks after your baby is born to provide good support for your breast, neck and back and shoulders even when you discontinue breast feeding during the 6 weeks time frame. Conversely, for mothers continuing with breastfeeding, use of a maternity bra is recommended till the baby is weaned off the breast.
Bra fitting post pregnancy and breastfeeding
Post delivery and breastfeeding, the glands return to their state before the pregnancy, but the breasts may not be as full as they were before the pregnancy. This happens since the fat displaced due to the expansion of mammary tissue never gets replaced adequately. Therefore, after the pregnancy and breastfeeding, another fitting is often needed to make sure that you have right sized bras.
Caring for the maternity bras
Before you deliver the baby, your maternity bras need only the general washing that you normally do. However, you should take care to avoid harsh detergents so that your breast skin remains free from any irritation and consequent skin issues. This is particularly important when you approach the 9th month since any remnants of harmful elements from detergents can potentially irritate your baby when you start breastfeeding. To provide maximum protection to your baby, you should always take care to keep your maternity bras clean from dust and other harmful elements. Most people prefer hand washing the bras in mild soap. Soaking in solutions prescribed for nappy treatment or bleach should be avoided at all costs since they can not only weaken the fabric but also pave the way to skin irritation. Most maternity bras available in the market can last through your pregnancy and the breastfeeding days, with minimal care.
Ideally, you should focus more on the quality of maternity bras to ensure that they are very comfortable to wear and at the same time harmless to your skin all through the pregnancy and breastfeeding days. When you start breastfeeding, you would also want to ensure that breasts remain clean and all milk particles are cleaned thoroughly every time your baby is breastfed. This will prevent potential infections that your baby may suffer from.