How to choose a maternity or nursing sports bra
Pregnancy often results in breast growth along with many other changes. Sometimes just one cup size bigger and often 2-3 cups, your rib cage will also expand so you’re likely to need not only a bigger cup size, but also the band size. Although all of your growing is likely to be done by week 16, there may be a number of changes along the way, and then when your milk comes in you will become fuller until it settles.
The right time for you to be fitted into a maternity bra is when your breasts begin to noticeably swell to the point that your existing bras no longer fit or become uncomfortable. This is usually towards the end of the first trimester and usually about the same time you are busting out of your jeans.
It’s important to visit a professional bra fitter to ensure you get the support you need at this very important time in your life. A well-fitting, supportive maternity bra will relieve breast strain, allow for breast growth, provide much needed support and help you to feel more comfortable.
Do I need a different maternity bra to use exclusively while exercising?
You can opt for a sports bra or a maternity bra. Just like us, sports bras come in various shapes and styles. From encapsulation to compression, underwire to wirefree, and low to high impact…! Maternity bras are now available in wirefree or a flexiwire. Although sports bras are made of moisture wicking materials which can have their benefits, what’s more important when you are pregnant or nursing is that your bra fits correctly and it is comfortable and supportive.
Its almost always about the fit and it’s personal. Just because your best mate has found the perfect bra it doesn’t mean it will work for you, actually there is a less than 50% chance it will. Bras and bodies are complex.
See our blog ‘how to choose the right sports bra’ for more help, but in a nutshell…
Pregnant: Wear what is comfortable. With lots of stretching and movement a wirefree sports bra is usually best. Although if fitted correctly an underwired bra is absolutely fine, just be sure that the wire sits outside of your breast tissue and not on it while in motion. But remember, it’s very unlikely you can safely wear the same bras you wore when you were not pregnant due to your breast changes. Many sports bras compress the breast. If you find this uncomfortable, you can work out in an everyday bra, ensure it is full in the cup to provide the best support.
Breastfeeding: These nursing sports bras are a great option. They both come with a flexiwire and drop down cups to feed your baby.
What should I look for when purchasing a good quality sports maternity bra?
Underwired bras during pregnancy
Some practitioners will not endorse underwires because breasts continually change shape throughout pregnancy. Less flexible and expandable, wired bras may interfere with natural changes, possibly obstruct the increased blood flow and compress the milk ducts. Ill-fitting bra wires are one of a number of causes of mastitis; others include illness, stress, a skipped feed, and seat belts putting pressure on the breast have also been named as a culprit.
However there are some great flexiwire options such as Elomi, Anita and Cake Lingerie that sport a flexiwire designed to flex with your body as it changes. The most important thing is that it should be fitted properly and if there is any discomfort – don’t risk it – don’t wear it.
How can I be sure my new bra is a good fit?
Regardless of whether you are pregnant or nursing a good fitting bra is crucial, you can see our step by step guides here. In a nutshell…
– The wire should not sit anywhere on your breast tissue
– The band provides most of the support so it should be firm. Simple Test: Lift your arms in the air, if the band comes away from your body it’s not the right fit, the band should anchor the bra firmly.
– There should be no bulge anywhere. Yep we’ve all seen the four boob effect, don’t let that be you. The bra should not cut into your breast, this is even more important when pregnant or breastfeeding.
– If you are adjusting your bra all day and can’t wait to rip it off when you get home then these are indicators you are in the wrong size or style.
Remember we change throughout our life through adolescence, weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy and menopause. Its extremely unlikely you are the same size you were a few years back.
D cup and over?
95% of women who visit us for the first time are wearing the wrong size bra, yep 95%. There are so many reasons for this and it’s usually not your fault, just know that it’s not necessary to experience discomfort from your bra.
Maxine Windram – bra boss, coffee addict, Mother, introvert, blogger…. Becoming Australia’s D cup & up expert wasn’t exactly on my radar when considering career options! But after being treated like a problem in bra shops due to my D+ cup size, I now live and breathe boobs, bras and business (I don’t actually breathe boobs, that would just be weird). Now don’t ask me about my A, B, Cs… I only know my D – Ks. Having run our D cup & up lingerie stores with my Mum for over 10 years, it’s now my mission to dig deeper into the world of big boobs and help women get abreast of their bodies and understand how to find that elusive perfect bra.