WHAT IS A MATERNITY BRA?
During pregnancy your body changes and your breasts are no exception. A well-fitting maternity bra is key for support and comfort.
A maternity bra is designed for comfort and support during pregnancy. Many styles are non-wired although new developments now allow for a light wire that is more flexible than a fashion wire. This avoids damage to the breast tissue and the potential cause of mastitis. In most cases, underwired bras are best avoided if they haven't been specifically designed for pregnant women.
The cups are made from stretchy fabric to allow for the changes to your shape and to protect the milk ducts. Maternity bras will offer a higher level of support than normal soft cup bras and better protection against stretch marks.
Maternity bras should also offer six rows of hook and eye fastenings so they can comfortably grow with your body.
Women are often told to buy their maternity bras in the fourth month of pregnancy. However, we recommend listening to your body and doing what is most comfortable for you.
Generally, a maternity bra should fit you on the tightest hook when you buy it - you can loosen it or even buy bra extenders as you grow.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A MATERNITY BRA?
- Stretch cups with a high cotton content are the best for allowing your bust to grow.
- Wide straps will reduce pressure and relieve strain to your neck and shoulders.
- Wide hook and eyes with soft backing fabric will give better support and avoid irritation.
- The cups should fit well with no bulging.
Look out for stretch fabrics and straps that adjust all the way from the back to the front and garments with extra hook and eyes. You will feel the benefit of being able to alter the fit throughout the day if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
A bra with a deeper underband and centre front will offer better support than a fashion bra. Look for bras with deeper elastics and check that they feel soft and plush on the inside. Maternity bra cups tend to sit much higher up the chest wall than fashion bras. This added support will aid your comfort as your breasts become heavier and more sensitive.
Sports bras may also be a good option as they are super supportive.
WHAT IS A NURSING BRA?
The primary benefit of a nursing bra is that it will usually have a clip on the strap that will be simple to open with one hand to release your breast. This allows for easy access when breastfeeding.
The best time to buy a nursing bra is in the 36th week of pregnancy. When you buy your nursing bra it should fit you on the loosest hook as your back size might get smaller after the birth, so you can tighten it as you go along. We recommend that you buy a bra that looks a little generous in the cups as your breasts will grow when your milk comes in.
We wouldn't advise you to stock up on too many nursing bras as you may find that even with the best intentions, breastfeeding sometimes just doesn't work out for one reason or another. On the other hand, if it all works out well for you, you will find that you are washing your bras much more often that you usually would, so you might need three or four bras.
WHY DO I NEED A NURSING BRA?
During pregnancy you will have experienced an increase in your breast size. A few days after birth your breasts will start to swell some more as your body begins to prepare your breast milk.
It is not advisable to wear your normal underwired bra when nursing. If the underwire is present, it can apply pressure to the milk ducts and cause mastitis or blocked ducts, which is a very painful condition to suffer.
The drop cup is not the only difference between a maternity and nursing bra. A maternity bra is stretchy so that it can grow with you. A nursing bra, on the other hand, is designed to be more supportive which means less stretch.