If you're pregnant, it's best not to hold onto your old bras for too long. Studies show that wearing bras too tightly can lead to issues with your lymphatic system as well as your circulation. If you want to find the best bra for your pregnancy, follow these simple tips.
Types of Bras
You may find that your standard bra style just doesn't feel right during pregnancy. You may need to switch styles to either a soft cotton bra with no underwire, a sports bra, or a maternity bra, which also doubles as a nursing bra. Likely, your breasts will go through a variety of cup sizes as your baby grows and your body changes. Finding bras that are soft and flexible are your best option. Most OB/GYNs and midwives recommend that expecting mothers switch to maternity or nursing bras.
Nursing bras have the standard hook-and-eye adjustment closure. However, unlike standard bras that have 3 adjustments, nursing bras offer 4 adjustment settings. So, as your body grows, you can adjust your bra to fit your ribcage and breasts. Sports bras are another great alternative to a standard bra. They stretch and expand with your body while allowing proper support.
The Right Fit
The last thing you want to wear during pregnancy is a bra that is too small. A small bra will put pressure on your breast tissue. During pregnancy, your body is starting to produce milk. Having fabric snug across your breasts can damage tissue and potentially clog milk ducts. To find the right bra size, you need to perform the right measurements.
Start by wearing a bra that is not padded. With a measuring tape, measure around your back over the largest portion of your breast. Measure loosely as to avoid measuring too small. Next, measure around your ribcage. Rest the measuring tape around your ribs just below your breast.
Subtract the ribcage measurement from the first measurement. This will give you your band size. To find your cup size, follow this guideline:
- A: 0 to 1.5 inch difference
- B: 1.5 to 2.5 inches difference
- C: 2.5 to 3.5 inches difference
- D: 3.5 to 4.5 inches difference
- E (also called DD): 5 to 6 inches difference
Many OB/GYNs advise against wearing underwire bras during pregnancy. The underwire can push into the breast tissue, causing milk ducts to clog or damage growing breast tissue. This can also lead to breast infections and trouble nursing later on. Some low-end underwire bras are made with cheap materials, which can lead to skin irritation.
Keep in mind that maternity bras work as nursing bras as well. So, what you purchase during pregnancy will be used again. Maternity bras come in a variety of styles, colors, and have snaps that undo at the top of the cup, in between the breasts. They're also available with flaps that simply fold up.