Whilst some women, especially those who have always fancied having a bigger bust, may revel in the growth that almost always happens during pregnancy, those women who already have large boobs begin to fear they will never find a bra big enough and one which will give them support in the long, aching months ahead. Whatever your size, being comfortable in pregnancy is important to help you rest, relax and to stave off problems like back pain and headaches.
Coping with growing boobs in pregnancy
Although in some women the change might be less noticeable, getting bigger is one of the key signs of breast changes during pregnancy. For women who are already large and who tend to rely on underwiring for day to day support, there is not only the headache of finding a new bra that offers as much as support at their current ones, but also the debate about whether or not underwiring is advisable during pregnancy.
Professionals are divided on whether or not this is safe, with some claiming that is can cause blocked milk ducts. Certainly whether your bra is underwired or not you should make sure it does not leave a red mark around your body when you take it off, as it is too small for you.
If you are worried about whether or not it is right for you, consult your own GP.
When do you need to buy new bras?
You probably don't need to change your bra until you are in about the fourth month of your pregnancy but be aware of your own needs in case changes demand a switch much sooner than that. Some women do find their breasts become sensitive earlier and may have to avoid their lacey bras and opt for something in cotton (less sweaty – your average temperature goes up in pregnancy) that has less ridges or itchy seams in it.
You might think that it's not worth investing in maternity bras if you're then going to have to buy feeding bras too, but your breasts will change shape. It is possible to buy some really nice maternity bras that have 'drop down' cups so you can use them for feeding too. If you do this, you need to make sure the bra has several back hook options as your width size will go back to a more normal size after birth. Some companies recommend having a bra with at least four different hook settings for real expansion and decreased size after the birth and then again after breastfeeding ceases.
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You should also be aware that some women find their cup size dramatically increases when their milk finally does come in (about three days after birth). However, this can vary and some women will not notice a vast difference.
Making the most of your existing bras
If you find your own bras comfortable, you may just want to increase their size flexibility by buying bra extenders, which allow you to expand the band width around your ribs by adding extra hook settings at the back.
Even if you find that your underwired bra is working fine during the day without putting too much pressure on the underneath of your growing bosoms, you should not wear it as support at night.
Instead, companies like Emma Jane (supplied by outlets including Mother Nature Bras, see below) make 'sleep bras' which are softer but still offer good support at night, if you find that an extra pillow or small cushion is not enough to keep you comfortable. Emma Jane also have lots of good advice about fitting, changing bras etc.
Useful websites and stockists
Although you can go to a department store or maternity store and get a fitting, if you haven't found what you're looking for in range of sizes when you weren't pregnant, you may well falter now too.
Buying online might seem risky when you can't try the bra on first, but many companies are very good about free returns because they understand the importance of getting this garment right. Make sure you measure yourself before ordering. Bosom Buddies Online have a really useful measuring chart offering good sizing advice.
Many stockists will have a wide range of suppliers, allowing for a wider range of sizes offered:
And our personal favourite? We love the sound of the Berlei Shock Absorbers Sports Bra which is suitable for use during pregnancy. Available from companies like Figleaves, the name says it all!
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