Everything you need to know about the do's and don't's of wearing underwired bras and pregnancy
Most medical professionals recommend that you avoid wearing underwired bras during pregnancy, although there is no hard and fast evidence to back the advice. This can be both frustrating and confusing for the vast number of women who prefer the fashionable styles and extra support that underwired bras provide. So, to help you make an informed choice about the support you and your breasts need, we explain why health care professionals take this stance and whether it is advice you need to follow.
Soon after you fall pregnant your breasts will start to grow and change shape and both the surrounding skin and tissue will stretch to accommodate the extra weight. Without adequate support from the beginning of your pregnancy there is a risk that your breasts could lose their shape permanently and start to drop, causing tension and discomfort in your back, neck and shoulders. It is because of this that wearing a correctly fitted bra right from the start of your pregnancy is so important.
The reason behind the medical world's recommendation is largely due to the fact that your breasts change shape so quickly as you progress through your pregnancy. As wired bras are more restrictive and don't expand to accommodate your changing shape they are more likely to interfere with these natural changes, obstructing the increased blood flow and compressing the developing milk ducts. As a consequence they can result in discomfort, cysts and even mastitis.
What's the alternative?
There are a whole host of non-underwired bras available and while these can be a good alternative it is equally as important that they are properly fitted to provide you with the support you need.
Generally, its advisable to make use of a free fitting service offered by many underwear shops and department stores. However, do make sure you ask for a consultation with someone who has been trained, or has a lot of experience in fitting maternity bras so that you get the best fit possible.
If you are an underwired bra devotee there is another option available to you. Many underwear specialists are now developing specially designed underwired maternity bras that will provide you with the extra support you need without any of the associated risks.
Underwired maternity bras tend to use softer wire that is better able to respond and adapt to your changing shape without digging in. These types of bra also tender to use more generous fittings so that the wire is less likely to irritate you either underneath or at the side of your breasts.
It is still advisable however to wear a non-wired bra to bed if you find extra support necessary during the night. This is because you move around more in your sleep making it more likely that the underwire will dig in and cause discomfort.
Tips for choosing a maternity bra
Whether you have a question about buying maternity bras or something else, why not visit the AskBaby forums for a chat?
- Get fitted for a maternity bra as soon as you notice your breasts start to change shape then have regular fittings throughout your pregnancy.
- Comfort is the most important factor during pregnancy, a good maternity bra will give you the support you need without feeling restrictive, digging in or leaving red marks on your skin.
- Choose a bra with wide straps to give you extra support and prevent the extra weight from pulling on your back or shoulders.
- Make sure there is between a half and a full cups worth of growing room when you buy a new maternity bra. To check this, place your hand inside the cup when you try it on and make sure it gives.
- Choose a soft, breathable fabric to reduce irritation.
- Make sure the bra sits flat under your breast and doesn't lift up when you raise your arms.
- Go for something that helps you to feel gorgeous!