Choosing the right sports bra as a pregnant, post-natal or nursing mum
Let us be clear. Whatever your circumstance, you NEED to wear the correct bra. For exercise, for the school run, for doing a grocery shop – our changing bodies require support and no more so, than when we are pregnant.
We chatted with Maxine Windram co-founder of Brava Woman, a store dedicated to dramatically improving the shopping experience for women who are D cup and up, (and let’s face it, even if you are not a D cup now, most of us ‘expand in size’ during pregnancy) whilst educating women on the importance of wearing the correct fitting bra at any time of their life.
We asked Maxine…
Whilst pregnant, when should I consider switching to a maternity bra?
Pregnancy often results in breast growth along with many other changes. Sometimes it may just be one cup-size bigger but often two to three 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 still to come, such as when your milk comes in when you will become a fuller shape until it settles again.
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 for 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 wire free, and low to high impact. Maternity bras are now available in wire free 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.
During pregnancy, it’s almost always about the fit – and that’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!
You can read more of our top tips for ‘how to choose the right sports bra’ on our website however in a nutshell, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, here is our advice:
Pregnant: Wear what is comfortable. With lots of stretching and movement, a wire-free 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 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?
The short answer is that there are not many of these available – Thank goodness that Cake Lingerie and Hotmilk understand active Mums! We have a range of their products available in store and online.
Are underwired bras during pregnancy a no-no?
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. Here is what I advise my customers:
- 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. It’s 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 and during pregnancy, comfort is paramount!
Where can I buy a good maternity sports bra?
Check out these fab options:
www.hellomondayactive.com.au – use the code ‘buggybootcamprocks’ for 20% off at check-out