During pregnancy, it is not just your stomach that is gaining volume… Your breasts will also experience significant change in size, from the first weeks until the start of milk production a few days after delivery. It can therefore become complicated to keep up with the right kind of lingerie. Comfort, maintenance, breastfeeding: how do you navigate and buy the lingerie that suits you? We asked all our questions to Christel, founder of Mum-to-be Party, the webzine and e-shop specialized in the well-being of mothers during and after pregnancy.
In the first trimester…
This is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, the most visible, which can notify us even before the first test: the chest grows one or two sizes in the first month. We then wonder if it will ever stop and when to invest in a bra in our new size… For Christel, founder of the site Mum-to-be Party and facilitator of workshops dedicated to pregnant women, you must go buy a new bra “as soon as you feel discomfort,” and choose carefully, and especially, find “the right size.” “While it’s impossible to predict how your breast will evolve throughout your pregnancy, it’s known that there are three times when your breasts will generally grow: in the first trimester, last trimester and at the time of milk production.”
How to choose a maternity bra?
“To avoid unnecessary purchases, my advice is to invest immediately in a quality product that can be reused from one pregnancy to another, and so choose one or two bras of a brand specializing in maternity lingerie during the first quarter. These brands offer adjustable products to adapt as much as possible to the variations of the size of the chest, in extendable and breathable materials, with soft support (more comfortable at the end of pregnancy). What’s more, to make your purchase profitable and if you want to breastfeed at birth, consider choosing a breastfeeding model very early.”
How to choose your size?
“Expectant mums are often surprised by their new size bra, and they can’t imagine having to wear an E or F cup when they had been wearing an 32C… That’s why it’s so important to have your measurements taken in a shop, or do them at home (with a tape measure) if you shop online. Above all, rely on the size guide of the particular brand you choose because sizes can vary from one manufacturer to another.
When trying on a bra, check a few important guidelines to make sure you wear it for as long as possible:
- There must be some space left in your back clasps. If you are in the last row of clasps, and you are at the beginning or middle of your pregnancy, it’s a bad sign because your back will continue to expand.
- It also takes a little margin at the level of the cap. One must be able to easily slip a hand inside or a breast pad.
- Adjust your straps well: we often feel that the bra is too big because we forget to adjust the straps.”
Find here a guide to measure your breast size and a size guide by brand of lingerie specialists in pregnancy.
With or without underwire?
“If you prefer underwired bras for comfort, do not deprive yourself, but opt for soft-banded models if possible. Wireless bras are recommended if you have sensitive chest, or in case of discomfort if your belly expands to the height of your chest.”
For periods of high sensitivity and breastfeeding…
“You need something soft that feels like a second skin and is suitable for sleep. For this, the maternity and nursing bras are ideal, ultra-flexible and expandable. If you are breastfeeding, it will hold pads that collect milk leaks at night between feedings. Even if you are not breastfeeding, it will be useful for you to better support the increase of milk.”
And for the last trimester?
“When the body is preparing for breastfeeding at the end of pregnancy, the breasts can often grow a cup size. In this case, if you want to breastfeed and build your wardrobe, you can reinvest, at the end of the 7th or beginning of the 8th month, in a bra with a bigger cup size. If you prefer to wait, take your measurements at the beginning of the 9th month and then buy a bra in that size. Just do not buy a bra at the time of the increase of breastmilk when the breasts swell enormously. It is useless because that size often does not last long. You may prefer to wear a sports bra during this period instead. It’s better to wait until breastfeeding has started before buying extra bras. And do not hesitate to retake your measurements!“
Which brands should you look into?
Boob. It’s a Swedish brand that makes pregnancy lingerie. They also make t-shirts and nightgowns, which have the advantage of providing a particularly flattering silhouette with a discreet and easy opening system for breastfeeding.
What I like: They are eco-durable products of high quality that do not move in the wash and that accompany you without problem from one pregnancy to another.
Cache-cœur. It’s a French brand that only makes lingerie for pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is something for all tastes and all breasts,even if you have very large breasts and a very slim back!
What I like: the bras are adjustable, offer perfect support and are obviously compatible with breastfeeding, with a practical magnetic opening at the shoulder strap. I also like their swimsuits that offer several choices of cups for the same size.
What to expect in terms of accessories and lingerie for the maternity bag?
- Two sports bras.
- If you are breastfeeding: a nursing bra, breast pads and breastfeeding nightgown.
- A belt to tighten the pelvis after delivery, help you regain good posture and relieve your lumbar region.
- Large and/or disposable panties.
Our shopping selection:
- “Fast Food Bra” for Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding (“with back extension, especially good for milk leaks, certified Oeko-Tex material”), BOOB, 39,95 euros.
- “Iris” Wireless maternity and nursing bra, CACHE- CŒUR, 39,95 euros.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding nightgown (“It is not a trivial thing to invest in a nightgown while breastfeeding: you have to think about possible long nights of breastfeeding, and to take care of your comfort”), BOOB, 49 euros.
- Pregnancy and postpartum belt (“to be worn at the maternity ward to keep a good posture and relieve the lumbar region. Do not underestimate the post-pregnancy back pain because you’re constantly in the same position to bottle feed or breastfeed… “), PHYSIOMAT, 29.90 euros.
- BELLY BANDIT shaping waist belt, 69.95 euros. (Read our review on the Belly Bandit belt.)
- Maternity cup-size Monaco swimwear, CACHE- CŒUR, 59.95 euros.
- 2-in-1 Pregnancy and breastfeeding T-shirts, POMKIN, from 34.95 euros.
Translation: Ashley Griffin
Photo credit: Boobdesign.com.