This very fragile area is in high demand during pregnancy. When the breasts swell during maternity, their tissues become damaged, and it is important to take the right precautions to protect them before, during and after pregnancy, especially if you decide to breastfeed. Here are some tips to take care of your chest throughout this period.
Choose a good bra
It is the basis for ensuring a preserved breast: carefully select your lingerie during the 9 months of pregnancy and the months after birth. In the first few months, when your chest becomes painful and larger than usual, invest in adjustable bras and replace them regularly as your breasts increase in size. With or without a wire, opt for comfortable bras, the goal being to feel encapsulated but not embarrassed, to maintain tonicity and shape. Many brands now offer lingerie that’s as cute as it is comfortable. Our favorite: the small French brand Les Ultraviolettes, offers adjustable bras that anticipate variations in size during and after pregnancy. If you want to breastfeed, opt for a special bra with breastfeeding clips.
Finish your shower with cold water
Weight changes and the hormonal fluctuations are what damage the breasts and weaken their tissues. To strengthen them, avoid taking too hot showers and finish with a strong stream of cold water on the chest in a circular motion. It shouldn’t be too strong, but sufficiently forceful and cool enough to firm the breasts. The more cautious women can simply apply a glove of cold water to obtain the same “ice cube effect.” In addition to a toning result, the cold helps relieve the pain of a heavy chest, which continues to grow over the months.
Hydrate your skin
The worst (aesthetic) enemies of the pregnant woman are stretch marks. They tend to appear on the chest and belly, the two areas that round out the most, thus on the cutaneous tissues. While sometimes certain marks are inevitable, it is still possible to minimize the appearance of stretch marks by hydrating the body as much as possible in the morning and evening, and by focusing on the breast. Cream, milk or oil—choose what’s best for your skin, as long as it’s nourishing and moisturizing. Argan oil and sweet almond are known for their moisturizing virtues, as well as Weleda massage oil or Clarins ultra-firm bust milk.
Adopt the right breastfeeding behaviours
Contrary to what some young mothers may fear, breastfeeding does not damage the breasts. Still, some rituals can facilitate a serene breastfeeding without chest pain. Take the first weeks to ensure that the baby takes the breast (his mouth must cover the entire areola), and do not hesitate to be accompanied and advised by a professional. This will avoid the appearance of painful cracks or engorgement.
After each feeding, wipe your breast with a soft cotton pad and apply a fat-rich cream—such as Lansinoh—to nourish your breast and prevent it from drying out. It is also necessary to preserve one’s breast when one decides to stop breastfeeding. When weaning, do not hesitate to take special care of your breasts. To avoid the appearance of stretch marks due to breast size changes, moisturize generously with oils or creams that you apply in circular movements, in the morning and in the evening.
Do (small) exercises
During pregnancy, while physical activity should be reduced, do not stop completely. The less athletic mothers-to-be can still relax at the pool, do prenatal yoga sessions or take long walks. These activities will be beneficial for the chest, too, and they’ll help maintain tone and shape. There are also some simple and gentle exercises to maintain the good performance of your breasts. For example, sitting on a chair, with your back straight, you place your palms together in front of you by spreading your elbows and exerting a few seconds pressure several times. A resistance band—an elastic for sport—can also be used to solicit the muscles of the chest and keep it firm and high.
Translation: Ashley Griffin