The importance of supportive bras during pregnancy and postpartum

Your bump isn’t the only thing that grows during pregnancy, your boobs do too. And with significant breast changes on the horizon, it’s important to understand why good quality supportive bras are a must and the difference between maternity, nursing and pumping bras.

Breasts expand in size and fullness during pregnancy because hormone levels, so it’s common to go up a few bra sizes. Many women also notice their back becoming broader too because of rib cage expansion.

All of these changes mean that we may outgrow our regular underwear. Buying bras that are comfortable, supportive for your breasts and back, and that have some stretch is crucial to promote positive breast health.

The difference between bras

You’ve probably been inundated with information on what bras to buy, but do you know the difference between them?

Maternity bras are designed for pregnancy only; they don’t place pressure on your breast tissue and don’t usually have maternity clasps or drop down cups to breastfeed.

Nursing bras are designed specifically for breastfeeding; they don’t place pressure on your breast tissue and they have an easy way of revealing your breast for breastfeeding. Many women wear nursing  bras during pregnancy too so they don’t have to buy so many different types of bras.

Pumping bras have a small hole to fit your pump flange in, so that you can experience hands free pumping.

Nursing and pumping bras have a drop down cup (or equivalent) for breastfeeding, and another area to place your pump for hands free pumping. 

blond baby and mom wearing black maternity infiniti bra

So what bra should you buy?

Buying maternity bras may be an old fashioned trend. More mothers-to-be are actually opting for nursing bras during their pregnancy so they get more wear out of them. Let’s face it, underwear can be pretty expensive.

The best time to buy new bras during pregnancy is when you start to outgrow your regular ones. This is to make sure that you are comfortable and well supported at all times.

It’s always a good idea to get professionally measured so that you are buying the bra that fits well. But some women want to buy bras that will last them their entire pregnancy, and we don’t blame them! So opt for bras that will expand with you, for example, if they have some give in the fabric and you can expand the back band and shoulder straps.

Also look out for bras with wide straps as these help support the weight of your breasts and help distribute it across the shoulders.

Because of leakage, washing and wearing, it is a good idea to have two or three nursing bras available. Start with the minimum number you can manage in case your breast size changes after your your milk comes in. It’s easy to add more bras into your collection as your milk supply settles and you know what style and fit works best for you.

Why supportive bras matter

As we mentioned above, breasts will change considerably throughout your pregnancy and postpartum, they will get larger and larger and then smaller again. Supporting these growing breasts at each of their stages is so important. And here’s why.

Supportive non-wired bras will:

  • Reduce stretching of breast tissue and minimise damage to your breasts. Wearing a well made supportive bra will reduce your chances of getting severe stretch marks and will ease sagging of the breast tissue.
  • Alleviate back and shoulder pain. Heavy breasts that are not supported well can cause back pain and lead to even worse health issues. Wearing a well made supportive bra will distribute your breasts weight properly therefore easing any strain on your back, shoulders and neck.
  • Reduce unwanted pressure on your breasts which could cause blocked ducts and even mastitis

Invest in yourself

You are growing life and will be giving (if you haven’t already) birth to a beautiful baby, you deserve to be comfortable and to take care of yourself.

A beautiful, supportive and comfortable bra will help promote positive breast health and make you feel like yourself during this huge change. No matter how much you spend on your bras, make sure they fit well, are comfortable and above all else are supportive.