When to start
There is no ‘right time’ to start wearing a maternity bra during pregnancy – when you choose to make the change is completely up to you. Breasts increase in size during pregnancy and many women will find they outgrow their bras fairly early. Breasts begin to increase in size very early in pregnancy because they start preparing to produce breastmilk early. Usually they will stop growing by the time you are four months pregnant, and this may be a good time to have a maternity bra fitted. However, if you outgrow your old bras earlier in pregnancy, you could start wearing a maternity bra earlier. You may also need to upsize your maternity bra later in pregnancy if your breasts continue to grow.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day during pregnancy and breastfeeding is an important step to ensure you feel good and stay healthy. While there are some exercises you should avoid, for the majority of women performing low impact exercises like stretching and walking is completely safe. However, exercising with large pregnancy breasts can be uncomfortable. You may feel a little off-balance with all the extra weight in front. During exercise is one time when you’ll probably want to wear a bra and a good supportive maternity bra is the best option. It’s important to ensure your bra fits well and gives your breasts plenty of support.
If you feel more comfortable wearing a bra to bed during pregnancy or breastfeeding, you should wear your maternity bra. However, it is a matter of personal choice and there is no need to wear a bra if you don’t want to. If you do choose to wear a bra, it may be because you like the extra support, or it may be to hold nursing pads in place to catch any milk that leaks from your breasts during the night. Make sure your bra is comfortable. You may like to purchase a special sleep maternity bra. Some women find that wearing a soft crop top is sufficient when they are sleeping.
The maternity bras you wear during pregnancy will also serve you after childbirth. Your breasts are likely to be tender and swollen after you have given birth. They may also be leaking breastmilk. In this period your maternity bra will not only provide extra support for your breasts, it will also hold breast pads in place to absorb any milk leaks. Don’t forget to throw in a maternity bra or two when you’re packing the bag you’ll take with you to hospital. Wearing a well-fitting bra that does not restrict breast is also important for the duration of breastfeeding.