Maternity bras support, support, support! If it's not a priority now, it will be in the coming months. If you thought finding the right bra was tricky before, just try it now. As pregnancy progresses and nursing begins, your breast size will fluctuate by the week. To make matters worse, your breasts will feel especially sensitive at certain stages, making comfort as important as proper fit.
The most important clothing accessories are the ones that will never be seen. A properly fitting supportive bra is vital during pregnancy and after delivery. Old bras are generally useless during pregnancy because of your expanding physique and engorged breasts after delivery. Bypass the discount stores and sale racks and have a fitting done by an experienced fitter at a well stocked lingerie department or at a specialty shop. A well seasoned fitting specialist should be able to tell approximately how much extra room and support will be needed. An expectant mother's best bet is to purchase two good fitting bras (one to wear and one to wash). Being fitted for a bra is a service that is provided at no extra charge so take the offer to be fitted and see how good a bra will feel when it fits properly. A good bra is not cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere from $30 - $60 depending on size and manufacturer.
You can just buy a regular bra in a larger size, but you may regret it. Maternity bras offer wider straps for more support and extra coverage. Extra rows of fasteners will allow the bra to grow with the pregnancy. This is an important feature when you consider that the average woman's rib cage expands one to two bra sizes. Don't go for an underwire style bra. They can cause clogged milk ducts if they press too hard on breast tissue. As for the racy styles to enhance cleavage, pass on these also. They will still be around after the baby is born. If breastfeeding is on the agenda then you will need to purchase three or four good nursing bras during the last month of the pregnancy when the breast size is closest to what it will be when your milk comes in. Nursing bras are designed altogether differently. These specialty bras have cups that open discreetly at feeding time; adjustable cup size (they hook at higher or lower point, just like the fasteners on the backband of the bra); and nursing pad pockets to keep absorbent pads in place to catch any leaking milk and save you from any embarrassment.
Now, if all this bra talk is a little overwhelming in the beginning of pregnancy, relax. There are some helpers you can purchase to make your current bra more comfortable and help ease the discomfort you may be experiencing during the first trimester. Bra extenders are an innovative way to give you a couple of extra inches in your current bra. An extender is a small piece (usually 2-3 inches) of extra fabric that hooks into the fastener on the backband of your bra. Shoulder strap wideners are another great way to make the first month more bearable as your breasts start to feel extremely heavy. These cushions attach to the bra strap by velcro. They prevent narrow straps from cutting into or slipping off of the shoulders. Both of these extras are inexpensive (under $10) and can make a world of difference in the beginning of pregnancy.