There are bound to be a lot of changes during pregnancy, which call for certain adjustments. For instance, breasts undergo tremendous growth throughout the pregnancy period and after, making it necessary to find the most suitable bra. Underwire bras are a popular kind of bra among women, but some pregnant women fear they bras may restrict blood flow to the breasts, interfere with the development of the milk duct system due to increased pressure, leading to discomfort and even mastitis. Until now, however, these claims can only be treated as myths because there is no scientific evidence to back them up.
So, is it ok to wear underwire bras when pregnant? It is fine to wear an underwire bra when pregnant as long as you feel comfortable and at ease. You must, however, make sure that it fits perfectly to prevent any issues. Wearing a bra that is too small could cause extra stress on yourself. You need to be as stress-free as possible when pregnant.
It all boils down to one thing: your comfort level. Just make sure you are comfortable, and everything else will fall into place.
Safety of underwire bras during pregnancy
Most of the health concerns brought forward as far as wearing underwire bras is concerned, come to fore as a result of wearing bras that are too small rather than wearing underwire bras.
If a bra does not fit properly, it does not matter whether it is wired or not; you can expect it to have some adverse side effects. Likewise, you can be sure that a well-fitting underwire bra is safe to wear during pregnancy. There is no sufficient evidence that links wearing properly fitting underwire bras to any ailments, such as mastitis.
That said, it might not be a wise idea to wear an underwire bra during the times when your breasts fluctuate the most, usually during the first trimester of pregnancy and the initial four to six weeks post birth. That is because the regular change occurring in your bust may prevent it from fitting well into the cup. Consequently, the wires may become a bother. Nevertheless, outside of this period, when your breasts have settled, it is ok to wear an underwire bra.
Fitting is everything
Wearing correctly fitted bras is the secret to having healthy breasts during pregnancy. You can go for any bra during this period, but you must first make sure that it fits. That includes underwire bras. But if your midwife or doctor claims otherwise, you can, but you are still free to make your own decision.
Some of the clues to when you should go in for fitting include:
- When you start to feel uncomfortable in your current underwire bra
- Spillage of breasts over the cups
- When the bra begins to feel too tight
Most bra retailers offer bra fitting services, sometimes even for free. They will take measurements of your band size and cup size.
For a maternity bra, make sure the shoulder straps are wide enough. It should also have adjustable back fastenings to cater for size increase as well as support panels. Ensure that:
- The sides, top, and bottom of the cups have no bulging
- The back strap does not cut into your skin
- The shoulder straps remain intact even when you raise your arms. They ought to fit in closely but do not have to dig in
- The underband lies close to the body and remains at the same level in the front as well as at the back. Consider it too large if you notice it rides back at the rear.
- Your nipples point straight ahead, instead of up or down.
- Your breasts ought not to move about the inside cups when your shoulder straps move.
Switching to maternity bras
Some women have admitted to wearing underwire bras throughout their pregnancy without any issues. This is entirely possible, especially if the bras are well fitting. But beyond the second trimester, when your breasts begin to grow, and the developing milk ducts begin to produce milk, a more convenient and comfortable alternative becomes necessary.
For most women, maternity bras are more than enough to do the trick. In addition to being comfortable and soft, maternity bras are an economic investment because you can use them even after delivery. If you stick to underwired bras, you might need to keep buying bigger sized ones as the pregnancy progresses. What’s worse, you might not use any of them beyond delivery and lactation after your breasts have reverted to their original size.
Maternity bras are also useful during exercise. Pregnant as well as breastfeeding women who exercise at least 30 minutes every day are likely to stay healthy and feel good. You should avoid some exercises, but it is entirely safe to perform specific low impact exercises such as walking and stretching.
However, enlarged breasts —due to pregnancy— present the challenge of discomfort while exercising. There is even an increased chance of losing balance due to the additional weight in front and on top. That is why it is advisable to wear a great maternity bra with excellent support during this time. Make sure it fits well and offers plenty of support.
You should also consider wearing a maternity bra in bed. While it is a personal choice and you do not have to wear a maternity bra to bed if you do not feel like, the bra provides extra support and a way to hold nursing pads to absorb meal leaks during the night.
If you realize a regular maternity bra does not feel right, you may choose to go for one specifically meant for sleep. Donning a soft crop top is another smart way to get through the night when pregnant.
Underwire maternity bras are designed with low gauge wires to deter discomfort and disruption. To be on the safe side, buy maternity bras with wide straps, adjustable back fastings, and viable support (be it form underwire or panels). Before making the purchase, ascertain that there is no digging and no bulging. Otherwise, that is an indication that your bra is of the wrong size.
It is also ok to embrace flexi-wire underwired bras when pregnant
A flexi-wire bra is designed with more flexible and lighter wire. The flexible wire is contained within the wire channel, like in a regular underwire bra, though it is more bendy and supple.
The material used for flexible wire may be plastic, metal, or even rope. The main focus with the flexi-wire bra is to enhance safety, fit, and support.
The flexi-wires are designed to provide a more generous amount of allowance to cater for the changes that occur to the bust during pregnancy and after. They aim to re-create the support and fit without being too firm or rigid.
In the case of flexible wire used in a nursing or maternity bra, the curve is made wider to make sure it lies comfortably beneath the breast tissue rather than on it. This configuration is essential because a lactating or pregnant woman tends to experience fullness to the side or top of her bust.
Generally, flexible wire is more malleable and softer. If fitted correctly, it is neither uncomfortable nor restrictive to wear, but still provides the wearer with added support and good shape.
Other advantages of flexi-bras include;
- The ability to hold the cup’s shape and offer sufficient support instead of compressing and flattening the breasts
- The ability to offer an increased band and cup support since they hold the bra better against the body’s frame
Is it ok to wear underwire bras when breastfeeding?
Yes. The uncertainty and worry concerning wearing an underwire bra during breastfeeding arise from the thought that the wire could interfere with blood flow, thus inhibit milk production or even result in clogged ducts or mastitis. There is, however, no evidence to back these claims.
What type of bra should I wear when pregnant?
You can wear any bra as long as it fits properly and you are comfortable in it. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to go for a maternity or nursing bra, which caters for growing breasts, thereby reducing maternity expenses.