Nikki J is wearing the 'Smoothie Crop Bra' in confetti/white and the 'Classic Maternity Leggings - Full Length' in black.
Buying pregnancy bras and outgrowing them in a matter of months is quite an inconvenience for mums-to-be. You have enough to cope with right now without having to go through the hassle of buying yet ANOTHER set of pregnancy bras.
Choosing the right bras that grow with you throughout your pregnancy and beyond is entirely possible, and are every bit as incredible (and real!) as they sound.
I'm here to give you all the knowledge I can on the matter, as I feel I've earned my stripes! Cadenshae are the global leaders in activewear for pregnant and nursing mums, and I have personally designed all 10 of the pregnancy/breastfeeding bras on our product carousel...plus I've breastfeed four children, and I'm about to start again with my fifth in a few short weeks!
After reading this blog, I want you to feel confident enough to purchase a quality set of pregnancy bras that will fit you perfectly throughout pregnancy and beyond! And hey, if they don't fit for whatever reason, we at Cadenshae can exchange your bras with zero fuss. Too easy!
NB: Yes, our pregnancy bras are designed for exercise, but they're just as useful for lounging around the house, or heading to dinner or work in as well. Versatile!
Let's rip into it!
1. What's the difference between a maternity bra, a nursing bra and a pregnancy bra?
Maternity bras were traditionally designed for just pregnancy and often don't have drop down cups for breastfeeding.
Nursing bras are designed for breastfeeding, but can often also be worn during the latter stages of pregnancy.
Pregnancy bras (Cadenshae bras) are designed to be worn throughout the whole pregnancy and breastfeeding process.
Often, the terms 'maternity bra,' 'pregnancy bra,' and 'nursing bra' are used interchangeably, but traditionally there was a clear difference - particularly between maternity and nursing bras. Pregnancy bras are a more modern invention.
Solely buying maternity bras is an old fashioned trend (before the invention of nursing and pregnancy bras). These days most mothers-to-be prefer to purchase pregnancy bras so they more wear out of them, and thus more bang for their buck.
2. What kind of bra should I wear whilst pregnant?
A pregnancy bra...and to put it simply, the best pregnancy bras...
- Have no underwire.
- Are soft and stretchy, yet provide plenty of support.
- Have a lot of adjustability around the band.
- Have a lot of room for stretching around the under-bust and around the back.
- Accommodate a pregnant woman’s tender, sensitive and growing breasts.
- Fit during all three trimesters and throughout breastfeeding.
- Have specially designed drop down cups for easy access nursing.
- Allow for fluctuations in the ribcage and bust.
- Have soft fabric on the inside of the cups so there's less aggravation to the breasts and nipples.
WARNING: Do not buy a ‘normal bra’ in a bigger size; the fabric and structure of a normal bra is not designed to support and accommodate the breasts and body during pregnancy and early motherhood. Normal bras have underwires which don't allow for growth and can result in extreme discomfort if worn all throughout pregnancy. Once nursing, a 'normal bra' is then even more impractical as it doesn't have drop down cups for easy access nursing and they're also somewhat dangerous as they increase the likelihood of mastitis (blocked and infected milk ducts) due to their restrictive underwires and harsher materials.
Nikki C is wearing the 'Everyday Bra' in grey.
2. Why do I need a bra that will grow with my breasts?
It makes smart economic sense to purchase quality bras that will cater to your breasts throughout pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. Having a baby can be expensive, so you'll want to avoid making costly mistakes and buy right, the first time. Spend money on pregnancy bras that will cater to all the various stages of pregnancy and postpartum, whilst always providing comfort, support and flexibility.
3. During which trimester should I buy pregnancy bras?
At Cadenshae we recommend you buy pregnancy bras as soon as you outgrow your pre-pregnancy ones. This is so you’re not only well supported, but comfortable all throughout this special time in your life.
Below is some information on how breasts can change throughout each trimester, and how a solid pregnancy bra will cater to these various changes.
First trimester: Week 1-12.
Many pregnant women start noticing changes to their breasts in the first week of their first trimester. From an unpleasant soreness, to a little increase in breast size. Changes to the breast can be the first tell-tale sign that a woman has conceived.
The most common changes you can expect in your breasts during the first trimester are:
- Soreness or tenderness.
- Breast veins becoming larger and more visible.
- A feeling of fullness in the breasts.
- Slight ache right up into the armpits.
TIP: In the first trimester stop wearing a bra that's uncomfortable in any way. If it's too tight, or the straps and/or underwire is digging in, put it away for well after you have finished breastfeeding. You don’t want your breast tissue to be restricted at this time, and you’ll need a soft-fabric bra that doesn’t irritate your skin.
Second trimester: Week 13-26.
This is usually when your breasts start to grow and when your internal organs shift to make room for the baby. You’ll notice your ribcage expanding and your under-bust increasing in size.
During this trimester, your breasts may feel heavier as milk ducts and colostrum develops, and you might even experience some leakage.
TIP: Most women start buying maternity clothes during this trimester. Due to the fact milk ducts and colostrum can start to form during this period, it’s recommended you buy some pregnancy bras now more than ever (if you haven’t already), so you’re prepared for any leaks that may occur (pregnancy bras are equipped with extra padding). Remember to ensure you buy bras that are adjustable so they can grow and shrink with you.
Third trimester: Week 27-42.
Your body is preparing for birth in the third trimester and by now, you’re probably experiencing some discomfort. It really is quite crucial you have a pregnancy bra that fits well so you’re feeling confident, supported and comfortable for the home stretch. The last thing you want at this late stage is a bra that's too tight.
By now, your breasts are probably growing heavier and larger at a faster rate than before. You may be experiencing more heavy leakage too. To boot, your nipples and areola will be getting bigger, and they may have darkened in colour. Some women experience itchiness and dryness of the breast skin during the third trimester as it stretches.
Fourth trimester: Birth - 3 months old.
Amelia is wearing the ‘Casual Tank’ in blush.
The fourth trimester starts from the moment your baby is born and lasts until he/she is three months old. During this phase, your breasts will continue enlarging as they produce more and more breast milk.
Directly after giving birth, your baby will suckle on the colostrum already produced during pregnancy. By around day four your breast milk will ‘come in’ and that's when some mum’s breasts go up a cup size or two. If you have a quality pregnancy bra, it will be able to accommodate this sudden growth. While breastfeeding is being established, many women contract mastitis (blocked and infected milk ducts) which can be extremely painful and nauseating. Cadenshae sports bras have been endorsed by medical professionals as they're proven to help reduce the chances of getting mastitis. Our bras have no underwire, meaning breasts and their milk can move more freely. Cadenshae bras are also made with soft fabric which lessens the likelihood of nipple aggravation. More solid reasons to purchase right, the first time.
TIP: After a few months of feeding, your breasts will settle down and can reduce in size. You’ll be thankful you purchased a quality pregnancy bra at this point as you’ll be able to adjust it accordingly. A good pregnancy bra that’s made with high-quality fabrics won’t lose its stretch and will therefore continue to offer the support and comfort you need throughout your breastfeeding journey.
Some new mothers may experience more enlargement than normal if their breasts produce more milk than they’re able to express. Whether or not your breasts return back to their original size depends on a couple of factors: genetics; the length of time you breastfeed and how much weight you gained during and after pregnancy.
4. How does a pregnancy bra fit throughout both pregnancy and breastfeeding?
It’s all in the design and the fabric.
Normal bras are typically made from a mix of viscose and polyester, whereas at Cadenshae we have constructed bras made with superior fabric blends like nylon/spandex with a cotton/spandex lining. These materials expand with your growing body while always providing plenty of support.
Our Everyday Bra is just one of our creations made to grow with you during pregnancy and nursing. Here’s some of its practical features:
- The cup design is stretchy and is specially designed to support your breasts even if you go up by 2-3 sizes (cup size, as well as band size).
- The materials used in its construction are flexible and stretch enough to accommodate all the changes that are going to occur during pregnancy and postpartum, including when your breasts start to reduce in size.
- The straps are designed in such a way that they can be adjusted to be long enough when your breasts are at their largest, and then short enough when your breasts return to their pre-pregnancy size.
- The super comfortable racerback design expands with you and helps disperse the weight of your growing breasts to reduce pain and discomfort.
- The front panel of the bra provides great coverage for the varying sizes your breasts will go through.
5. If a pregnancy bra is designed to grow with my breasts, how will it provide optimal support?
It’s crucial that a bra designed to grow with you throughout pregnancy and postpartum comes with an adjustable under-bust band. This will allow a woman to shift it at each stage to provide the specific support her breasts require during each stage.
For optimal support, a pregnancy bra needs to be able to:
- Loosen - for when the under-bust grows larger, usually during the second trimester.
- Tighten - for when the under-bust reduces in size after birth.
- Stretch - the under-bust band needs to made of a high quality elastic, so it’s able to stretch, but retain its shape.
It also needs wide shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly.
6. Is it possible to outgrow the pregnancy bra that's supposed to grow with me?
It is possible, yes, but we find the majority of women are comfortable with the same bra throughout.
Everybody and every pregnancy is different. You may put on a lot more weight than expected when you’re pregnant, or you may actually lose weight to begin with if you’re experiencing extreme morning sickness. No woman truly knows how her body will react to pregnancy…until she’s in it!
If you purchase a pregnancy bra to the recommendations above then you should be well supported throughout the various stages of both pregnancy and early motherhood.
7. What are the benefits of wearing a nursing bra that grows with me?
- It will save you precious dollars.
- It will reduce the stretching of breast tissue, thus minimising damage to the breast. Wearing a fully-supportive nursing sports bra will reduce your chances of getting severe stretch marks as well. Having proper support for your breasts during pregnancy and nursing will ease the ‘sagging.’ According to many medical experts, sagging can cause tearing of the breast tissue – all of which can lead to stretch marks.
- It will help alleviate backache and stress. Heavy breasts can cause back strain and pain that can cause further discomfort. Wearing a well-fitting pregnancy bra that expands will distribute weight properly, easing the strain on your back, shoulders and neck. A good-fitting pregnancy bra also promotes a healthy posture which can help with upper back discomfort.
8. I'm not going to breastfeed; do I still need to buy a pregnancy bra?
Even if you’re not planning on breastfeeding your baby, your breasts will still get heavier during pregnancy and you will need a supportive bra if you want to remain comfortable and supported. Women can start producing breast milk in their second trimester, so even those who don’t nurse will need to express until their supply wanes.
By wearing a pregnancy bra you will not only be properly supported, but you’ll have easier access to the breasts when you need to pump/express post birth.
Nikki C is wearing the 'Freedom Bra' in rouge and the 'Loose Fit Tank' in black for convenient hands-free pumping. Nikki is using the 'Bellema Effective Pro' hospital grade double electric breast pump.
9. How should my pregnancy nursing bra fit me initially?
Before you buy the a pregnancy nursing bra, you need to keep a couple of things in mind...
- The bra cup should be large enough to completely cover your breasts.
- You should be able to fit your open hand in your pregnancy bra cup.
- The bra band should fit you comfortably; it shouldn’t cut into your under-bust or skin what-so-ever.
- The bra straps should not dig into your shoulders at any point.
- If your bra is riding up in the back, you need to go up a cup size.
10. What is the best Cadenshae pregnancy bra that is designed to grow with your breasts?
Whether you are a fitness-freak-mama looking for a pregnancy sports bra, or a chilled-out-zen-mum, Cadenshae has something for everyone. However, the best pregnancy bra that will grow with you is our Everyday Bra, no doubt. It is super stretchy, ultra-comfortable and allows for fluctuations that you won’t find in any other maternity, pregnancy or nursing bras on the market.
Everyday Bra Reviews:
“I love my Everyday Nursing Bra! Thank you for creating such a great product. I have just bought my second bra from Cadenshae because I wear it so much more than I thought I would! It is so comfortable. I love the racerback style as I can wear it under my racerback tank so the straps do not show.” - Pascal
“Oh my gosh, I am in love! The Everyday bra is so comfy! And roomy for my boobs! I am going to get more as I don't want to take this one off!” - Kasey
“This bra feels so comfortable and soft to wear. I hadn't owned a racerback bra before so I was worried about getting it on and off - but it's really easy. I've been wearing it for every day, yoga and walking so far…and it feels great. About to order another colour!” - Em
A Final Word.
Women go through an incredible amount of change during pregnancy – both physically and emotionally. For that reason alone, it’s so important to wear well-fitting pregnancy bras and clothing that will cater to your new curves. Sporting the right apparel will ensure you're comfortable, supported, and if you get some Cadenshae activewear, you’ll be looking super stylish too!
All the best mamas! You’ve totally got this.
Written by Nikki Clarke.