There are many women who continue to wear an underwire bra whilst pregnant, and those who are totally against it.
So can you wear and underwire bra when pregnant? Yes you technically can. Should you? It depends. Sounds a little confusing, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Due to all the frequent changes in your breast shape over the 9 month of pregnancy, it is believed that a rigid underwire can add unnecessary pressure which could lead to blocked milk ducts and/or mastitis, particularly once milk comes in and you are breastfeeding. There is no real evidence that (correctly fitted) underwire bras are linked to lactation problems however there are common links which can be avoided when a more appropriate bra is worn. It is also highly likely that issues with milk ducts and uncomfortable bras are more to do with women wearing the wrong sized bra than one that contains wire.
Even if you usually avoid wearing bras in general, or find you can just get away with wearing a crop top or t-shirts with built in shelf bras, you may need to re-think your underwear options when you are pregnant.
Why you should buy a maternity bra
If you are tossing up wearing a regular bra or a maternity one throughout your pregnancy, there are reasons why you should opt for a maternity bra.
They are designed to specifically cater for women in various stages of pregnancy and most importantly are designed to provide a different level of support to normal bras.
Maternity bras don’t contain rigid wires and tend to have wider straps and more hook and eye options. They are also better constructed and have more “engineering” and design built into them. They are very different to normal bras which are designed for non-lactating breast tissue and can often have fashion and appearance as a priority.
There are options for those who require the support of an underwire but are looking for a less intrusive option. These bras have what is called a flexi-wire. There are a range of maternity bras that have been developed to offer the following benefits:
1. Flexi-wire support holds the shape of the cup and supports rather than flattens
and compresses the bust.
2. Flexi-wire support is better at holding the bra against the frame of the body for
increased cup and band support.
These bras are great during breastfeeding. During this time, breasts tend to increase and decrease in size as milk is produced and removed, either by expressing or feeding a baby. Although the changes are not overly significant, a regular bra with a regular underwire can a put pressure on the breast especially when it is fuller. This is the reason that inflexible underwire bras are not recommended. A bra with a flexible support however is designed to change position with your changing shape.
Can I wear my maternity bra while sleeping?
Yes you can if you feel that it is not too uncomfortable or rigid. It is certainly a good option to help hold breast pads in place and contain any leaks. However, there are other options available for more comfort. Nursing tank tops or sleep camis are soft cotton jersey tops which not only provide you support and warmth but have practical fasteners for easy access. They also double as outerwear so you’ll definitely get your moneys worth.
Maternity bras have come a long way and there’s no reason why you won’t be able to find a bra which fits you comfortably and also makes you feel pretty good too.
In the end whether you choose to continue to wear a bra with underwire must be a personal choice. Be aware of the potential impacts and be prepared to seek alternatives if you do face complications.