If you could view your baby in detail, you might see that the tail formed by his spine, called the embryonic tail, is now gone. You’d also observe that he has little earlobes and fully formed eyes, even though his lids will stay fused shut until around week 27.
Things you wouldn’t quite be able to see include her heart, which may now have four distinct chambers and developing valves, and his forming nerves and muscles. Additionally, he likely has teensy teeth and external sex organs, though you still can’t view them even with an ultrasound.
Your baby is also likely moving around a lot, though you probably can’t feel it, unlike the discomfort that you may be experiencing in your breasts. While sore, swollen breasts are one of the very first signs of pregnancy, now may be the time when you notice this symptom the most because your milk-producing glands are expanding in preparation to feed your little one.
In addition, pregnancy hormones may be causing growth in your breast tissue, so don’t be surprised if your bras no longer fit well. This enlargement will keep going for another month or so. (If you and your partner are loving this new change in your body, run with it.
After all, the increased blood flow to your pelvis may mean that you’re friskier than ever.)Also, you may notice more visible blue veins as they expand to deliver blood to your breasts and itchiness as the skin stretches. To alleviate itchiness and minimize stretch marks, you can moisturize your breasts (and belly too!) with cocoa butter.
What do I need to look for in a maternity bra?
When you’re shopping for a maternity bra, consider the following:
look for wide straps, sides and under-bust band, and a deep centre at the front. Firm elastic straps eliminate bounce and give you extra support.
it’s best to have as much fabric as possible over your breasts. This will help you stay comfortable if your breasts become more sensitive.
a minimum of four hook positions will allow your bra to grow with you.
look for bras that are mainly cotton. Pregnancy can raise your body temperature, so a cotton bra will reduce irritation and let your skin breathe.
There’s no evidence to suggest that underwired bras cause any harm, but they can become uncomfortable as your body changes. As such, many mums-to-be prefer to choose soft-cup bras in pregnancy.
Do I need to have my bust size measured?
Ideally, yes. Go for a professional measuring and fitting service, either in a department store or specialist lingerie shop. Once you know your size, you can look at online maternity shops too.
A trained bra-fitter will assess your changing shape and size. She’ll help you to choose a well-fitting bra by making sure that:
- the cups fit snugly, cover most of your breasts, and have no overflow at the top
- the centre seam lies comfortably against your breastbone
- your bra fastens on to the first set of hooks, leaving plenty of room for growth
It’s a good idea to get measured every couple of months, to check that your bra is still right for you. If you’re fitted late in pregnancy, buy a bra that fastens comfortably on to the last set of hooks. Your ribcage will gradually reduce in size after your baby’s birth so you’ll want your bra to last. Alternatively, you can skip straight to a nursing bra.
Pregnancy is such an exciting time and as your bump begins to sprout you may also notice that your cleavage is growing too.
If you were more Kiera Knightly than Kim Kardashian in the cleavage department before you became pregnant then having these new curves can bring mixed feelings, from happiness to confusion about what you need to make sure they remain supported.
And if you were bigger before you may also find with the extra growth comes an extra strain on your back. As a result it’s important to invest in new underwear that fits and stretches with your growing cleavage. Opting for one of these can also help prevent the stretching of delicate breast tissue which leads to sagging and stretchmarks.
Here’s our top ten maternity bra and underwear commandments
Thou shalt go and be professionally measured.
There’s a range of highstreet stores that offer this service free so have a look to see which one is closest to you. You may find as your pregnancy progresses and your cleavage continues to grow, you become best friends with the measuring assistant those in the know recommend you get measured regularly during your pregnancy to ensure you’ve got the right support throughout
Thou shalt avoid underwires.
It is thought that underwired bras can not only be uncomfortable during pregnancy but could also restrict the growth of the breast tissue so it’s best to avoid these at all costs
Thou shalt buy maternity bras with wide straps.
If you’ve been blessed with a bigger bust then look for bras with wide straps, which will support the weight and ensure your shoulders don’t suffer
Thou shalt never wear bra straps too tight.
Whatever size you are, you should always ensure that the straps are comfortable. It may be tempting to hoist up that new cleavage but if your straps are leaving marks, they’re too tight
Thou shalt let my bosoms breathe.
Pick a maternity bra with a breathable and stretchy fabric, which will ensure you stay dry under there too
Thou shalt know that maternity bras can be sexy.
Over the years maternity underwear has moved on from granny to glam with a range of maternity bras offering the support with the sexiness. You can also buy gorgeous underwear sets, which are perfect for making you feel great – how much better do we feel when we know our bras match our knickers?
Thou shalt consider a sports bra.
If you’re still friends with the gym then a sports bra is a must-have offering both support and comfort. Some women also use these to sleep in
Thou shalt think about nursing bras.
As you get towards the end of your pregnancy you may find that your cleavage is growing daily. This as a result of your breasts getting ready to produce milk. If you’re going to breastfeed your little one then now’s a great time to think about investing in some nursing bras. Designed with detachable straps with easy openings and in soft fabrics, these are great for when you need to feed your little one. Make sure you get measured around two weeks before your due date so you can get the best fitting one, although you may find that you’ll continue to grow once baby has arrived so if you’re worried about the fit pop back to get measured again later
Thou can still wear a G-string (if you really want!)
The key thing about knickers during pregnancy is that they are comfortable and sit well under or over your bump without being too tight. As a result it’s recommended you shelve the Spanx and restrictive control pants. However while many of us will opt for comfortable briefs (they don’t have to be Bridget Jones style) or shorts, as long as you’re not suffering from piles you can still wear those thongs. Just make sure you don’t buy them too tight… chaffing, need we say more
Thou shalt avoid wearing your other half’s boxers.
It may be tempting to nick his boxers when you’re sitting at home without the risk of being interrupted by friends or family, but these aren’t great for offering support. Instead invest in a couple of pairs of maternity shorts, which will give you the comfort you need as well as supporting your bump. And let’s face it, they’ll be far sexier!
BabyCentre mums share their tips on finding the perfect maternity bra
As your breasts will change throughout your pregnancy, you may find you get through a few bras before your baby’s born. We asked our users for tips that will save you time and money! “I went to be measured for a maternity bra and came away with two styles, each in a different size! It just goes to show how it’s best to get properly fitted and not just choose what you think is the right size for you.”
“I’m hanging on to wearing underwired bras for as long as possible. It’s fine to wear them as long as they’re comfy, and fit properly.”
“At first, I was depressed by the sight of most maternity bras. But I did eventually find some that look and feel good too. They have a moulded soft cup, which is pretty flattering and makes me feel better about the switch to maternity bras.”
“The lady who did my fitting advised me to wear a 36D non-underwired bra to give me some growing room. Before pregnancy I was a 34C, so that’s quite a big jump!”
“My boobs have got bigger and have become so sensitive. I find everything is painful, especially at night, so I decided to buy a maternity sleep bra. It’s so comfortable that I’m going to buy a couple more.”
“I have opted to get some really good sports bras. They provide lots of support and still make my breasts look like breasts.”
“My midwife told me that underwired bras are fine as long as they fit properly. The wires should be far back near your armpit. I have a GG bust with and a very small back size so I still needed the extra lift that underwired bras give. The best advice is to make sure you are measured properly.”
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