Speaking maternity bra lingo
Posted by IRINA LEVIT
Isn’t life too short to be wearing an uncomfortable bra?!...and even more so when you’re pregnant! So, if you’ve been waiting to get into your first maternity bra but feel a little overwhelmed by all the lingo and the do’s and don’ts, we can definitely help break it down for you. By now you might have done a bit of research into what options we’ve got for you in store and online…and if you haven’t made it that far yet, check out our last article. It’s a fab starting point to help you start to narrow it down.
Let’s break the daunting task of bra shopping down a little…
Maternity bras vs regular bras. Is there really a difference?
For sure! Regular bras generally have 3 hooks and eyes on which you can loosen and tighten the band. When you buy a regular bra, you’ll usually do it up on the loosest hook until the bra stretches a little and then you’ll move onto the next hook to find a tighter fit.
Meanwhile, most maternity bras have 6 hooks on the back allowing you waaaay more room to expand in your ribcage. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, you’ll want a bra that allows you more hooks on which to loosen the fit as you go.
Your breast shape will also fluctuate throughout pregnancy and when breastfeeding so to allow for these changes, maternity bras have a wider cup. And the most noticeable difference is the clip that you undo to make life a hell of a lot easier with breastfeeding!
Flexi-wire or wire free?
This one will depends on where you’re at in your pregnancy or breastfeeding journey. We’re sure you’ve heard the old rule of not wearing any underwire throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The new rule is, forget the old rule.
The vast majority of maternity bras these days are made with flexi-wire rather than traditional underwire. Flexi-wire is a low gauge wire so is significantly softer than regular underwire and contorts with your body much more freely.
If you’re used to and love wearing underwire, the next step could be to move to a maternity bra with flexi-wire. These bras will feel the closest to your regular pre-pregnancy bras.
Meanwhile, if you’re ready to burn your underwire bras and are all about embracing a new level of comfort, a wire free bra will be your go to.
But here’s where the difference between flexi-wire and wire free gets important. It’s not recommended to wear a bra with any wire at all for the first 6 weeks post birth. While your boobs are doing some serious shape shifting when your milk comes in and in the weeks that follow, you’ll want to have some super soft, super comfy and super stretchy crop tops and seamless bras on hand. They’ll double as sleep bras too because as much as you don’t want to think about it now, you will probably need to sleep with a bra and breast pads for the first few weeks – welcome to motherhood, am I right?!
I’m not down with the bra lingo…
At Preggi Central we stock a wide variety of maternity bras and sometimes too much choice can be harder than not enough choice!
Let’s break down some of the lingo...
- Full cup: Perfect for bigger busted mamas from DD- E cups and onwards. If you’ve ever felt like your girls are “too much” for regular bras, this will be your go-to. The straps are thicker, the band sits nice and low under the breast so you feel supported and the cups come up to cover the majority of your breast tissue. The depth of the bra doesn’t plunge too much in the centre and the sides tend to be wider and closer to the arm pit so that you won’t find yourself bulging from any direction. Don’t worry though, they won’t dig into your armpits either. It’s the right amount of height for the right amount of boob!
- Plunge: Exactly how it sounds! This is the perfect bra for those lower cut tops and while less of your breast is covered, it still provides all the support you need. Smaller busted women may feel more at home in this style but anyone feeling their sexy self will vibe with this one.
- Balconette: A variation on the Plunge. If you adore the look of the lacy plunge bras but your boobs feel a little too vulnerable with the cut, the Balconette gives a little more coverage by being cut more straight across the bust like a shelf to add comfort and support to the sexy cut…who’d have thought those two would go together?!
- Side sling: Huh? What now? Well, unlike regular bras, when you undo the clip and pull the cup down to feed your bub, you still want (nay, need) something to support you. A side sling is some fabric purposefully positioned inside the cup to offer you support, to keep you in the bra but to allow for maximum skin-to-skin contact with your baby while feeding.
- A-frame sling: Another way to hold the bra/clip together while feeding. Similar in style to those triangle bikini tops you wore back in the day but with a cut out in the centre to allow for easy feeding! (All under the top layer of bra that is). This style is perfect for those who may prefer a little more coverage while feeding their beautiful bub.
- Contour: Comfort central. The name speaks for itself and this style contours to your bust, holding shape even when your not wearing it (often with the use of pre-shaped or lightly foam/padded fabric linings). This style is especially popular for those of us who are a bit more lopsided (my hands up) to give a more uniform shape. Some even feature fabric choices that warm and conform to your shape while you wear them taking them to the next level of comfort.
- T-shirt bras: We all need a good T-shirt bra and that doesn’t change when you move to maternity bras! Featuring a moulded cup that creates a smooth profile in all tops. If you’re looking for something practical to wear all day everyday this is it.
- Seamless: Silky smooth to the touch (and your sensitive, screaming nipples!). Super stretchy to allow for growth up to a few cup sizes and great stretch in the band. These bras are the ideal home, sleep and post birth accessory.
How do I know what style would be best for me?
It can be really hard shopping online at the best of times, let alone when you’re pregnant and your shape and boobs are changing. If you can make it in store to try some different styles on, we’d love to see you. But if you can’t, have a look at all of your options below. After the reading you’ve done, you should have a pretty good idea of your needs based on your size and stage of pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Once you’ve worked out which styles you absolutely love, make sure you pick the right size by checking out some super handy hints here and if you’re still stuck on all things maternity bras, get in touch with us!