Mothers Know Breast

by SRC Health on March 12, 2020

Approximate Reading Time: 6 minutes

“Mothers know best” about many things, yet do we look after our breasts to ensure they are in their best possible shape, before, during and after childbirth?

Based on numerous online articles, citing many worldwide research papers, discussions with our customers, friends and relatives and a recent discussion with a leading Australian maternity bras brand Cake Maternity (available in some of the finest boutiques & department stores around the world) the definitive answer is NO!

post-partum woman

As designers and manufacturers of graduated compression maternity leggings and maternity shorts, we have always focused on the lower body. We provide the support necessary for common conditions during pregnancy: treating Low Back Pain, Pelvic Girdle Pain, Mild Varicose Veins, Sciatica and Vulvar Varicosities.

We speed up recovery after pregnancy, by assisting with conditions such as: Abdominal Muscle Separation, Perineal Tears and Stitches, C-Section wounds and Low Back Pain.

So naturally with so much to cover on the lower body we don’t often get a chance to discuss the importance of looking after your breasts during the critical time of pregnancy and recovery post-partum.

As the old saying goes “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Measurement is absolutely critical for getting the right fit for your compression maternity leggings and shorts and this is equally applicable to maternity bras. Unlike getting measured for SRC Pregnancy or SRC Recovery compression garments which literally takes less than 10 seconds, getting the right measurement for your bra is a little more complicated. No need for concern, as Cake Maternity give you very easy to follow instructions and educate you through the process.

Here’s what we have learned and want to share:

  1. Your body is always changing, and this is especially so during the pregnancy period with many studies citing figures between 65%-80% of women wearing the wrong size bra. The bra marketplace can be overwhelming and confusing. But, unlike feet, breasts change size, shape and position throughout the menstrual cycle and throughout life. Despite this, there is limited guidance for women to assess their own bra fit, something Cake Maternity has been passionately addressing through extensive education in the market place.
  2. Lots of women don't know their actual size or how a bra should fit:
  • Many women only go for a bra fitting just once in their lives (if that), so it's unsurprising to find that the vast majority of us are wearing the wrong size.
  • Here are some fantastic resources from Cake’s Bra Fitting Guide that include a downloadable Nursing Bras Guide, as well as videos that explain the need for Maternity Bras and how to select the best nursing bras.
  • Many department stores and specialty stores have fitting professionals so don’t be shy to get a professional to determine your correct size, however please be aware that bra fitters have varied experience, and there is no agreed level of competency or bra fit qualification – another reason to take charge of your breasts’ wellbeing.
  • Some great and fun alternatives may be making a date of it with your ‘soul sister’ or your partner.

3. Bra sizes are inconsistent across brands and use different methods to calculate your bra size. Additionally, each bra style fits differently so women need to wear what fits them and not focus so much on numbers and letters. Experts recommend knowing your size across different brands and styles that fit you, including equivalent cup & band sizes.

Bra size is difficult to measure. The accuracy of bra measurement can be affected by breathing, posture at the time of the measurement.

Researchers suggest that bra-size measurement should take place over a well-fitted, unpadded and thin bra. But most women are likely to be fitted in a shop while wearing their own bra, regardless of whether or not it fits well, hence making the measurement less likely to be accurate.

4. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a great fitting maternity bra, but don’t try to save on an item of clothing that is probably is as important as your shoes! A badly fitting bra is not only going to be uncomfortable it may also have negative effects on your health.

Out of sight should not mean out of mind:

  • “…no one sees my maternity or pregnancy bras” is not the best way of thinking. Don’t get stuck wearing an old bra that you can't wait to rip off by the end of the day. Breasts literally give children life and nourishment. So, take care of them with bras that provide the required support.
  • Wearing the wrong size bra is not only uncomfortable, it can cause a range of health problems. Research has shown that a lack of breast support often leads to breast pain, which is reported by 50% of women. A badly fitting bra that doesn’t provide the right support can also lead to breast skin damage such as stretch marks.
  • Ill-fitting bras have been associated with neck, back and shoulder pain, bad posture, and rubbing and chafing.
  • Badly fitting bras can cause permanent changes to the body, such as deep grooves in the shoulders caused by pressure from the bra shoulder straps.
  • Ill-fitting bras have lead some to believe in the need for breast reduction surgery. With up to 80% of women wearing a poorly fitting bra, this is potentially a significant problem. In a study that assessed the bra fit of women wanting breast reduction surgery, all were wearing an ill-fitting bra.
  • The lack of support due to an ill-fitting bra has also been linked to a reluctance to exercise, which can lead to negative long-term health outcomes.
  • Keep in mind you are likely to get more wear and bang for your buck out of a plain t-shirt bra than a fancy frilly number that only makes appearances on those special occasions.

5. Make sure you replace your bras after they are stretched out of shape. As time goes on and your bra begins to lose its elasticity, you can adjust the hook eye closure to tighten your bra, giving it a longer life span." On average after approximately 6-8 months of regular wear the elastic in your bra is going to have more give, so chances are that your bra is no longer laying horizontally across you back, with the back wings of your bra moving up toward your shoulder blades and your breasts drooping forward.

6. Wear and Care - always read the wear and care and the following advice is so similar to Wear and Care for SRC Health compression garments.

If you can't find the time to hand-wash your bra, put your bras in a wash bag with the hooks closed to stop them snagging on and ruining your clothes. Use the gentle cycle on your machine and once out of the wash, lay them out flat to dry.

Don't use the dryer to dry your bras. The machine will overheat the elastic components of your bra, break them down, shrink other materials and wear out the support even faster.

Despite this fairly long list of health implications, millions of women continue to wear ill-fitting bras. We hope that we can help through collaborations with companies like Cake Maternity by educating mums everywhere. “Support For Life” is not just our slogan, it’s our reason for being and we love working with likeminded people and organizations. The similarities between Cake Maternity and SRC Health are uncanny:

  • Cake Maternity was also founded 10 years ago, in Australia
  • Cake Maternity and SRC Health both originated from a personal need, which became a mission to design functional and stylish garments, by women and for women,
  • just like SRC Maternity Leggings and Shorts, every Cake Maternity product is painstakingly constructed with the right assortment of fabric, materials and accessories to suit you. From luxurious fabrics and comfy cotton lining for improved breathability, internalised seams, graduated straps, 6 hook & eye closures for expansion and contraction of the rib cage, every bra is created to make you look and feel your very best.
  • Just like our founder, Sinead O’Donovan, Cake Maternity founder, Tracey Montford, retains the passion for her vision and is actively involved in the design and direction of the business.

Check out their great range of Maternity and Nursing Bras to find your perfect bra.

Periods of pregnancy and recovery after delivery can be some of the most challenging for women and their families. Please look after your physical, emotional and mental health during this time.

Perinatal anxiety and depression is common, has many faces and does not discriminate – it can affect anyone, and have devastating consequences for individuals and families if left untreated. SRC Health is committed to raising awareness about perinatal anxiety and depression and is proud to support PANDA in their mission to improve women's emotional and mental health through the challenges of pregnancy and new parenthood.

If you or someone you know is struggling with perinatal anxiety and depression, please seek assistance by visiting PANDA– Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia or calling the National Helpline 1300 726 306.

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