Over the years and roughly in chronological order I have been a 34B, 32C, 34C, 34D and a glorious 32DD which was measured just before my wedding day. I’m of course talking about the joys of a fluctuating bra size!
By the time I returned from honeymoon I was back to 34D and had stayed that way until pregnancy. One of the many exciting body changes I had been anticipating about pregnancy was how large a bra I’d need – could it be possible I’d expand to the dizzy heights of an E chest?! An article on Babyzone quotes a breastfeeding consultant as saying “it is not unusual to increase breast size by four to six inches and one to three cup sizes.” So potentially, I could end up being 40F. A glamour model chest without any surgery – wow!
In the first trimester, I was feeling like I’d grown, so off to Debenhams for a fitting. It was a bit of an anticlimax to discover I had only gone up to 34DD. Observing the look of disappointment on my face, the fitting person offered me the option of wearing 36D bras instead on a tighter setting, as I was likely to go up to that size at some point anyway. Hooray! I purchased a few and went on my way. I’ve always liked the underwired version of the bra below – not particularly glamorous, but it is so soft and invisible under clothes. Finding out they had a non-wired “maternity” version that is endorsed by Miriam Stoppard (£20), I bought one in black, white and neutral:
By around 26 weeks I was feeling like the 36D bras were too tight around my chest, even on the loosest hook. Off I went to Marks & Spencer this time for another rather anticlimactic revelation that I was now… 36DD. Which didn’t make much sense. Moreover, the fitting consultant advised me to wait until the onset of the third trimester before buying any more bras and get fitted again then, as many women expand dramatically towards the end of the second trimester / beginning of the third. I was a little too early for that. So I bought just one 36DD bra – the same non-wired black one as above – and decided to make do with the 36D ones and sleep bras in the meantime.
Almost immediately after that bra fitting, something odd happened: my chest appeared to decrease rather than increase in size and my bras became a whole lot more comfortable. In retrospect, I think this was because the baby changed position to lie across me in a transverse or oblique position, which relieved most of the pressure on my rib cage. While my 36DD bra was still my favourite, the 36D ones suddenly became more comfortable than before. I therefore disobeyed the advice from M&S and continued merrily on…
…until a few days ago. Although I still felt pretty comfortable, no doubt due to the baby going straight from a crossways position to proper head down and engaged, I had been becoming more aware of the need for nursing bras. Back to M&S for a fitting, so I could stock up on a few. It was the same lady but fortunately she didn’t seem to recognise me – it had been nine weeks after all! – so I wasn’t told off for not getting fitted earlier than 35 weeks!
Now for anticlimax number THREE! She measured me and said that technically I now have a 38″ chest (woohoo!) … but for nursing bras, you need to go a size down than you currently are as apparently immediately after birth your ribcage contracts. So there would be no point buying nursing bras to wear now – you are supposed to get your projected measurement, then save them until baby is here. So she advised me to purchase nursing bras in 36DD! And again recommended that there would be no point buying any 38″ bras, as I only have a few weeks to go and am currently wearing soft enough bras that they are comfortable.
Debenhams also sell a nursing version of my favourite bra for £1 more, here in neutral:
I also got a pretty polka dot one from Mothercare for when straps need to show (as much as I love the Debenhams bras, the straps are very wide) and have a couple of nursing support vests that should complete the wardrobe.
So although I’m a little bit disappointed not to have a 40F chest, I do realise it’s probably for the best (that big an expansion might have created serious stretch marks…) Now all prepared with post-birth bras at the ready, I just have the fun stuff to look forward to such as engorgement, mastitis and blocked milk ducts!