I don't have time to write a proper post, snowed with work and trying to see Pob, it's all got rather too busy and frustrating in the last week or so. So here's something I've had in draft for a while. Will try to write more soon.
There are a lot of myths about breasts, bras and pregnancy. I suffered through a month of a stupidly ugly and ill-fitting bra while I was pregnant due to these myths, so here's my chance to blow some of them away.
It is one of those facts that everyone just knows on the boards, rather like the one about how eating fresh pineapple helps implantation, that you must not wear underwire bras while pregnant. This myth leaves the big-busted among is in a quandry. At what point in the pregnancy are you supposed to ditch proper support for your even more enormous than usual breasts, and go for a non-underwired bra. I hit this decision at about 12 weeks, when my boobs had grown at least a cup size and my existing 36DD bras were uncomfortable. I originally ordered some bras online from an upmarket maternity lingerie online shop, but they didn't make sizes big enough for my breasts and I had to return their lovely lacy confections.
I then visited that old stand-by of lingerie shopping in the UK, John Lewis. It's not where you go to get the pretty stuff, but they do have a reputation for at least fitting you properly. I was fitted by a woman who was wearing full body covering, although not a face veil, and who looked to be no more than 18. She insisted I was a 38D and sold me a rather ugly, completely flimsy, beige bra for a bargain £10. I took it because I thought that was my lot as a pregnant woman. But after a week of itchy lace and boobs resting on my emerging bump due to lack of support, I decided to bite the bullet and go to the Queen's bra fitters, Rigby and Peller.
At this luxuriously appointed salon, they first made me wait for about an hour, then a seven month pregnant fitter eyeballed me, told me I was clearly a 38F, that the whole underwire thing was nonsense, and sold me a couple of underwired bras. They lasted til 7.5 months, at which point they became too uncomfortable due to the bump pushing up under the breasts. I then went back and got fitted for nursing bras. It was a bit early, but they just sold me one that was a cup size bigger than I was at the time, and one a size bigger than that. After the birth I wore the 2 bras I had for about 4 weeks, then figured out I had gone down a back size but was again a cup size larger. Given my inability to leave the house at the time due to extreme breast feeding psychosis, I ordered a few online from Figleaves, who have a good selection of actually quite pretty nursing bras that made me feel a bit human again.
I subsequently heard from Betty, who has a good friend who is a boob doctor, about the underwire thing. His opinion was that the most important thing during pregnancy is to get proper support, which means continuing to wear underwire if you are big boobed until you simply can't any more as the bump pushes up towards your boobs. After your milk comes in you need non-underwired nursing bras, and at that point you should pretty much never not wear a bra again. I'm currently sleeping in the nursing bras that are too big but at least are non-underwired, and it feels quite uncomfortable to be bra-less, something I used to enjoy at night.
So far in the last year I have been about six different bra sizes - from a 36DD before I got pregnant through a 36E through a 38G while I was pregnant, to a 38H when I was breastfeeding, and now down to a 34E. It makes my underwear drawer a confusing place.