Did you know that your breasts can move up and down and side to side anything from 4cm during walking and 15cm during running? This may not come as too much of a shock to some of you (… I’m guessing I’m not the only one who clutches my boobs to my chest when running after my children in the park for fear of knocking myself out?) but breast motion isn’t just an issue for fuller breasted women. Our breasts have limited natural support, and any unsupported movement causes the breasts to move: up-down, in-out, and side-to-side. Exercise, especially high-impact exercise like running or jumping, places tension on the supporting structures of the breast, which can result in pain.
A survey by the University of Portsmouth’s Research Group in Breast Health (RGBH) found breasts were the fourth biggest barrier to exercise for women after lack of motivation, time and poor health.
The value and importance of a properly fitted sports bra cannot be overstated. During and after pregnancy is an especially tricky time because breasts can change frequently, in terms of size, sensitivity, soreness and engorgement. A common mistake many women make is to wear the same sports bra they wore before pregnancy, even if it doesn’t fit properly, provide enough support or feel comfortable.
So what should you look for in a sports bra if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
The three key areas to focus on are: proper fit, support and comfort.
Get a proper bra fitting and go for a cup sized sports bra that offers a lot of support, depending on the exercise. For comfort, look for features like wide and padded straps, adjustable straps, or sports bras that have at least 3 sets of hooks for adjustability if you’re larger one day than the next. Instead of the basic compression sports bra that you have to pull over your head, opt for an encapsulation bra that clasps and goes on just like a regular bra.
I stock a range of sports bras including the Royce Impact Free (available up to a K cup, 32-40 band) a 100% cotton bra that offers maximum support and comfort with a high neckline to ensure full coverage of the bust to reduce vertical bounce.
For those of you who are exercising with your little ones in tow I have the Cake Zest nursing sports bra and the Hotmilk Activate nursing sports bra (both available up to H cup). Both perfect for mums wanting to get into shape while on the go with baby.
Wearing any type of bra that does not fit well can lead to discomfort. Wearing a sports bra that is too constrictive during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding can lead to blocked milk ducts and, worse case scenario, mastitis. You should always try on a sports bra before you buy it. Jump around to make sure it is giving you the support you need for your chosen activity and remember – not every bra suits every person. It’s also important to replace your sports bra regularly to make sure it’s still giving you the best support it can. How often you need to replace your bra will depend on a number of factors, including how often you wear it and how often you wash it.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and in need of a comfortable and supportive sports bra please get in touch to arrange a home bra fitting. I’m also available to do group visits to talk all things boobs and bras. I even have a pop-up fitting room so if you fancy arranging a bit of a get together with your bump buddies/mum gang then I’d love to hear from you.