It was shocking. Looking at those pictures of me in the purple dress from last week and thinking “something’s not quite right“… then realizing what it was: my breasts are suddenly around my waist! Yikes!!
As a former dancer / swimmer / marathon runner, I am accustomed to a lifetime of being the proud owner of a smaller chest. I have spent the greater part of my post-pubescent life being supported by tank tops with built-in shelf bras, light to moderate support sports-designs and the occasional sexy-time offering, complete with underwire and a whole lot of padding.
Now, I may not be able to forecast the weather with my mammaries; however, they’ve definitely been a strong indicator of what’s going on throughout the last four months. One of the earliest indicators of our pregnancy was my husband saying “Yep – your boobs are bigger” – and that was before we even took a pregnancy test!
Yes, they’re bigger, and they’re sensitive, and they are uncomfortable, and they are new. I spent almost the entire first trimester in a pre-pregnancy lululemon flow-y bra, which was comfortable, wire free, and stretchy. But then I saw those pictures, and realized that there was pretty much zero distinction between the area of my breasts, and my stomach. I just looked egg-shaped. I’ve watched Stacy and Clinton for enough years to know that zero waist definition inevitably means that it’s time for a new bra.
So, at one lunch hour last week, I trudged over to a local department store. I collected an armful of bras- My last bra fitting (about 6 months ago) I’d measured a 32D, so I collected an assortment of 32DD. 34 and 36C in all shape, colour and wire/wireless options and made my way into the fitting room. Knowing that i’m not a bra expert (and checking out the price tag for these tiny bits of lace and cotton), I gingerly poked my head out of the fitting room, seeking a second opinion. I explained that I was pregnant, was appropriately clucked and cooed at, and then sternly told that I was in the wrong size. “great“, I enthusiastically replied, “that’s why I’m here – help me!” and assumed the appropriate position for a measuring tape to be whipped out.
I was a little surprised when the salesperson simply asked “what size are you wearing now?”, but I assumed she was such an expert that she could make a good recommendation on sight alone.
Then she came back – with 34Cs, 36Ds, 38Bs… “38? Really?“, I questioned with a mixture of caution and suspicion, she explained a complicated mathematical formula, where 38B = 34D, and that I should keep my options open. I began to question the expertise of the bra-expert, and left the store empty handed.
I decided to search for some online advice. Apparently, during early pregnancy, one of the first changes to take place is when the rib cage itself expands by about two inches (!) to accommodate all the shifting around going on inside. The breasts themselves then grow on average of 1-2 cup sizes throughout the nine months in preparation for baby – incredible!
Looking here for advice about taking some measurements, I see that one is taken under the bust, one at the fullest point. This leads to more confusion on my part. My “fullest part” can vary quite dramatically; with bra? without bra? is it better to measure at the end of the day (like when I buy shoes). How can I possibly have come this far in life, having absolutely no clue how to measure myself? I decided to try them all (in the name of scientific research, of course. My husband was in full support (no pun intended) of this venture).
The band measurement was easy: 32ish. Add 2 inches, band size is 34. Easy. Measuring the “fullest part” – with one bra showed closer to a 38, with no bra showed 37ish, with my Victoria Secret showed a 39 (yowza). Meaning, I could be a C, D or DD. “Comfortable bra” is the online-advice, which I gather means “not the super-cleavage / push up number”. So 38 inches, it is. I am actually a 34D – hurray!
According to seraphine.co, most women will transition into a nursing bra by about 26 weeks; however, dramatic changes in body shape and size can take place long before that. As soon as pre-pregnancy bras become uncomfortable, don’t seem to be doing the trick (ie: your waist disappears!) it’s time for a re-fit. One of the great things about a maternity/nursing bra is that it offers several hook and eye closures (as opposed to the standard 3), and is made from extremely stretchy material, allowing for generous growth over the next 23 weeks. It also has a sneaky-hidden nursing flap, allowing this bra to live on well beyond pregnancy –
for $47, it’s priced comparably to a standard bra (I actually had soft-cup, specialty bras in the fitting room that were up to $75!).
Yes, i’m wearing it today, yes, it feels amazing, and yes, I can see the difference between my bust and my tummy. Overall, it’s a good day.
So – to recap:
1. take a measurement under bust. Add 2 inches (for even numbers – 3 inches for odd) that’s your band size
2. wearing a comfortable bra, measure the fullest part. If it’s 1 inch larger than your band size, you’re an A-cup, 2 inches = B, etc. etc. etc.
And speaking of making sure your bosoms look their best, stand up straight girls! Read some great tips for posture (which will also help with strength and comfort throughout pregnancy and beyond) here. Also, when dressing, any sort of definition under the bust – knots, wraps, gathers, or even just adding a wide belt will do wonders.
In other 17 week news…
its been a splurgeworthy week. Ken and I attended the Family Life Weekend to Remember in Victoria, BC – which was awesome: Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday morning, completely focusing on each other, our marriage and impending parenthood. It was incredible. We stayed at the Fairmont Empress, were able to spend some time just wandering around Victoria (sharing some luscious desserts) – and there was a bookstore at the conference! We both have a love of books, so we stocked up. This week I also made a switch from regular foundation to the Bare Minerals (via recommendation of some of my fellow followers of thebump.com… I picked up a kate spade case for my macbook (well – I needed something to transport it to Victoria in, didn’t I??) and had a huge splurge at www.seraphine.co (impossible not to after the feedback regarding the dress last week, and the way this bra feels.) I can’t wait to receive it!! I’m determined to look as human (and cute!) as I can over the next four and a half months, and for our nursing time beyond that… I will definitely be sharing all the outfits, fun, and everything else that happens for this pregnancy (and beyond!) right here.
17 week stats:
boy or girl: Hope to find out at the detailed ultrasound on March 9!
weight: sitting at 158 (+10lbs overall). I should mention here: I’m five foot 11.5.
nausea update: still throwing-up as of 2 days ago. *sigh*.
overall health update: things are staeady… still minor spotting, no more mega-blood.
fatigue update: more good days than bad. I’m still pretty zonked by the end of the day.
cravings/aversions: I think i’m going through my first legitimate craving stage: Granny Smith Apples – I could literally eat them all day. I still can’t be anywhere near coffee, hummus, indian food… Also still having a tough time with regular ol’ water.
Coming up next week: addressing the issue of my roots. Not the british ones – the dark ones… Hair care during pregnancy – what’s a girl to do??