* Prices may differ from that shown
One of the first symptoms of early pregnancy is often having sore breasts and this is something I have found very uncomfortable so far. This is my fifth pregnancy, but my first four were all between 1990 and 1996, so it is fifteen years since I was last pregnant and as I am discovering, a lot of things have changed since then.
I went to Mothercare a couple of weeks ago to buy some maternity trousers and while I was there, my fiancé and I had a look round the shop to find which products are available. It was there that I discovered a phenomenon called sleep bras. It is not recommended for pregnant women to sleep in wired bras (plus it's incredibly uncomfortable!), so these are specially made seamless ones which still give you support overnight, therefore reducing aches and pains.
Mothercare have several varieties of sleep bra available, but the cheapest are £20 for a packet of two. I had just spent nearly £50 on four pairs of maternity trousers, so didn't feel it was fair to ask my fiancé to spend another £20 straight away.
Toys R Us was next door and my fiancé noted it had a Babies R Us section (not something I had visited before), so we went there to browse the cots, buggies, baby rockers and so on, just to get an idea of what was available and how much they cost. While we were there, I found their maternity bras, which were cheaper, though admittedly not as pretty as the Mothercare ones.
I ended up buying a Carriwell Seamless Maternity Bra for £12.99 which is obviously more expensive than two for £20, but it was less of an outlay initially. These were available in white and black and in a variety of sizes. I bought a white one in size M. They come in sizes S, M, L and XL but thankfully there is a clear chart on the back explaining how your bra size converts to their sizes. Therefore, a 32A would be an S while a 44C would be a XL. I'm 38C so bought an M and it fits fine.
The packaging explains the seamless bra is comfortable and "allows for growth and supports your sensitive breasts during pregnancy." It is made from 91% polyamide and 9% elastan, so it is stretchy and it can be machine washed at 40 degrees.
When I took it out of the packet that evening, I wasn't very impressed. It is small and looks cheaply made, plus it isn't a very attractive design, so I was beginning to think I had made a bad decision buying it. But undeterred, I put it on. Despite it being small, it is very stretchy and easy to put on. It fits very well and is much more supportive than I was expecting. It has no seams, wires or hooks and is just smooth, so it is very comfortable and you soon forget you are wearing it - and I absolutely hate bras and find them very annoying usually.
The design is a bit like a sports bra so the back is about the same size as the front, which apparently helps support your back too. It is soft and easy to sleep in it and it really helped straight away from that first night. During previous nights, I had been waking up and the soreness and aching had been bothering me a lot. The bra really helped, it supported my breasts and enabled me to sleep better.
The bra lifts your breasts and squashes them together slightly, so they don't move around too much while you are asleep. My fiancé assures me the bra looks quite nice when it is on and isn't as unsexy as I feared it might be!
You can wear this bra all day if you wish, but I just wear it in bed, as it is quite see-through and I prefer to wear my normal bras during the day at the moment. As my pregnancy progresses though, I plan to get more seamless bras to wear during the daytime too.
Overall, I am really impressed with the Carriwell Seamless Maternity Bra. It has made a big difference to me, making me much more comfortable and able to sleep better at night. It is definitely worth the £12.99 I paid for it, though you may be able to find it cheaper. (I've found it for £11.95 online, but in some cases, you will need to add postage to that.) For any women in early pregnancy, this is a great item to buy and will really help you with breast discomfort at night.