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MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Obtaining Proper Support

(Information Obtained In Part From Maternity&


Women today are beginning to more fully understand their bodies. They are learning that their breasts are not simply a cosmetic feature or a sexual play toy for their partners. Breasts have a definite function in a delicate and complex system.

Throughout the breast is a network of lymph glands and milk ducts. Unless these glands and ducts drain properly, discomfort and even infection can occur. When the breast is elevated, circulation improves, the lymphatic system functions properly, and the ducts drain.

mastitis cross section

Sagging is caused by the pull of gravity over time and is influenced by hereditary factors, breast size, and lack of muscle tone. Breasts, unlike other parts of the body, have no muscles. With very little of their own construction to hold them up, they have to depend on a good bra for support. And contrary to outdated information, going braless does not prepare the nipples for breastfeeding... it could possibly cause early nipple soreness as well as stretch the breast tissue promoting sagging.

breast anatomy

During pregnancy, when the body begins growing and preparing for the birth of a baby, special attention should be given to a well-fitted bra... one that not only supports the changing breast size but promotes healthy functioning of the lymphatic and milk producing systems in the breast. Just as the tummy is expanding, so are the breasts and the rib cage. While some women change in size drastically and require several different bra sizes throughout their pregnancies, others change very little until the baby arrives and mature milk is produced.


Ideal times for purchasing a maternity/nursing bra are in the fourth and eighth months of pregnancy... or whenever the current bra is no longer comfortable. Bras are generally sized with two measurements: (1) rib cage (stated in numerals, ie. 36) and (2) cup size (stated in letter sizes, ie. C, D, DD or E, etc.). Each measurement is independent of the other.

In the fourth month: The bra should be hooked on the tightest hook in back and fit firmly but comfortably around the rib cage - no riding up in back which usually indicates the bra is too large around and which, in turn, provides insufficient support for the breasts. Fitting the bra on the tightest hook allows for further rib cage growth throughout the pregnancy. The cup should provide enough depth to eliminate as much cleavage as possible. This would be the cup size. A cup that fits too snugly will not allow for growth throughout the pregnancy; however, a cup that fits too loosely does not provide adequate support.

In the eighth month: The bra should be hooked on the loosest hook in back and fit firmly but comfortably around the rib cage - again, no riding up in back. Fitting the bra on the last or loosest hook allows the bra be taken up as the rib cage shrinks after delivery. The cup should allow some room for milk ducts to expand when the "milk comes in." Most maternity/nursing bras adjust in the cup by ladder hook adjustments above the cups or by lengthening a stretch strap. (Lengthening the strap too much will compromise the support offered by the bra.)


Properly fitted underwires generally cause no problems during pregnancy and while breastfeeding; however, softcups are usually more comfortable during the last months of pregnancy and during the first weeks of breastfeeding when the breasts are at their fullest. It is ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT that the wire fits well behind the breast tissue under the arm so that the wire puts no pressure on the breast tissue. It is also ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT that the bra, whether softcup or underwire, be put on so that the band or underwire under the breasts lies on the rib cage with no pressure on the breast tissue. Any point of pressure on the breast tissue by an underwire or a seam which fits too tight sometimes leads to a plugged duct often resulting in mastitis or breast infection.


While wearing the bra that currently "fits best," take your measurements as indicated and match up those measurements on the sizing chart. If unsure, make note of the brand and size bra that currently "fits best," browse through the different styles offered by Special Addition, and e-mail the size information to them. They will make suggestions on sizes and styles best suited to your needs. While all of the bras they carry offer support, not all styles are suitable for all sizes.

If you are shopping the internet and have questions about the Special Addition clothing line or the fitting and sizing of their bras or support garments, please call their toll free number 1-888-806-BRAS (888-806-2727). Their staff is trained to assist you with your personal shopping needs. You may also email them at or fax 512-326-8541. So, please "stop by" and let them know how help to make your new addition a very special addition.

Special Addition Maternity & Nursing Boutique
3800 North Lamar, Suite 550
Austin, Texas 78756
1-888-806-BRAS (2727) / 512-326-9308

Unfortunately, there is no size standardization in the bra manufacturing industry, and every manufacturer suggests a similar but slightly different method for measuring and determining size. Ideally, Special Additions would like for you to come to Special Addition Boutique and allow them to custom fit you for a perfectly fitted bra. Since this is not possible for most of their mail order customers, one standard sizing chart is provided.

fitting a bra

While wearing the bra that currently fits you best:

Step 1. Rib Cage (Band)- Placing the measuring tape directly under the breasts and straight around the back, take a firm measurement. Add 3" to this measurement. If the measurement is an odd number, round up to next nearest inch. Example: measurement of 34" + 3" = 37" resulting in a rib cage size of 38.

RIB CAGE MEASUREMENT is _______inches + ______inches = _______inches

fitting a bra - measuring the ribcage for band size

Step 2. Chest Wall Measurement - Take off your bra for this measurement to insure that no breast tissue is pushed upward causing an inaccurate measurement. Place the measuring tape around the chest wall (above your breasts, under your arms, and around your body). Be sure the tape is level all the way around the body. Take a firm, but not tight, measurement. If the measurement is an odd number, round up to the next nearest inch. Example: measurement of 37 inches would round up to 38 inches.

CHEST MEASUREMENT is _____________inches

Step 3. Band Size Determination - To determine bra band size, compare the above numbers obtained in the rib cage measurement and the chest wall measurement. These two numbers should be about the same, however, occasionally they are not. Need help... then try these guidelines. If you are measuring during pregnancy for a maternity bra, the rib cage measurement should be the guiding factor. If you are nursing, the chest wall measurement should be the guiding factor. If they are not close, re-measure and/or email

BAND SIZE DETERMINED is ____________inches

fitting a bra cup size

Step 4. Cup Size - Wear the bra that fits best for this measurement. Place the cloth measuring tape across the fullest part of the breast and straight around the body. Be sure the tape is level all the way around your body. Take a loose measurement.

BREAST MEASUREMENT is ____________inches

fitting a bra - finding bra size

Step 5. Determining Bra Size - Subtract the band size measurement (step #3) from the cup size measurement (step #4) and compare the difference to the chart below. Example: Breast measurement of 42 inches minus band size measurement of 38 inches results in a 4 inch difference. Notice on the below chart that a difference of 4 inches indicates a cup size of D. So you should begin your bra search by looking for bras available in 38D size.

Difference Between Rib Cage
& Cup Size Measurements
Resulting Cup Size
0 to 1-1/2 inches
A Cup
1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches
B Cup
2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches
C Cup
3-1/2 to 4-1/2 inches
D Cup
5 to 6 inches
E (DD) Cup
6 to 7 inches
F (DDD) Cup
7 to 8 inches
G Cup
8 to 9 inches
H Cup
9 to 10 inches
I Cup
10 to 11 inches
J Cup

bra fitting chart


For a healthy, comfortable fit, a bra should elevate the entire breast and fit comfortably around without riding up. To achieve this, you may put your arms through the straps, hold each side of the bra, lean over to allow the breasts to "fall" into the cups, stand up straight, then hook the bra in the back. Reposition the breast tissue in the cup so that the band or underwire is on the rib cage and not serving as a support for the actual breast. Readjust the back hooks, if necessary, to a tighter fit. Adjust straps to fit comfortably.


The bottom of the bra, front and back, should be straight or slightly lower in back. Straps should not cut into the shoulders. Center seam should lie against the breastbone without gaps between the cups. No flesh should overflow at the bra top, and underseam area should lie smooth without cutting the flesh. The cups should fit smoothly. Wrinkles in the cups may mean the bra is not properly fitted.


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