Breast Changes During Pregnancy
From the beginning of your pregnancy, there are breasts changes you
should expect. These breast changes are normal because they are evolving
and preparing for the arrival of your baby.
What breast changes during pregnancy can I expect?
There are a number of breasts changes during pregnancy that you should
expect. These pregnancy related breast changes include the following:
Growth and enlargement
Tenderness and hypersensitivity
Darkening of nipples and areolas (the skin around your nipples), due to
hormones that affect pigmentation of the skin
Darkened veins along your breasts (due to increased blood supply to
Your breasts may start leaking a yellowish, thick substance known as
Nipples stick out more; the areolas and nipples will grow larger
Small glands on the surface of the areolas called Montgomery’s
tubercles become raised bumps
Your hormones are the cause of these changes and you may experience some effects more than others.
How can I handle pregnancy and breast changes?
Here are some helpful suggestions you can do to make some of these changes more comfortable and easier to manage.
Growth and enlargement: For some women this may be something to look
forward to, as you are excited about your breasts getting bigger. For women
with large breasts there may be less enthusiasm. Buying a good supportive
bra can help. If your breast size increases greatly, you may want to sleep in
a cotton supportive sports bra at night.
What to look for in a bra:
Deep band beneath the cups
Wide shoulder straps
Adjustable closure (back-fastening bras give you more
flexibility to adjust than front-fastening bras)
Avoid underwire bras
Sensitive and tender breasts:Hormones in your body are preparing your
breasts for lactation.The milk ducts are growing and being stretched as they
fill with milk early in pregnancy. All this causes your breasts to be more
sensitive, particularly your nipples.This can be a bonus for your sex life or
can cause you discomfort.
Colostrum:This is known as pre-milk, which is a sweet and watery fluid that
is easy to digest.During your second trimester your breasts will begin to
produce colostrum. Colostrum appears thick and yellow at first, and as birth
draws near, it becomes pale and almost colorless. Colostrum will provide
your baby with his first few meals before your milk comes in. Discharge may
occur at any time, when your breasts are massaged, or when sexually
stimulated. There is no need to be alarmed when this happens, and there is
no need to worry if it does not happen. Women who do not experience
discharge in pregnancy still produce and provide milk for their baby.
What about breast cancer?
Continuing with self-breast exams during pregnancy is important.
Unfortunately, during pregnancy it is more difficult to accomplish because of
all the changes your breasts are going through. Your breasts are growing in
size, are tender, and sometimes may even be lumpy due to all the
preparations for your baby. It is still important for you to examine your
breasts during pregnancy every 4-5 weeks.
Very common lumps found among women during pregnancy are clogged
milk ducts. These are red, tender-to-the-touch, hard lumps in your breasts.
Warm compresses (running warm water over your breasts in the shower or
applying a warm wash cloth) and massage will probably clear the duct in a
few days. If you are unsure of any new lump, tell your doctor on your next
visit. Keep in mind breast cancer is rare among women younger than 35.
If you are planning on having a baby and are over the age of 35, you may
want to consider asking your doctor about a mammogram before you get