Breast Changes During Pregnancy
Breast changes can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible. These two hormones increase rapidly after conception, preparing your body for breastfeeding.
While your body is busily preparing, there are other ways you can get ready for breastfeeding. Learn more in our free ebook: “5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.” Download it for free here.
Common breast changes during pregnancy:
- Tender swollen breasts
You may have tender swollen breasts before you have even had a positive pregnancy test. A stretchy sports bra may be more comfortable than your regular bra.
- Prominent veins
You may notice the appearance of bluish veins on your breasts. This is normal. A pregnant woman’s blood supply is 1 ½ times her normal volume.
- Nipples and areola (the colored area around your nipple) darken
Both the nipple and areola will become a darker brown during pregnancy. The shaded area is thought to help baby know where to latch.
- Increase in size
Most women’s breasts will increase at least one cup size during pregnancy. Tissue is developing in preparation for breastfeeding. You may also need a larger band size as your chest expands to makes room for baby.
- Nipples grow in size and become more erect
These changes will make it easier for your newborn to latch.
- Bumps on areola
You will develop bumps on your areola, around the nipple. These bumps, called Montgomery’s Tubercles, are thought to excrete a substance that lubricates the areola and nipple.
- Itchy breasts
As the skin of your growing breasts stretches, it can be itchy. Applying a moisturizer may be helpful.
- Stretch marks
As your breasts increase in size, stretch marks may appear. There is no proven way to prevent them but they will fade in time.
- Leaking thick, yellow fluid
Your breasts begin to produce colostrum during pregnancy. Colostrum is the antibody rich first milk your baby will receive. Some women will notice a yellowish crusting on their nipples; others will leak colostrum and may need to use breast pads. Still others will not leak at all. All three variations are normal.
Breast changes in pregnancy may catch you by surprise. These changes, however, are helping to prepare your body to nourish your new baby.
Continue learning with these posts: How to Prepare to Breastfeed When you Have Inverted Nipples and Preparing for a New Baby on a Budget.
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.