Breast changes during pregnancy

Breast Changes During Pregnancy

There are a number of breast changes during pregnancy that you should expect. These changes are normal as your breasts are preparing for the arrival of your baby.  These pregnancy related breast changes include the following:

  • Enlargement and growth
  • Tenderness and hypersensitivity
  • Darkening of the nipples and areolas due to the hormones that affect pigmentation of the skin
  • Darkened veins along your breasts due to increased blood supply to your breast
  • Your nipples will stick out more and the areolas and nipples will grow larger
  • Small glands on the surface of the areola called Montgomery tubercles become raised bumps
  • Your breasts might start leaking a yellow-ish thick substance known as colostrum

Your hormones are the causes of these changes and you may experience some effects more than others. Buying a good supportive bra can help you feel more comfortable as your breasts continue to grow.  If your breasts are too uncomfortable at night you may want to sleep in a sports bra.  Look for a bra with good support, deep bands beneath the cups, wide shoulder straps and adjustable closure.

Discharge of colostrum may occur at any time when your breasts and massages or when sexually stimulated. There is no cause for any concern and it is important to note that women who do not experience discharge in pregnancy will still be able to produce milk for their baby.

It is important to continue with self-breast examination during pregnancy. Unfortunately during pregnancy it is more difficult to notice any abnormalities because of all the changes your breasts are going through.  Your breasts are growing in size, are tender and sometimes can be lumpy.  It is still important to examine your breasts during pregnancy and if you are unsure, ask your doctor or midwife.  Very common lumps found amongst women during pregnancy are blocked milk ducts.  These are red, tender to touch, hard lumps in your breasts.  Running warm water over your breasts in the shower or applying a warm compress and massage will most likely clear the duct within a day or so.  If you are uncertain discuss it with your doctor or midwife.