From the very early stages, you’re likely going to experience some pregnancy breast changes. Your body is getting ready for the birth of your baby, and getting ready for the breastfeeding process that may follow. Understanding pregnancy breast changes will help you know what you can expect over the remaining months until your baby is born.
Here are some of the pregnancy breast changes that you’re likely to experience:
- Growth. Your breasts are going to grow in size at least a little bit. The amount will vary from one woman to the next, and depends on a number of factors including your size before pregnancy.
- Tenderness. Breasts will become tender during pregnancy, and may become hypersensitive as well.
- Darkening. Your nipples and your areolas are likely to become darker. There are certain hormones that are elevated during pregnancy that will affect the pigmentation in your breast skin.
- Visible veins. The supply of blood to your breasts increases during pregnancy, making veins darker and more visible.
- Colostrum. A sticky, thick yellow substance known as “colostrum” may leak from your breasts even before your baby is born.
- Nipple changes. Your nipples are likely to stick out more than previously, and they will probably be larger. The areolas will probably be larger as well, and small bumps on the areolas (actually glands known as “Montgomery’s tubercles”) may appear.
All of these changes come from changing hormone levels, and each woman may experience varying degrees of these changes.
There are a variety of things you can do to minimize the discomfort that can come from pregnancy breast changes. A supportive bra will help you to handle the size increase, for example. If your nipples get sore, there are a variety of herbal compresses you can use. These are certainly useful during breastfeeding for cracked and sore nipples, but many women who are still pregnant can benefit from their use, as well.
If you’re concerned about particular pregnancy breast changes, talk to your doctor to make sure that what you’re experiencing is normal and expected.