Breast Changes During Pregnancy – 7 Different Changes

Breast Changes During Pregnancy - 7 Different Changes

Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Your ribcage will widen, your tummy will stretch, and your organs will shift around to make room for your growing uterus. Your breasts will go through a number of changes too, as they prepare to nourish your baby. So what breast changes can you expect during pregnancy? Here’s the main changes most women experience in early pregnancy and later.

Breast Changes #1: Sore Breasts

You probably already know this, but sadly many women experience sore breasts during pregnancy. Often referred to as ‘breast tenderness’, this condition would be better named ‘get your hands off my ouch ouch ooooow!’. While some women may not experience increased sensitivity during pregnancy, for others even accidental brushes can be agony.

Sore breasts is most commonly experienced during the first trimester. Rapidly increasing levels of both oestrogen and progesterone (yes, those guys are to blame, again!) are thought to cause breast tenderness. As you enter the second trimester, you should find that the discomfort eases to a more manageable level, or disappears altogether.

In the meantime, try the following tips to reduce discomfort:

  • Wear a well-fitting maternity bra
  • Avoid underwired bras
  • Wear a cotton sleep bra to bed
  • Be extra careful to avoid knocking your breasts or brushing past things
  • Ask your partner to take a hands free approach to your breasts
  • Do not brush long hair while naked, it is inevitable that you will accidentally brush your nipples (speaking from experience here)

Breast Changes #2: Bigger Breasts

Big breasts is often discussed as though it is pregnancy’s true glory. You know, apart from the baby. All of the information aimed at dads-to-be, focuses on this perk. Of course, none of this information explains that those enlarged breasts are likely to be very, very sore. Your breasts may start to grow as early as week six, and this growth will continue to the end of the pregnancy. Most women find that their bra size increases by at least a cup during their first pregnancy. As your ribcage expands to make room for the baby, you may find that you need a bigger band size too.

Some women find that their breasts grow slowly throughout the pregnancy, but for others it happens intermittently. If your breasts go through a period of rapid growth, you may find that your breasts feel itchy as the skin stretches. Keeping the skin moisturised can help to relieve this discomfort. You may develop stretch marks on your breasts, but these will usually fade over time.

As your breasts grow and change during pregnancy, it’s important to make sure they are properly supported. You will need to be fitted for new bras during pregnancy, possibly more than once. Being professionally measured will help you to find the right size bra and support for your breasts. You can save money by choosing nursing bras that can be used after the birth too. Many women find they need a new bra towards the end of their first trimester, and again towards the end of the pregnancy.

Breast Changes #3: You’re So Vein…

Many women notice visible veins on their breasts during pregnancy. This is caused by increased blood flow, by the end of the pregnancy you will have up to 50 percent more blood in your body to meet the needs of your baby. This will make your veins more prominent, and this can be especially noticeable on your breasts and abdomen.

The veins will become less noticeable after the birth, or when you stop breastfeeding. After this point, your breasts will not require an increased blood supply, and you should find the veins return to their pre-pregnancy state.

Breast Changes #4: Nipple Changes

As your breasts prepare for breastfeeding, your nipples will go through some changes too. Your nipples and areolas will probably become darker during pregnancy. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, as your body prepares for the birth, your nipples will increase in size.

During early pregnancy, smalls bumps known as Montgomery’s tubercles will begin to appear on your areola. These are sebaceous glands that will secrete an oil to discourage bacteria. These little bumps are often an early clue of a first pregnancy.

Breast Changes #5: Leakage

From as early as week 16, your breasts may be able to produce milk. From this stage, you may notice that your breasts occasionally leak a straw-coloured fluid known as colostrum. Colostrum is full of antibodies and helps your baby’s immune system immediately after the birth, this is produced until your milk comes in a few days after the birth. If you notice that you are leaking colostrum, wearing a breast pad may help to prevent it soaking through to your clothes.

If you notice blood leaking from your nipple, you should contact your health provider. Though it is usually nothing to worry about, it is worth being checked by a healthcare professional.

Breast Changes #6: Lumps and Bumps

Some women notice lumps in their breasts during pregnancy. Common causes include cysts, fibroadenomas (fibrous tissue), and galactoceles (cysts filled with milk). While these are usually benign and nothing to worry about, it is always worth being checked out by your doctor. If you notice changes to an existing lump, or feel a new lump, contact your doctor to arrange an appointment.

Breast Changes #7: Montgomery’s Tubercules

Some women notice the appearance of little bumps around their areola in early pregnancy, which look a bit like goosebumps. For some women it can be a sign of pregnancy, but the number of Montgomery’s Tubercules (named after an Irish obstetrician who described them in the 1800’s) on your areola can vary on each individual breast and even each pregnancy. You might find you only have a few or as many as 28. Do not try to pop them! Not only might you end up with an infection, but they are believed to beneficial, keeping the areola and nipple protected and lubricated.

Important Tip: Breast Exams

You should continue to check your breasts for lumps during pregnancy. Of course, this is tricky as your breasts are changing and growing, so it is more difficult to know your breasts at this time. It is recommended that you check your breasts each month, and you should continue this through pregnancy. Inform your doctor if you notice anything unusual.

Last Updated: February 21, 2015



  1. How about changes in color just outside your nipples? Like dark patches with white spots.. (i am white if it makes a difference, and the patches almost match the nipple color but are a bit more brown then the dark pink of the nipple) i am almost 29 weeks. Is this normal?

  2. My nipples are sore, there’s bumps on the aerola lower abdomen is hurting im bloated & I just got back 4 negative tests I took last week? Very tired and felt a little lightheaded earlier. Im confused lol

  3. My pregnancy is 19weeks nd am feeling sharp pain under my left breast nd sometimes sharp pain around the nipples and my nipplles are leaking can anyone help me please

  4. Hi, my last period was on the 24 May 2015 and i think i ovulated on the 06June 2015, we did the baby dance on the 5,6,7 and 8 June. Now im having these pregnancy signs. Sore bigger breasts, eat a lot, a lot of gas, slight pain on my lower left side, im expecting my period on de 20th June 2015 and i did a test today but it came back negative.. is it possible that i might be pregnant? pls help out

    1. My breast usually get sore right before I am about to get my period.. I don’t know what brought it on because it never used to happen, but now it does. I’m 23 and already had 2 boys. When you’re trying for a baby, it’s real easy to psyche yourself out and believe you’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms. For me and my first pregnancy, I was DEAD tired before I found out.. I’d sleep for 12 hrs a day and still wake up sleepy. And not to mention very nauseous. I couldn’t wake up and feel hungry for anything. And yes my breasts were very swollen. You don’t normally “eat a lot” until the 2nd-3rd trimester because you’re too busy throwing up. Gas, I never heard of that myself, might be from the over eating, lol And pain, I did cramp too, but that was in my lower uterus area. Tell us, are you pregnant? It’s June 29th now.

    2. Might still be too early. You normally don’t show up positive on test til like 6 weeks preggo
      Mommy of 5

  5. I believe this my first experience being pregnant im having all the signs cant sleep on my stomach i took two test that came back negative in second week now im on my 4 week havent check miss my period.. What you think

    1. Take another test. I took a pregnancy test a few days before my missed period because I thought I was pregnant, and it came back negative. I waited a few weeks and took another (3 others actually lol) and they all came back positive. Taking a pregnancy test too early will probably make the test come back negative (a false negative). So I’d take another (or 2) to make sure.

  6. Hello I’m writing because I’m very confused I’m now 8 day later on my period and I took a test the day I was due on but got a negative test and I used clear blue too. I’m never later on my period so this is very unlike me in many ways normally a day early.
    I’m getting the sore tender boobie’s belly look’s bigger too. I’m so confused at the moment unreal. Many thanks if anyone could give me advise..

  7. I’m feeling pains in my both breast,although hv missed my perious already nd I eat a lot. But d bone of contention is that this pains in my breast, is it part of symtoms of pregnancy as well? Bcs hav already taken paracetamol for like 2days bt stil d same thing.

  8. i feel pain in my nipples and breast always lightheaded and my lower abdomen feeling pain in the morning almost all of the pregnancy symptoms i had experience but when i took home pregnancy test its negative.. and this is the thing i did not had a period for 5 months.. this month will be 6 months no period what should be the reason?

    1. I had the same experience about a year ago went into the Dr to find out what was going in and it turned out to be PCOS. I would call your OBGYN and set up an apt just to ‘ve safe

  9. I’m 27weeks gone, I notice about two month ago that my nipples were discharging blood, I went for test(breast scan) as directed by Dr and the result was ok. Dr said d bloody discharge will stop after delivery. My concern now is hope it won’t affect breast feeding immediate after delivery? Because I’m planning for exclusive breast feeding

  10. i am 28 weeks pregannat. But my breasts became 38 from 34 and 3/4 of breast is covered with black areola also have black stretch marks on them. Is it normal

  11. I had my last period on 10/26… I had spotting that lasted for 2 days but no period in November…(I took 4 tests before all negative) it’s now 12/14 and I noticed last week that I have the linea nigra from my belly button to my pubic area and I’m on my menstrual now I had bach aches, bloating, gas, and food diversion. I had my first pregnancy almost 4 years aga and I am lactating. Could I still be pregnant

  12. Is it possible to have a period during pregnancy? My body has been going through the changes and my bra size jumped up two sizes.

  13. For me some of the early signs, even before the positive test, we’re extreme thirst, headaches, strange dreams. After 2 false negatives I Finally got a positive. It was around that time that the extreme exhaustion, nausea and then sore breasts kicked in. My breasts also started getting bigger after that. I’m nearly 7 months now and for a while my symptoms died down .. now I have heartburn and Bach aches and veins showing on my breasts plus they leaked a couple times.. oh and of course feeling the baby kick is a great feeling 🙂

  14. I was on birth control like the injection were they give you for preventing pregnancy..i was on that for i think i was doing that for about 6 years…now i stopped and its been four months now i’m not on periods and theres liquid coming out on my breast…both my nipples…what does it mean?

  15. Can someone please help me!! I’m 21, in the army currently deployed I think I got pregnant the day before I left home, I would now be 10 weeks pregnant. My nipples are always hard and have those Montgomery tubercles on them which I didn’t have before and I can see a map of veins throughout my whole chest! I don’t have access to pregnancy tests. I have noticed my stomach seems bloated all the time lately and I have frequent mild headaches and lots of mid back pain that is new to me. Could these symptoms be from stopping birth control and being in a new country or am I pregnant??

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