It’s expected that pregnancy is a time when a woman’s body goes through many physical changes. Something that we don’t expect is the many different breast changes during pregnancy.
An expanding belly and weight gain are probably the most obvious changes people tend to associate with being pregnant, but there’s so much more than that!
Your uterus also expands to allow room for your developing baby.
In some women, fluctuating hormone levels can even produce a dark line (known as the linea nigra) in the middle of their abdomen, running from their belly button to the pubic bone.
7 Different Breast Changes During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is also an important time when several changes occur in your breasts.
Most of these changes are related to preparing your breasts for breastfeeding.
Here are seven different changes that can occur to your breasts during pregnancy.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy #1: Sore Breasts
For some women, one of the first signs of pregnancy is sore breasts.
Therefore, one of the first breast changes during pregnancy is sore breasts.
Rapidly increasing levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone are thought to be responsible for this.
Fortunately, most women find this soreness eases off to a more manageable level, or even goes away, after the first trimester.
In the meantime, the following tips can help you minimise the soreness:
- Wearing a well-fitting maternity bra
- Avoid underwire bras
- Wear a cotton sleep bra to bed
- Take extra care to avoid knocking your breasts or brushing past things
- Ask your partner to take a hands free approach to your breasts.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy #2: Bigger Breasts
This is probably the most welcomed of all breast changes during pregnancy!
Many women notice their breasts increase in size during pregnancy (often by at least a cup size).
For some women, this may occur slowly throughout the pregnancy, but for others it occurs intermittently.
If your breasts go through periods where they grow quickly, you may find they start to itch as the skin stretches.
If this happens, keeping the skin of your breasts well moisturised can help.
Some women develop stretch marks on their breasts, but these usually fade with time.
As your breasts grow and change during pregnancy, it’s important to ensure they’re well supported.
Being professionally measured helps you to find the right size bra for you to help optimally support your breasts.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy #3: More Veins
Most women notice the veins on their breasts become more visible during pregnancy.
This is caused by increased blood flow to your breasts during pregnancy.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy #4: Nipple and Areola Darken
As a part of your breasts preparing for breastfeeding, you may notice some changes to your nipples and areola too.
For example, it’s common for women to notice their nipples and areolas becoming darker during pregnancy.
Some women notice their nipples increasing in size during pregnancy too.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy #5: Leakage
Many pregnant women are unaware their breasts start making colostrum from as early as week 16!
For this reason, you may notice your breasts occasionally leaking this sticky yellow coloured substance.
If this happens, wearing breast pads can help to prevent it soaking through to your clothes.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy #6: Lumps and Bumps
Some women notice lumps in their breasts during pregnancy.
Common causes of such lumps include cysts, fibroadenomas (fibrous tissue), and galactoceles (cysts filled with milk).
These lumps are usually benign and nothing to worry about but it’s always worth being checked out by your doctor.
Breast Changes During Pregnancy #7: Montgomery’s Tubercules
You may notice the small bumps around your areaolas becomes more prominent during pregnancy too.
These little bumps are known as Montgomery glands and they secrete an oil to discourage bacteria and help keep your nipples and areolas lubricated and protected.
Important Tip: Breast Exams
It’s important to continue regular breast checks during pregnancy. If you feel or notice anything unusual, contact your doctor or seek medical advice immediately.
Breast Cancer Council in Australia
National Breast Cancer Foundation in America