Hey there, mum-to-be! Get ready to embrace some exciting changes on your pregnancy journey, including those happening in the chest department.
Congratulations! You’re expecting. But were you expecting this? Pregnancy sometimes feels like a complete metamorphosis, and it’s no wonder: your body is growing and changing to accommodate the imminent arrival of a brand-new human being! But sometimes these changes can be a little confusing (breast leaks and bladder leaks, hello!), so we thought we’d explain the ins and outs of breast changes during pregnancy.
We’ll start by exploring the breast changes that occur at the beginning of your pregnancy. From there, we’ll discuss the changes that occur as your pregnancy progresses. In the early stages, your breasts may become tender and in time they’ll probably grow bigger too.
You may not even know for sure that you’re pregnant, but something is certain: your breasts seem to have changed overnight! In fact, breast changes may often be the first sign that you are indeed expecting, and whilst a pregnancy test will confirm that you are, breast changes are a pretty reliable pregnancy indication.
As early as week one into your pregnancy, breasts can start to feel different, with many people noticing a tingling sensation or even sore and tender breasts (especially nipples), this is because of rising hormone levels increasing blood flow to this area and preparing the breasts for lactation. You may even find you need to move up a cup size around this time too!
It seems your tummy is growing bigger by the minute, but that’s not all that’s growing! In addition to your growing bump, your breasts are also increasing in size, thanks to those marvellous pregnancy hormones. If your breasts grow rather quickly in size, then you may develop stretch marks, which is totally normal.
Stretch marks may be normal and natural, but they’re not always very welcome! Also known as “striae”, stretch marks may at first appear to be red or purple in colour, but as time progresses, they may change to a lighter shade of pink or even white.
In order to reduce the chances of your breasts getting stretch marks during pregnancy, it’s important to apply stretch mark lotion, or a reputable brand of Vitamin E oil to your breasts both morning and night. Massaging your breasts may also help to promote blood flow to the area, which can assist in reducing or even stopping stretch marks from appearing. It’s important to remember that whilst stretchmarks can look quite angry and red at first, they will fade over time and be barely noticeable.
You may also experience the following:
These are some of the early pregnancy breast changes. Later on in your pregnancy, you may also find that your breasts begin to leak from time to time, this fluid is called ‘colostrum,’ which is the fluid that comes in just before breast milk is produced, it can be yellow in colour and sticky too, but is completely normal and nothing to worry about. It’s simply part of the magical process that your breasts undergo so that they are able to produce and keep milk for your baby once they are born.
If you experience leaks, you may find our maternity breast pads and maternity wipes ideal for keeping you and your clothes fresh and dry. They’re super soft, comfortable, and incredibly absorbent, and will prevent milk stains on your bras and clothing, helping you feel a little bit more protected.
There’s no doubt about it that for many of us the areolae (that circle you notice around the nipple area) do get bigger, darker and suddenly more pronounced during pregnancy. This usually happens around the second trimester. You can blame the pregnancy hormones oestrogen and progesterone for a change in the pigment of the skin in this area. However, the areolae will revert back to their original colour a few months after birth.
You may also find that your areolae grow bigger in size, and they may soon be covered in small bumps, which are known as Montgomery glands or Montgomery tubercles. These sebaceous glands are there to produce fluid that keeps the skin on and around your nipples lubricated, so not to worry, they are completely normal and should not be picked at or squeezed.
As your breasts continue to grow, you will want to feel comfortable and supported. You may want to change the size of your bra, possibly even purchasing several bras in multiple sizes (go for a bra fitting if necessary). Choose bras made from a soft, breathable material like cotton. A supportive bra is a life changer! Nursing bras are also an option that can make this process slightly easier due to their functionality, the most important part is that you are comfortable.
Massaging your breasts can loosen any blocked milk ducts and ease any pain or discomfort that you may be experiencing. Never be tempted to squeeze or pick at the nipple area as this will make it sore and this could lead to infection.
There are stretch mark creams designed to prevent and fade stretch marks on your breasts. Apply the cream in the morning and in the evening, should this be something that you are experiencing.
Some mums may worry that their breasts will “sag” after pregnancy, but how your breasts look and feel after you’ve given birth may vary from person to person. During pregnancy, the ligaments in your breasts, which are called Cooper’s ligaments, will have stretched, and this may lead to your breasts seeming more droopy than they were before pregnancy. Not to worry though, there are things that you can do to help prevent post-pregnancy sagging. These include exercising regularly (and wearing a bra that properly fits when you do!), moisturising your breasts and not losing your pregnancy weight too fast.
Some mums find that their breasts return to their pre-pregnancy size quite quickly, while other mums may have breasts that have permanently changed in both their size and shape. Whether or not your breasts revert back to their original shape and size can be a result of many different things.
Remember even if your breasts never look the same as before your baby arrived, be body confident, everyone's different and breasts are well known for being unique.
The glands in your breasts that produce milk will have grown larger to help your body prepare to feed your little one. Now when you’re done with breastfeeding, or if you prefer to bottle feed, they will over time revert back to their original size, which may result in your breasts becoming a lot softer, and even smaller, than they were prior to pregnancy.