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6 changes that take place in your breasts during pregnancy

During pregnancy even your breasts undergo a lot of changes, here are a few of them.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : January 3, 2016 4:35 PM IST

During pregnancy, there are a lot of changes that happen within your body. In fact, every part of your body is affected in one way or the other. Your breasts also undergo a lot of changes in the process; some are painful, and some are minor changes that cause no harm. However, know that breast changes that happen during pregnancy have a purpose of their own. It is a sign that your body is preparing well in advance to meet with the breastfeeding demands of your baby after birth. Here are a few noticeable changes that your breasts may go through.


Not all women might experience this symptom, but it is common during pregnancy. Tender and sore breasts are the result of increased sensitivity in the area due to hormonal changes. These symptoms are more prominent during the first trimester of pregnancy than any other time during those nine months. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the tenderness in the breasts. At times, it can be so severe that your breasts start to pain if brushed accidentally or when touched by your partner. Incidentally these symptoms cease when one enters the second trimester. Here are some simple tips to survive pregnancy symptoms.

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Increase in size

It is common for your breasts to increase in size during pregnancy with milk production in progress, and gearing up for lactation. However, remember that big, enlarged breasts are also going to be very sore and tender. Along with an increase in growth there are chances of developing stretch marks and itchiness in the area too. If you notice that your breasts are growing rapidly, make sure you use proper support bras to keep them firm and in place to avoid jerks and pain. Here are few tips to avoid breast engorgement during breastfeeding.

Appearance of veins

During pregnancy, your blood supply increases by 50 per cent to meet the growing demands of your body and that of your baby. This makes the veins more prominent and visible especially in the breast area and sometimes in the abdomen too. These veins become less noticeable post birth though.

Changes in nipples

While your breasts go through all these changes, your nipples also have to face the same fate. The areola and the nipples change in colour and become darker than usual. In fact, during the last few weeks of pregnancy the nipples and areola also grow in the size along with the breasts, as they prepare for the breastfeeding phase. Besides this, small bumps might also appear on the areolas that are harmless in nature. These are sebaceous glands that secrete oils to keep the breasts safe from bacterial infections. Did you know that darkening of areolas and nipples also serve to be an early sign of pregnancy?

Leaky breasts

Your breasts prepare for lactation as early as 16th week of your pregnancy. At times, this can also lead to leaky breasts that could in turn lead to a discharge of a milky yellowish substance called colostrum, the first feed for the baby. This is normal and happens to many women during pregnancy. However, in case of blood leaking from the breasts get it checked with your doctor. Remember leaking breasts do not mean that your baby s milk supply would be compromised post birth.

Formation of lumps

Developing lumps in the breasts during pregnancy is also common. Some known causes that could lead to the development of these cysts are fibroadenoma, i.e., cysts formed from fibrous tissues and galactoses, cysts developed due to a blocked milk duct. These cysts are usually, benign. However, it is better to get it checked with the doctor once to rule out possibility of other medical complications.

Tips to take care of your breasts during pregnancy

Here is what you can do to keep your breasts well-protected during pregnancy:

  • Opt for well-fitting maternity bras that provide you with good support and would be gentle on sore breasts.
  • Try and avoid synthetic fabrics, satin and other designer undergarments that could cause friction in the skin. Avoid under-wired bras. Cotton maternity wear would be your best bet.
  • While going to bed, wear a cotton sleep bra for support.
  • Be careful and avoid knocking or brushing past things, especially if you have sore breasts. While lovemaking ask your partner to keep hands off your breasts if it hurts due to increased sensitivity.
  • Do a gentle massage to keep your breasts moisturised.

When should you worry

Picking up a problem or medical condition related to your breasts during pregnancy is tricky, as your breasts go through various changes. However, one cannot rule out the possibility of breast cancer or other tumor development during this time. If you find lumps in your breasts, get it checked by your doctor and go for further medical examinations if required. In fact, ask your doctor or health care professional for a breast examination during your antenatal visits.

Photo source: Getty images

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