Breast Changes During Pregnancy

Doctor breastfeeding a baby
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jerry Bunkers

If you’re newly pregnant for the first time, you’re probably filled with both excitement and trepidation about what’s to come. You know your body is going to change in amazing ways – ways that no one other that a pregnant woman will ever understand. Knowing what those changes are going to be will help you be prepared for what comes next.

One of the areas your body is going to change is your breasts. Breast changes during pregnancy can be very pronounced for some women. Here are some things you can expect:

  • Your breasts are probably going to get bigger. Your body is doing a couple of things in this area. It’s expecting to feed your baby, so it’s adding fat layers and it’s increasing blood flow to your breasts. It’s also causing milk-producing cells to multiply. Most women go up a cup size or two during pregnancy. Your breasts will come back down to normal about a month after your baby is born, or after you stop breastfeeding.
  • Your breasts are going to be tender. Your body is working hard right now in producing the hormones progesterone and estrogen. These hormones are also high just before  your period; you may have noticed breast tenderness at that time, as well.  This is most common during early pregnancy, but can happen later on as well.
  • Your nipples will be sore. Nipples tend to get hard and sore during pregnancy. Using cool compresses can help. IN some cases, you may experience a situation where cold weather can make your nipples extra sore. A warm compress can help in that situation.
  • Your breasts may be itchy. This has to do with your breast skin stretching. The skin around your baby bump is likely to itch, as well.
  • Your breasts may appear veiny. You have an increased supply of blood, so you may find that veins are more noticible.
  • Nipples and areola will darken. This is fairly common.
  • Your nipples may leak. This usually happens late in pregnancy, as your body is preparing for the arrival (and subsequent feeding) of your new baby.
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