After getting pregnant, you begin to notice breast changes which are hard to miss. Under the influence of hormones during early pregnancy, breasts become slightly larger in size and more sensitive.
Sometimes you can mistake such breast changes during pregnancy for PMS because they start even before a missed period. But in fact, the fertilized egg begins its journey at the time. It’s very important for a future mom to understand how the breasts are changing during pregnancy and what she should be wary of.
Breast changes during pregnancy
Breast growth is one of the earliest pregnancy signs. Expectant mothers notice that their breasts are getting bigger since the first gestation weeks. It can be easily explained by the growth of the glandular tissue of breasts and milk ducts which is stimulated by the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
In spite of the active breast growth during the childbearing period, the changes can fade after giving birth – your breasts may return to their previous shape. Don’t worry if your breasts are not changing during early pregnancy terms – some future mothers experience breast swelling only in the sixth month.
Pain and tenderness
Against the background of hormonal changes during pregnancy, future mothers admit pain and tenderness of their breasts. The nipples become more sensitive, and the mammary glands – more taut and firm. Such a transformation indicates that the female body is actively preparing for lactation.
Because of breast sensitivity, a lot of women suspect they are pregnant even before a missed period. That’s why to the question “Is it normal to feel breast pain in early pregnancy?” we’ll answer in the affirmative. Breast pain during pregnancy is stronger than during PMS because your body produces more hormones.
Areolas are pigmented circles around your nipples. During pregnancy, they become darker and bigger, and small bumps can appear on their surface. The areolas can get up to an inch larger in size.
After childbirth, the areolas will return to their normal state. Their color and size will become the same as before pregnancy.
A lot of women think that their breasts will start producing the colostrum only a few days before childbirth or even after the delivery of a baby. They are mistaken. Of course, everything is individual. But the colostrum can appear even during early pregnancy terms, around the 12th week. And this process is completely natural.
You shouldn’t be worried about the leaky breasts, just pay more attention to breast care and hygiene. In order not to get your clothes dirty, use breast pads.
During pregnancy your breasts increase in size, so the blood flow in them also increases. That’s why you are able to see veins under the skin of your breasts. The veins usually take the form of a little spider web.
It’s quite a normal occurrence happening to almost every woman who is expecting a baby. By the end of breastfeeding period, the veins will have disappeared.
The causes of breast changes during pregnancy
Breast changes during pregnancy happen under the influence of hormones. After the conception, the female body produces large amounts of estrogen and progesterone, hCG. Then the development of the placenta begins, which causes the secretion of the hormone prolactin.
All these hormones have an influence on the pregnant woman’s breasts which begin to actively prepare for lactation. Pregnant breast increases in size due to the growth of glandular and conjunctive tissues, its blood supply improves. These changes lead to the raised sensitivity of your breasts.
How long will the breast changes last?
But that doesn’t mean your breasts have stopped preparing for breastfeeding. The growth and development of mammary glands are going on during the whole course of pregnancy, but the adjustments of the female body become less noticeable after the first trimester.
What if you feel no breast changes during pregnancy?
When a woman’s got pregnant, hormonal changes start affecting her body. But if you don’t feel breast pain and tenderness in early pregnancy that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s pathology of some sort.
It can be explained by the lower sensitivity of mammary glands to hormones – it is an individual characteristic and doesn’t indicate any health problem. Some women notice breast changes during pregnancy only in the middle of the second trimester. Besides, some women just don’t pay attention to the unusual sensations in the breast area and don’t know anything about the earliest pregnancy symptoms. They miss the first pregnancy signs because of their own lack of interest.
What symptoms should you be wary of?
Sometimes women are concerned because their breasts are not growing and remain soft to touch. The absence of changes is not always a reason to panic, but doctors recommend that the future mother listens to her feelings and possible unpleasant symptoms.
The real reasons to be worried are:
- Pain in the lower abdomen;
- Vaginal bleeding of any intensity;
- Raised body temperature;
- Asymmetry in the breast growth, big bulges under the skin;
- General weakness.
You should immediately consult a medical expert with any of these symptoms. You should also pay attention to the state when the pain in your breasts has stopped and the mammary glands have suddenly returned to their previous shape.
If your breasts have become heated, it’s recommended to talk to a gynecologist. There is most probably an inflammatory process in the mammary glands which may also lead to fibrotic changes in the breast tissues and leaky nipples.
Breast care in early pregnancy
The growth, changes in shape, and discharge from the breast are a temporary phenomenon. After you stop breastfeeding, your breasts usually return to their previous size, but sometimes there are stretch marks and sagging skin. In order to keep your breasts firm and beautiful, you should take care of it since the first weeks of pregnancy.
While taking a shower, pour hot and cold water on your breast in turns. Contrast showers will help to keep it in shape.
Don’t use soap on your nipples and areolas. Soap destroys the natural protective layer on your skin, overdrying it. It can cause cracks and irritation on your areolas.
To prevent stretch marks, use essential oils or lotions. Choose your bra very carefully – it should be as comfortable as possible.
Breast changes during pregnancy manifest themselves differently in any future mom. Some women feel some tenderness and sensitivity in the area, others experience outward changes. Both cases are completely normal. There is no single standard which healthy breast during pregnancy should match. Everything is individual. If your breast changes are not accompanied by the signs of pathology, you don’t have to worry.