Now that you’re pregnant, you’re probably noticing lots of changes in your body, and for some, especially in your breasts. Breast changes are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Here, we’ll review some commonly asked questions when it comes to breast changes throughout pregnancy so you know what to expect.
Why do my breasts feel so tender?
Early on in pregnancy, one of the symptoms you may notice first is breast tenderness. When you get pregnant, the hormones of pregnancy influence your breast tissue in preparation for milk production. This causes swelling and fluid retention in your breasts and nipples and can cause your breasts and nipples to feel tender, sore, or sensitive to touch. You might be particularly sensitive during early pregnancy, but it should dissipate within a few weeks.
Is it normal that my breasts are growing?
Yes. Breast growth can differ from person to person. Some people may notice their breast size increases rapidly in the first few weeks of pregnancy while others may find a more gradual growth. Once you notice your bras starting to feel tight, it may be worth investing in a maternity bra. It’s normal to go up about a cup size during pregnancy. You may also notice the skin on your breasts starts to feel itchy as the skin stretches during breast growth. Keeping that skin well moisturized can be helpful in decreasing the itching that comes with your skin stretching.
Why do my nipples look different?
As your body gets ready to have a baby, your nipples will start to change in color and size to prepare for breastfeeding. It’s normal for your areola to darken in color and grow in size. This will help your baby locate your nipple and latch on. You also may notice small bumps on your areola. These are called Montgomery’s glands. These glands secrete a natural oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding that help lubricate and protect your nipple while secreting a scent that encourages your baby to latch on to your breast.
What is this yellow fluid leaking from my breasts?
During pregnancy, your body makes its first milk, called colostrum. Colostrum is a yellowish-clear, thick milk that is packed with lots of nutrients for your baby. Colostrum typically appears starting at around 20 weeks of pregnancy and continues until a few days after giving birth. It’s normal to have some leaking of colostrum during your pregnancy starting in the second trimester. And your body will continue to make it so no need to worry about running out before baby has the chance to get some! Washable or disposable breast pads can help with leaking.
Staying as comfortable as you can during pregnancy is important and keeping your breasts healthy is a part of that. Try investing in some supplies, like maternity bras and nursing pads to help with some of the breast changes you have now plus after your baby is born. As for breast tenderness and sensitivity, remember these symptoms are only temporary as your breasts are growing during pregnancy. Wearing loose clothing, a supportive bra, and applying cool compresses to your breasts can help relieve temporary swelling and soreness.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- “Breast changes during pregnancy” American Pregnancy Association. American Pregnancy Association. n.d.
- “Breast milk production” Sutter Health. Sutter Health. n.d. https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/newborns/breast-milk-production.
- “Antenatal expression of colostrum” Pregnancy Birth & Baby. Pregnancy Birth & Baby. July 2021. https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/antenatal-expression-of-colostrum
- “Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first.” Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. December 3, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853.