Breast Changes During Pregnancy

Heartburn, nausea, vomiting, cramping, light brown spotting, and exhaustion are all examples of pregnancy symptoms that you may experience at some point during the course of your pregnancy. With three children, the pregnancy symptoms I’ve felt over the years have ranged from typical to surprising. Like most women, I was especially surprised by the amount of changes that my breasts underwent during this time. Just what’s going on with your breasts during pregnancy?

My breasts are huge!

One of the most common complaints you’ll hear about breasts during pregnancy relates to their size. Your breasts will grow with fat during your pregnancy and as you put on weight. But there’s more than just fat in your breasts. Your milk glands will increase in size during pregnancy in order to prepare for your breastfeeding. Expect some fluctuation in your breast size from early pregnancy until several months after delivery.

My breasts are tender or painful.

Do your breasts feel swollen, tender, or even painful? It is primarily caused by an increase in estrogen and progesterone in your body as a result of pregnancy. It may also be the result of your enlarged milk glands as they prepare for your body to produce milk for breastfeeding. You may find that the tenderness, swelling, and pain extend into your underarms. This is due to milk ducts that are present throughout the area.

You may experience this tenderness on and off throughout your pregnancy, and it will typically wane once your milk supply begins to regulate several weeks or months after birth.

I notice a lump in my breasts.

Changes to your breasts during pregnancy may cause them to feel slightly different than your pre-pregnancy breasts. If you have been doing regular self-breast exams, you may be able to feel these changes. It’s not entirely uncommon to feel like your breasts are lumpier during pregnancy. It’s likely that breast lumps located during pregnancy are non-cancerous. However, it’s still important to notify your doctor of any significant changes to your breasts, including lumps, as soon as you they occur.

My breasts are leaking fluid.

You may notice that a clear or even pale yellow fluid has begun to leak from your breasts. This typically happens in the third trimester of your pregnancy when your body is gearing up to breastfeed. Colostrum may already be present in your breasts, ready to provide baby his or her first meals. Don’t be alarmed if you notice a small amount of this fluid leaking during pregnancy, though you can always mention this to your doctor if you are concerned.

Sources:

March of Dimes

What to Expect

Breast Cancer

Baby Center