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Breast Changes in Pregnancy

Alison Wood |29, October 2012


"I knew something was going on when I bumped into something and experienced pain in my breast," relays a first-time mom. "Later the nausea came, and I ran out to the store to grab a pregnancy test. The results were positive! It was kind of weird that my first symptom was breast tenderness."

Women of all ages are quite aware of the classic, undesirable changes that come along with pregnancy. Visions of leaning over the toilet countless times a day combined with dreading the protruding, over-sized bump that screams, "I'm pregnant!" plague newly pregnant mothers. However, some of those very same fearful mothers may take comfort in this fact: like it or not, carrying that little bambino in your womb automatically signs you up for free breast enlargement -- no surgery or creams needed.

"I have always been on the small side, so I am looking forward to becoming larger in that area," says a newly pregnant woman.

The breasts of pregnant women change rapidly. Breast enlargement and tenderness is not the only effect on your breasts. Here are some other changes that occur during those 9-months.

  • darkened veins around your breasts
  • protruding nipples
  • enlarged nipples and areola
  • bumps appear on the areola
  • breasts begin leaking colostrum
  • stretch marks cover areas of the breast

During all these changes, your body is preparing for the new little one to make his entrance. Hormones are the main cause for these positive and negative differences you may be experiencing. Below are some answers to some questions you may be itching to ask.

How do I deal with the enlargement of my breasts?

First and foremost, find a bra that fits perfectly and is, above all else, comfortable. Look for wide shoulder straps, a deep band beneath the cups and an adjustable closure as you may grow even more. You also need to look for a bra that has good support and does not have an underwire.

What is that colostrum stuff you mentioned?

Colostrum is a thick, sticky and yellow liquid. It is the pre-milk that your baby receives in the beginning of lactation. It is perfectly formulated to fit your individual baby's needs. It's low-fat, high-carb and high-protein. It is also easily digestible and contains large amounts of living cells and antibodies that help protect your baby from unwanted germs and illnesses. It is the magic wonder drink for infants. So, remember when your breasts begin to leak that sticky substance and you get grossed out, that this is the best milk you can give your newborn! Just be glad your body is doing exactly what it needs to do, preparing for that little bundle of joy. A few days after birth, the colostrum will disappear and your milk will come in. Then more breast changes happen!

What happens to my breasts after the baby's born?

As mentioned earlier, the "real" milk comes in a few days after birth. Each pregnancy and mother differs on the timing. For first time mommies, it usually takes about 3-4 days. For other moms it comes in a lot quicker. Don't worry, you will know when it comes in. Breasts will lose their softness and become more round. Frequently, they become engorged as your body adjusts to your infant's nursing needs. It takes about 10-14 days for breasts to become soft again. The swollen, firm breasts can become quite uncomfortable as your body learns to regulate the amount of milk needed for your little one. If the breasts become engorged between feedings, use a breast pump to gain relief. If you have made the decision not to breastfeed, do not express any milk from your breasts. This will only make the "drying up" period longer.

Pregnancy is over and I am done breast-feeding. What changes should I expect in my breasts now?

As the pomp and circumstance of pregnancy and breastfeeding have come to an end, your breasts begin to become somewhat normal again. You may end up reverting to your pre-pregnancy bra, or you may keep the one-cup-size-bigger one you sported at the beginning of pregnancy. Once again, make sure you have a well-fitted, comfy bra. Now you can wear one with the cuter, skinnier straps and the underwire that you like. If your breasts tend to sag some, and you are not opting for going under the knife, consider doing some chest exercises. The chest exercises will tone up the pectoralis muscles and create a perkier look. Modified push-ups are a great way to start!

Pregnancy and birth not only affect your life, but also your body. As all the breast changes come and go, consider that all these changes contributed to welcoming a new life into this world.

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