No other stage in a woman’s reproductive life is fraught with a lot of changes than when her body is preparing to nourish her child. Despite this universal experience, however, a lot of women are still confused as to what really to expect with their breasts when expecting for the simple reason that no two pregnancies, and the attendant changes to a woman’s body, are ever alike.
There is general consensus, however, that the following changes happen to a majority of women from the day they conceive to that moment when they deliver their newborn. If you do not experience all of these supposed changes, talk to your medical provider for proper intervention and for your peace of mind.
One major telltale sign of pregnancy is soreness of the breasts. This happens because hormonal changes increase blood flow to the breast tissue, which result to a swollen, tingly and sore feeling not unlike the one women experience just before their menstrual flow. At this stage, breasts are even more sensitive to touch, and this usually lasts throughout the pregnancy’s first trimester.
Increase in Size
Naturally as your body prepares to produce food for another human being, you can expect the milk factory to grow bigger in size. At around six to eight weeks, expect that you may go up a cup size (or two, and this is a good time to ditch your regular bras for a more accommodating pair). It’s not only the mammaries to go up in size: the nipple and the areola, those pigmented circles around the nipples, also grow, with the areola becoming darker towards the end of the pregnancy. As your breasts will continue to grow in amazing ways during the second and last trimester, it is wise to put off shopping for nursing bras until late in your pregnancy. The ones that fit you earlier on may no longer accommodate your breast size just before delivery.
Veins and Itchiness
As the skin stretches, you may begin to see veins on the surface of the skin although this does not become very obvious until later in your pregnancy. Along with this stretchiness comes itchiness so it helps to find a bra that is non-synthetic and breathes well.
Those pesky stretch marks not only leave unsightly legacies in the belly but also in the underside of the breasts. You may be tempted to get underwire to support your growing breasts, but there are two major reasons to avoid them at this time: the underwire may hinder the growth of the glandular tissue, and it could aggravate the appearance of stretch marks. Go for natural support instead by choosing nursing bras that have wide bands and straps.
Not all women get these, but a few do get 'colostrum' or that special milk that babies ingest when they first start suckling. This thick, yellowish substance comes out of the breasts as early as the third month of pregnancy or as late as the last trimester. In the minority still are women who may see blood in their bras as their mammaries leak colostrum. This results from the breasts being glued to the bra and from the skin peeling off (this heals by itself) when the bra is removed. If you are at all suspicious with your leaks, it’s best to consult with a midwife or your doctor to rule out underlying conditions.
The most unusual change in a woman’s breasts during pregnancy is lack of it. A very small percentage of women reports that their breasts do not go through perceptible changes until they are about to deliver. It is when the baby is due to arrive that they see a major jump in their mammary profile. While most women end up able to nurse their young without consequence, lack of changes, however, could signal insufficient glandular tissue, and this interferes with your ability to breastfeed your child later on. Talk to your doctor about it so he or she may recommend proper intervention before the condition becomes an issue.