Women's  Healthcare Topics is a website about pregnancy and your newborn baby.

Breast Changes in Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Tender to Touch

One of the first pregnancy symptoms changes in you breasts.

One of the first pregnancy symptoms that many women notice are changes in their breasts. In the first trimester, your breasts and nipples may feel sore and tender.

With each week that passes in your pregnancy week by week, you will find that your breasts continue to grow and become more voluminous.

By the start of your second trimester, you may find that your breasts have increased a whole bra cup size. Your significant other or husband may love this change in you. Touching will probably remain off-limits, since your breasts will still be feeling rather tender to touch.

Some women describe breast tenderness in pregnancy similar to how your breasts feel right before you have your menstrual period. Only pregnancy makes your breasts more swollen, tingly, and sensitive to any touch.

All this breast growth is due to the fat layer of your breasts thickening and the number of milk glands increasing to prepare for breastfeeding.

By the time you deliver your baby, it’s no uncommon for your breasts to have increased in weight by three pounds (or roughly two inches larger) than they were originally. You may marvel and love this breast change, especially if you were not blessed with a large chest to begin with.

On the other hand, if you have naturally larger breasts, pregnancy can sometimes make them droop. You may never regain the pre-pregnancy breast firmness you once have. However, many new mothers are willing to make this sacrifice as a side effect of getting to have a beautiful baby.

To cope with breast discomfort in pregnancy, invest in a good maternity bra. These are special bras designed for pregnant women and their breasts. Pregnancy maternity bras have larger cups and extra clasps in the back, which accommodate you as your breasts grow. It’s also a good idea for you to get a nighttime maternity bra, which will help support your breasts while you sleep.

Having a baby doesn’t just affect your breast size. During pregnancy, your nipples and the areola (the darker skin around your nipple) can also change. They can become larger and get darker in color. As your pregnancy continues, you might also notice that the little bumps on the areolas are more noticeable. These little bumps are called “Montgomery’s tubercles,” and they often become very prominent when you’re expecting.

In addition to Montgomery’s tubercles, you may start to notice that you have blue veins underneath the skin of your breasts. This is caused by the elevated blood flow circulating in your body. It’s a normal breast change, and it shouldn’t cause you to worry.

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