Your body starts preparing for your baby’s arrival right after you conceive – such is the majesty and capability of our bodies. Breast changes during pregnancy play a pivotal role in this transformation. They help your body get ready to become a source of nourishment for the baby.
Knowing what to expect from pregnancy to weaning can help you prepare for the big transformation you’re about to experience.
Here’s what you should know:
Breast Change during Pregnancy: What to Expect?
A variation in breast size and sensitivity are amongst the first signs of pregnancy. They continue to transform significantly after conception to the weaning stage.
Here’s a breakdown of what happens in each trimester:
First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)
You may feel your breasts becoming swollen, tender, and sore by weeks three and four. The hormonal changes might increase sensitivity and make them tingle even at the slightest graze. Furthermore, your nipples might point outwards more than they usually do. Some mamas-to-be notice an increase in breast size at the end of this trimester.
Second Trimester (Weeks 13-27)
The second trimester is when you’ll likely physical changes more prominently. Veins appear on the breast, and the skin around your nipples (areola) changes color, becoming darker with small bumps. These bumps (Montgomery’s tubercles) will be your savior after you little one arrives as they secrete natural oil to reduce soreness during breastfeeding.
On a positive note, the tenderness that makes you uncomfortable might subside a little.
Your breasts might also start releasing a yellowish fluid called colostrum (or pre-milk). It prepares your breast for milk production and functions as an immune-boosting component in breastmilk. That means it shields your baby from disease like a natural antibacterial supplement.
Third Trimester (Weeks 28-40)
As the time arrives where you grow anxious and excited to meet the tiny soul you’ve been carrying, your breasts grow. While some mamas only begin experiencing breast leaks, others experience them more often. Maternity bras and breast or nursing pads may help prevent the colostrum from leaking through to your shirt.
Breast Changes After Birth: What Happens Next?
The milk-producing hormones are stimulated when you give birth (for a full-term pregnancy), and there’s an increase in blood circulation in targeted areas (i.e., your breast). Consequently, it causes your breasts to become fuller and firmer than they were before. These changes become noticeable within the first week of your baby’s arrival.
Moreover, you might experience mild pain and soreness due to the engorgement. These symptoms subside within a few days.
If they persist, you should consult a breastfeeding expert for treatment.
Once you start breastfeeding, your breasts might feel full and heavy before every feed. You may observe a change after three months as your baby begins to grow and demand more milk. By this time, your breasts will start becoming smaller, and they might not feel as full.
There’s no cause for concern if your breasts feel full and change size during this time. Milk production remains the same and becomes efficient despite the decreasing size of your breasts.
Breast changes that occur due to lactation will reverse after you stop breastfeeding. During this stage, your breasts start redistributing tissues to return to the original size (i.e., preconception). Complete transformation occurs within three months of weaning (or when your baby is 15 months old). Some women might experience these changes after six months of breastfeeding regardless of how long they continue to breastfeed their baby.
Breast changes during pregnancy and afterward are a natural part of motherhood. You might experience some discomfort during these developments. That’s why wearing maternity bras and using high technology breast pumps are so important. These accessories support your body during and after the development phase and ensure you are as comfortable as possible when you start breastfeeding your baby.
Spectra Baby helps new mamas embrace the change with all the right resources.