One of the earliest physical changes you may notice during pregnancy is an increase in breast size. Breast growth is one of the first signs of pregnancy and can occur as early as the first month. Along with this growth, you may also find that your breasts are extremely tender to the touch.
This discomfort is usually more intense than the way your breasts feel before you get your period. Your breasts will continue to grow during pregnancy, but the greatest rate of growth usually occurs during the first 5 months.
During pregnancy, the nipples and the areola (the dark area around the nipple) usually become larger and may start to darken in color. Some women leak a small amount of fluid from their nipples beginning around 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. This fluid, called colostrum, is a thick, yellowish fluid that is the earliest form of milk. Leaking colostrum is normal for all pregnant women but is more common in women who have already had a baby.
If they are flat or actually dimpled inward even when squeezed or stimulated, then you may need to speak with your doctor or midwife to learn how to prepare your nipples for nursing. There are simple things that you can do that will enable your baby to latch onto your nipples with greater ease. Flat and inverted nipples need not prevent you from nursing your baby.
The large amount of estrogen and progesterone produced during pregnancy causes breast changes. These hormones stimulate the growth of milk glands and prepare the breasts for milk production after childbirth. Blood supply to the breasts also increases, which may cause the appearance of large, bluish blood vessels. Although breasts grow very large during pregnancy, they do not gain any fat.
As your body goes through changes during pregnancy, it’s important to plan ahead for a few things – one of which is your bra size. You may need to go up at least two sizes, so don’t hesitate to buy new bras that make you feel comfortable. Good support will help reduce stretching and sagging later on. Some women even wear their bras 24 hours a day during pregnancy.
Some pregnant women feel more self-conscious about their larger breasts, while others may feel more confident. Whichever way you feel, know that all pregnant women feel the same way at some point, so do not feel embarrassed about it. Your partner will surely still find you just as beautiful as ever.
Finally, remember that all the changes you’re feeling in your breasts have a wonderful purpose – to provide breast milk for your baby. Breast milk is the most complete food that your baby can have.