Updated on 31 October 2022
A woman goes through several changes once she conceives. The changes are not just emotional and mental but physical as well. It's because your body is preparing itself for the journey ahead. Breast changes during pregnancy are among the most noticeable physical changes your body will undergo. Your breasts will start changing almost from the beginning of pregnancy as it is a way of your body preparing for the baby’s arrival. Although the most common indication of pregnancy is a missed period, breast changes and breast pain are the earliest signs you can notice within two weeks of conception.
What are the reasons for breast changes during early pregnancy? You can quite easily differentiate that your breasts are now more tender and the nipples more sensitive and uncomfortable. These are all just signs that your body is now gearing up to be a mother in every way.
One of the most significant impacts of pregnancy is on the hormone levels in your body. In your body, two hormones, estrogen and progesterone play a key role in preparing the breasts for lactation and lead to most breast changes during pregnancy.
Pregnancy hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin are produced by your body after fertilization, stimulating your breasts and causing the milk glands to expand in anticipation of their leading role in feeding your newborn. The wow-cleavage you're undoubtedly experiencing these days directly results from this. The soreness you're experiencing is actually a sign that your breasts are preparing for nursing, and it will fluctuate throughout your pregnancy. In the first trimester of pregnancy, most women suffer breast tenderness and soreness due to tissue enlargement.
Firstly, there is a rise in the blood volume all through your body caused by two pregnancy hormones: progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin(hCG). As a result of this, your breasts start to swell or become heavy.
Next, the pigment cells or the melanocytes in your body experience change due to these hormones. Melanocytes are the cells that are responsible for the coloration of your nipples. So, for your baby to see your nipples more distinctively, your body begins to push down the pale cells of your nipples, and the darker cells start to rise to the surface. This makes your nipples easy for your baby to notice when the time comes to breastfeed your baby. This is probably one of the reasons why a few women experience sensitive nipples when they think about breast changes during pregnancy timeline.
At the start of pregnancy, you may feel changes like breast swelling, tender or sore breasts, and a feeling of heaviness in your breasts.
During the first trimester, the veins on your breasts will appear bigger and more prominent. The size of your breasts will continue to increase, but the feeling of tenderness and soreness will slowly go away after the first few weeks as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes. Your nipples may become bigger and more sensitive, and the areola color may darken.
Your breasts will feel heavy and full as the milk ducts from inside them. During the middle of the second trimester, you may start producing colostrum-like pre-milk or the most initial form of breast milk. Some women think of it as leakage or something serious, but it’s normal and nothing to worry about.
As your body nears the end of pregnancy and approaches delivery, your breasts will become heavier and fuller. In addition, your nipples will become significantly bigger than their normal size, and the areola might darken even more. All these are signs that the body is preparing itself for childbirth. You may also feel itching since the breasts will stretch a fair bit.
In the first trimester, you will experience some pain in your breasts and other breast changes during pregnancy. You will continue to see the size and shape of your breasts change until your breasts produce colostrum- your baby's first meal! Along with taking medications and opting for other remedies to get rid of breast pain during pregnancy, you must also let your partner know about the discomfort and pain you're facing due to breast changes during pregnancy.
Here are a few ways to deal with all the stages of breast changes during pregnancy:
If you are considering exercising during pregnancy, make sure that you choose only sports bras as they are incredibly comfortable and made specifically for exercising during pregnancy.
Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can treat breast pain during pregnancy. However, even if these are over-the-counter medications, it's a good idea to consult your physician before using any of them.
These changes differ in each woman, and you may or may not experience all of them or experience them at a higher or lower level. However, you can make these changes easier by doing some simple things like using a comfortable and supportive bra, sleeping in loose and comfortable clothes, and using a gentle moisturizer around the breast area.
Yu, J. H., Kim, M. J., Cho, H., Liu, H. J., Han, S. J., & Ahn, T. G. (2013). Breast diseases during pregnancy and lactation. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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