Breast Changes In Pregnancy

Move Over Dolly

Finally, you have the chest you always wanted. Firm, full and...oh, so sore. It's not exactly what you dreamed of and even though the fulness is flattering, the sensitivity is uncomfortable. Breast tenderness is one of the first signs of pregnancy, beginning around four to six weeks and lasting throughout the first trimester.

Why Am I So Sore?

All of the new and exciting hormonal changes that are going on in your body as a result of pregnancy cause an increase in the blood flow and changes to the breast tissue. Your breasts are beginning the process of preparing to feed your young. The result is a feeling of swelling, soreness, tingling and an unusual sensitivity to touch. It is almost like the sensation you may have in your breasts just prior to your period, times 10.

More Changes In Store

This is just the beginning of the changes you will experience. At around two months your breasts will begin to grow and will continue to do so throughout your pregnancy. It is not uncommon for a woman to go up as many as two or three cup sizes during her pregnancy-especially if it is her first. As the skin stretches, your breasts may feel itchy and you may develop stretch marks. You will also begin to notice the veins under the skin of your breasts and your nipples will get larger and darker.

Your areolas, the skin around the nipples, will change color, becoming darker and larger and little bumps will seem to appear on them. Actually, these little bumps have been there all along, but until you became pregnant, they were not noticeable. They are called Montgomery's tubercles and are a type of oil-producing gland. All of these changes are part of the preparation for nursing your baby.

First-Milk For Baby

By the time you are ending your first trimester, your breasts will begin to produce colostrum. This special first-milk is an important food for your baby, filled with nutrients and immunities that will help nourish the baby in the first few days of life outside of the womb. During the last few months of pregnancy you may begin to leak small amounts of colostrum, which appears as a thick yellowish substance.

Finding A Way To Reduce The Soreness

The best way to deal with the soreness is to buy yourself a few good, supportive bras. Most department stores and all maternity shops have qualified salespeople to help you find the best fit for you. Natural fibers, like cotton, breathe better than synthetics. Underwires will likely be uncomfortable at this stage. You will want to be sure there are no seams across the middle of the cup that could irritate the nipples. Ensure there is enough expansion room in the band to allow for growth of both breasts and body as you progress through your pregnancy. You might want to consider a soft bra to sleep in and, if you are planning to breastfeed, then a nursing bra is a good bet when you are in your last trimester. If you are athletic, a good sports bra will provide the support your heavier breasts will need.

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