Breast changes during pregnancy – All three trimesters

breast changes during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body of the female goes through a lot of changes. This is all due to exponential changes in the levels of hormones. The hormones that are responsible for getting the breasts all ready for lactation. Moreover, one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy is breast changes. They become more sensitive and tender. These breast changes continue to proceed in all three trimesters of pregnancy. In this article, we’ll be going to discuss how pregnancy hormones (estrogen and progesterone) have an impact on breasts during pregnancy. We’ll also discuss how to distinguish between PMS breast changes and the breast changes that are early symptoms of pregnancy. Then we’ll see that which changes the breasts of the mother undergo during each trimester. So, stick around till the end not to miss any important information that can be of great help.

Role of estrogen and progesterone in breast changes during pregnancy

To prepare breasts for lactation, high levels of estrogen start stimulating the growth of breast duct cells along with the production of prolactin. Prolactin is also known as lactotroph because it performs the sole function in stimulating lactation (production of milk) in mammals. Coming to progesterone, it also helps in the production of milk-producing cells within the glands that are present in the breast. Prolactin levels mostly rise after the baby is delivered because the lactation process starts then. 

Now, we’ll see how breast changes during early pregnancy differ from PMS changes.

Breast changes: Early signs of pregnancy

Breast changes can be the earlier signs of pregnancy. Let’s see what are the early changes that one could observe and how to not confuse them by PMS breast change.

  • Early symptoms of pregnancy include breast swelling. 
  • Your breasts might feel heavy.
  • Tenderness and soreness are the earliest change that one could instantly notice.

Talking about Premenstrual Syndrome, you feel exact soreness and tenderness during the last two weeks of your menstrual cycle. These breast changes are quite similar to early pregnancy breast changes but with the exception of breast fullness and heaviness. Moreover, your breast gets better during menstruation.

 Now we’ll see how breast changes during each trimester of pregnancy. 

Breast changes during the first trimester of pregnancy

The first trimester refers to the first three months after conception. As mentioned above, at the earliest stage your breasts will start feeling heavy, sore, and tender with slight pain when you touch it. As in the early weeks, your blood volume increases to fulfil the developmental needs of the embryo that resides in the uterus, you can see feel more blue veins emerging on your breast. Moreover, it will also start growing a bit. During the first trimester, it is quite common to feel slight changes in your nipples. They’ll start to tingle and bit and stick out more than usual. The dark area around the nipple is known as areola. In the first 12 weeks, the areola starts to get darker. You may also notice small bumps around nipples, particularly in the areola. These tiny bumps are known as Montgomery’s tubercules. They are sebaceous glands that have antiseptic and lubricating characteristics. During the last weeks of the first trimester, you’ll start feeling like your breasts are leaking. This discharge is probably called colostrum that is basically a nutrient-rich fluid that can be useful for building the immune system of a baby after birth. Colostrum continues to release after delivery as well.

These are the most common breast changes that are most likely to occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. Let’s see what happens in the second trimester.

Breast changes during the second trimester of pregnancy

During the second trimester of pregnancy, your breast continues to change because of the constant increase in pregnancy hormones. Estrogen levels keep on increasing and so does the size of your breasts. Your breast will continue to feel heavy and full because of the development of the milk duct. During this time, you might need to shift to maternal bras with breathable cloth and wide straps. There are chances that your bra size will be double than the size you used to have before. Moreover, as explained above, colostrum starts to secrete during the last few weeks of the first trimester. This fluid continues to secrete during the second trimester as well. If this leakage of colostrum becomes bothersome then you can start using breathable breast pads. They will prevent your shirts from getting ruined because of this thick yellowish fluid. Overstimulating the nipples during the second trimester when it is producing colostrum may lead to premature labour. Try to avoid it.

These we a few common changes that are most likely to occur during the second trimester. Let’s see what breast changes occur during the final trimester.

Breast changes during the third trimester of pregnancy

As the third trimester is the last trimester, during this time your body will start preparing itself to give birth. During this time, you’ will feel that your breast has become heavy and full more than it was ever before. Your areola will get darker and your nipple will get larger and change their shape to an extent. Because your breast will keep growing so the skin of your breast will stretch to adjust itself. This is why most of the women get stretch marks during the last trimester of their pregnancy. Dryness and itching around the nipples are oftentimes observed and using a mild moisturizer can also help.

After the third trimester when the baby is born, milk production starts which is to say that your body will start producing milk in the next 5 days instead of colostrum. SO, this article was all about breast changes that are most likely to occur during pregnancy and how these changes are different in each trimester. Here are a few tips to ease your breast while it goes through all the changes during pregnancy.

Tips to provide comfort to the breast during all these changes

  • For excessive colostrum leakage, start using breast pads.
  • Use mild lotion and oils to treat dryness and itching.
  • Treat your blocked milk ducts with a gentle massage.
  • Wear a breathable bra with no underwire and wide straps.
  • Weekly check your breast for any lumps.

This was all about breast changes during pregnancy. For more such content stay tuned.

Leave a Reply