Pregnancy brings along a lot of alteration and swaps in your body and life. And your beloved boobs are not spared by it either. Read on to know ways your boobs change during pregnancy & postpartum.
First, they sore…
Breast sensitivity is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Sometimes it’s so bad that even the clothes brushing against the breast feel like a pain in the a**. Even though breast sensitivity is not a surefire sign of pregnancy. (Only a Pregnancy Test is surefire sign). It sure is one of the very first symptoms along with nausea and missed period. Sometimes, it’s there even before morning sickness kicks in. The hormones called estrogen and progesterone starts to increase as soon as the body gets to know that there is a baby in your belly. They start accumulating fat and increase blood flow to breasts to prepare them for making milk. These necessary changes can make your boobs sensitive.
Then, they increase.
Your breasts increase for the same reason that they are sensitive. As the milk ducts mature, they will take more and more space in and around your boobs. They will go up to a size or two throughout your pregnancy. Your breasts will itch a lot as the skin stretches. So, when you use a stretch mark cream on your belly, don’t ignore your breasts. They need it as well. And not to forget the amount of weight that each of the breasts put on. 1 KG EACH! Yes, that’s right. They will become fuller, bigger and perky. These are some advantages of pregnancy that will make you forget the sensitivity and other changes for a while.
Followed by more soreness + sensitivity
The sensitivity doesn’t go away. Probably for a while during the second trimester. But, it will come back again especially when your breasts start leaking but more on that later.
To ease out sensitivity, it’s best that you wear a right-sized bra always. Another way to handle sensitivity would be to wear breast pads as they will create a barrier between your bra and breasts. Make sure that your partner is aware of it and doesn’t get carried away by the perkiness and increment. Last warm, hot showers will instantly ease the pain and will keep it off for a while.
They will become hairy too…
An increase in the hormone called estrogen causes more of your hair to be in resting phase and thus makes them darker and longer. A good side effect is luscious and thick hair, bad would be hair growth on other parts of the body including nipples. There are ways to tackle it like plucking, waxing or cutting them. We would advise doing the last one as your sensitive nipples might make the pain unbearable from the first two.
Your areola regions will become darker and will take up more area too. There is an evolutionary reason behind it. The darker color helps newborns locate the nipple easily. Interesting! Pregnancy also leads to an increased level of melanin in your body that causes skin pigmentation. Melanin could also be one of the reasons for darker nipples and areola region. Most of these changes will revert back after you are done breastfeeding.
By 6-8 weeks, you might notice that your breasts start to become veiny. They won’t be as prominent as varicose veins but they are still noticeable. Like every other symptom, this one is completely normal too. They will be there during breastfeeding too. These are blue veins that develop underneath your skin. Since the blood in your body is 50% more and the blood flow to your breasts is also more, your veins popping out is not something that is unusual.
Then they will leak
The breasts can start leaking as early as 14 weeks. However, that’s rare. Most women don’t leak until the third trimester of pregnancy. And what you are actually leaking is colostrum and not breast milk. It’s okay if you don’t leak though. Some women don’t. It doesn’t mean anything and it surely doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to produce enough milk for the baby. So, don’t worry.
Putting a tissue or breast pads can help you with the leakage. You should talk to your gynecologist if the leakage is bloodstained.
After birth, they will produce milk. MAGIC!
The first milk that comes out is actually colostrum. It’s basically this yellowish orangey liquid that’s low in fat but high in protein, carbs, and immunity boosting antibodies. It’s easier to digest and helps baby’s digestive system prepare for breast milk. Colostrum lasts for about 3-4 days before breastmilk makes it way through milk duct’s’. Yes, milk doesn’t come out through just one hole. But, around 4-20 holes on each breast. Interesting fact, right? Check out more – 25 *INCREDIBLE* BREASTFEEDING FACTS YOU WOULD FEEL PROUD TO KNOW
And suffer from dryness, engorgement, soreness ….. Those common breastfeeding problems, you know what we are talking about
Most women (92%) suffer from some kind of problem during first 3 days of breastfeeding. (HOW TO (FINALLY) GET RELIEF FROM ALL YOUR BREASTFEEDING WOES) This is a fact you would know if you would have read the breastfeeding facts linked above. Breastfeeding problems can range to a myriad of issues from dryness, latching problems, engorgement, insufficient breast milk then the baby blues and tiredness can make it all worse. You must have read this stats before on our blog, but we will point it out again – There are more than 10 million cases of PPD in India each year. It’s time we break the stigma and support all the women in postpartum to visit a therapist at least once. (5 REASONS TO SEE A *THERAPIST* AT LEAST ONCE AFTER CHILDBIRTH) Also, get help for breastfeeding problems. There are lactation consultants who will help you personally with your latching problems and would give you some very important tips to make BF easier.
Then after a while it will all go away
Don’t worry they won’t sag. It’s a myth which holds no scientific reason whatsoever. And even if there is a difference in your breasts after you have weaned, the blame goes more so to pregnancy and not breastfeeding. Pregnancy brings on more changes in your body and your breasts than breastfeeding. Sure, breastfeeding might make you suffer more as you would be going through soreness, drying, engorgement etc. but all these changes are still not that responsible for the change in your breasts as pregnancy.
The reason that you notice slight sagginess is because there is stretching of boob muscles. Stretching happens to make way for milk ducts and milk itself. During postpartum your breasts will return to normal size regardless of whether you breastfeed or not, the muscles underneath the boob muscles shrink down again. This can cause the feeling of sagginess.
But, don’t worry as you go further along during postpartum, your boobs milk tissues will be replaced by fatty tissues again and your boobs will feel the same.This replacement, however, does depend on a lot of factors like age of the mother, the difference between 2 pregnancies, how many kids you have had before etc.
There are lots of changes that you go through during pregnancy, but we are sure none of it matters when you hold that little baby of yours in your hands. Right, ladies?