Somewhere around six to eight weeks you may begin to notice changes in your breasts and other parts of your body that signal pregnancy.
Size and Shape
Your breasts will generally grow larger over the course of your pregnancy, but you may really notice it during the first trimester. There is an increased blood supply to your breasts as you begin to develop more breast tissue which will enable your body to create breast milk. As your breasts change size and shape, they may become more sensitive and even a little sore. Your skin may also itch as it stretches. Some moms will develop stretch marks.
More Pronounced Nipples
Many moms report that their nipples are perkier or stand up more without stimulation over the course of their pregnancy. Your nipples may become more pronounced or appear larger in size.
Certain breast tissue will become darker in color as a result of an increase in the hormone that controls skin pigmentation. Your nipple and areola (the tissue around the base of the nipple) will grow darker over the course of your pregnancy but you may start to notice this change during the first trimester.
More Pronounced Veins
We mentioned an increase in blood flow, which is essential to support the changes your body is experiencing. This increase in rich, oxygenated blood may cause the veins in your breast tissue to appear darker in color. This increased visibility may also make them appear larger in size.
You may also notice that the pores on your nipple and areola also become more pronounced or visible during this time. As these pores grow larger, you might start to notice white bumps around them. While they might look like clogs, this white waxy substance is your body’s way of protecting itself against infection. These are called Montgomery Tubercles and you can learn more about them here.
As early as the third month of their pregnancy, mothers may notice a bit of leakage from their nipples. Often this is colostrum, the first stage of breast milk produced by a mother’s body. Colostrum is yellowish in color and thicker than what you typically think of “milk” or breast milk. If you don’t notice any breast milk leaking, that is normal too.
How to Find the Right Bra
Bigger boobs can mean needing to buy different bras. Pregnancy can cause discomfort from enlarged breasts to back and joint pain. There are a lot of different options for bras so it can be a bit of a quagmire for new moms. Do you go with your favorite bra, just in a bigger size? Do you look for a totally different type of bra? Are underwires safe? Should you just buy nursing bras now since you’ll need them later?
There is no “right” answer here but there are some guidelines that can help you narrow down your options. First, you want to find something that is comfortable and not too tight. Getting sized for your new bra can really help take out some of the guesswork. Underwire bras are great for work but might not be super comfortable. Some moms find that they can find bras that work with their professional attire that don’t have the underwire.
When it comes to nursing bras, there are your staples that you can find in the big box stores, but there are better options available online. Our friends over at Larken have made an incredible bra that you can wear during your pregnancy, nursing, pumping, and it was designed with working moms in mind! Listen to our interview with the founders here.
What Do These Changes Mean for My Breasts After Pregnancy?
Pregnancy changes a mother. Our bodies change. Our hearts and souls change. We are forever imprinted upon by our pregnancy. Often the changes our breasts experience during pregnancy and postpartum have a lasting effect. Your breasts may never go back to the way they were before your pregnancy.
Some moms look at these changes as badges of honor and some prefer to go back to the way their body was before. The important thing to remember is that you, your body, did an incredible thing. You created, nurtured, and brought life into this world.