If you are pregnant, you might have noticed that there are a few changes happening. Yes your tummy is growing, and your breasts are tender, and also growing. But did you know that your nipples and areolas change as well? In this post we’ll go over some of these changes and what they mean.
How Our Breasts Change over Pregnancy
Let’s set aside the myriad of other changes that you are experiencing mama to be, and focus on your breasts. Breasts and breastfeeding are a major part of pregnancy and postpartum. If you elect to breastfeed, your breasts become your baby’s primary source of nutrition. So this is important stuff.
There are the obvious changes that we’ve mentioned, your breasts may become tender and bigger, but why? Inside your breasts, your tissue is changing. Your body is creating the milk ducts and glands needed not only to produce breast milk, but to deliver it to your baby.
There are other changes happening too. Your areolas will likely become darker, and larger. This is believed to be to help your baby find their next meal. But you might also notice them becoming a bit bumpier as well. What’s up with this?
These bumps are known as Montgomery’s Tubercles or Montgomery Glands. Women have these whether we’re pregnant or not. They’re responsible for producing a waxy like substance that helps to protect your body, and your baby from infection. This waxy-like substance can range from white to yellowish in appearance, and many for this reason, mistake it for breast milk. Not all women will notice them but for those that do, it can cause questions.
Do I Need to Clean Them?
The best thing to do when you notice these bumps with white or yellowish heads on your areola tissue, is to do nothing. This is your body doing what it’s supposed to do Mama! Pretty amazing right? Showering daily and washing with mild soap is all you need to do in order to keep these healthy and functioning as they should. You don’t need to cleanse them with acne products, pop or squeeze them, or cover them with lotions. In fact, doing any of these things can cause problems that weren’t there to begin with.
If a bump continues to grow larger, or have skin grow over the top, this may actually be an infected nipple pore. While it more commonly happens during breastfeeding, blocked nipple pores can happen during pregnancy as well. Call your doctor or a lactation professional when this does happen for helpful advice. You can also read up on blocked nipple pores or milk blebs in this blog post, it can help guide your conversation with your healthcare provider.
Will They Go Away?
After you are done breastfeeding, you may notice that these bumps, or the visible part of Montgomery’s Tubercles will diminish. In the rare case that they don’t diminish in size, some women have opted for a minor procedure to shrink their appearance.
Other Changes to Areolar Tissue
In addition to these areolar bumps and changes, some women may leak breast milk through their areolas during pregnancy. You have pores in this tissue that are connected to your milk glands. During pregnancy and breastfeeding it is not super common but totally natural to leak milk.
Your milk glands also extend through your breast, and into your under arms. Some moms may even experience some leakage of milk here as well! Your body is amazing mama. And it’s doing really awesome things, all for the health and wellness of your new little bundle of joy.