Breast Changes During Pregnancy

Your body undergoes many physical changes during pregnancy. These changes are essential to support a healthy pregnancy and motherhood. Of the many organs that change during pregnancy, breasts are one of them. A woman’s breasts undergo important changes during pregnancy so they can lactate, which is an essential component of the process. Here’s what you need to know about breast changes during pregnancy! 


When do you notice breast changes in pregnancy?


Breast changes are one of the first changes a woman may notice during her pregnancy. They may begin as early as week one or two of pregnancy and continue until the very end. Two important hormones are at play to bring about these changes: estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen stimulates the growth and stimulation of breast tissue. It also helps release prolactin, another hormone that causes breast enlargement and the production of milk. Progesterone stimulates the production of the glands that cause milk production.

What do breast changes look like?


In the initial few weeks, breast changes can look like this:

  • Breast fullness
  • Tenderness and soreness
  • Breast swelling
  • Darkened veins
  • Darkened areolas 

 1st Trimester – 

These changes continue throughout the first trimester; your breasts continue to grow in size and shape as your belly continues to grow!

2nd Trimester –

By the second trimester, your breasts are usually a cup size larger than your original size. Your breasts may also begin to produce colostrum at this point. 

3rd Trimester – 

During the third trimester, your breasts continue to get heavy and dense. Your nipples and areola also begin to change in size and color if they haven’t already. The nipple becomes more pronounced and protruded, while the areola continues to become darker. You may also experience dryness around your nipple since your skin is stretching to accommodate your growing breast size.  Some women may also feel bumps around the areola, these are oil-producing glands called Montgomery tubercles.

Why do they hurt?


The hormonal influence on your breast causes an increased blood flow through your breasts. Also, the ducts in your breasts are producing milk and filling up, causing them to stretch. These two factors combine to cause tenderness and sensitivity in your breasts.

If you want to learn more about breast changes during pregnancy and start preparing for your breastfeeding journey, you can schedule a class with our Lactation expert, Jennifer Chivas, BSN, IBCLC through our website!