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Pregnancy is the time when your body goes through a number of changes to accommodate and provide for the new baby. Changes in the breasts and the areolas, or the area around the nipples, are a definitive part of pregnancy. However, if proper care is not taken, these changes may cause discomfort and also alter the shape of your breasts, significantly, after pregnancy.
It is evident that pregnancy is sure to be a busy time, but a few short tips and routines will help you take care of your body, prevent any discomfort caused due to the changes in your body, and enjoy pregnancy, at the same time.
Common Breast Changes During Pregnancy
Pregnancy tends to change the appearance and feel of your breasts in a number of ways, many of which can even cause discomfort. Here are some of the common breast changes you may notice during pregnancy.
1. Growth and Tenderness
Your breasts can grow as much as 1.5 sizes bigger during pregnancy, and feel tender, sore, and more sensitive than usual.
2. Darkening of Nipples and Areolas
The hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the nipples and areolas, which is the skin around your nipples, to become dark.
3. Colostrum Leakage
You may experience leakage of colostrum, which is a thick, yellowish substance, from the breasts.
4. Darkening of Veins
The veins along your breasts may darken and become prominent due to increased blood supply to the breasts.
5. Enlargement of Nipples
The nipples and areolas will become larger and stick out more during pregnancy.
Tips for Breast and Nipple Care in Pregnancy
Most women tend to ignore breast care routine during pregnancy, which makes it difficult for them to tend to their breasts later on. Here are a few tips for proper breast care during pregnancy that you can incorporate into your everyday regimen.
1. Get the Right Bra
Since your breasts continue to increase in size starting from the first trimester, you may have to change your bra size a few times. Always remember to wear the right sized bra to avoid suffocation and discomfort. Avoid tight bras and bras with underwire. Instead, opt for softly padded cotton bras. Underwired bras tend to hamper milk production by blocking the milk ducts. You can also look for bras that offer you the right back support, which is essential for your growing breasts.
Nipples may get dry, and crack during pregnancy. Hence, it is important to retain moisture around the nipple area. You can do this by using olive oil or coconut oil and gently massaging the nipples before bath. Massaging the breasts with coconut oil can also aid in blood circulation, lift them up, keep them firm, and prevent sagging of the breasts that is common during pregnancy.
Nipples tend to leak colostrum, which is a yellow milk substance, especially during the last trimester. This can happen often and it is important that you change your bra to avoid the nipples being too wet, as this may lead to cracks and infections. You can also use breast pads to keep your nipples dry. Also, remember to wash your nipples regularly to prevent the liquid from forming a crust around it.
4. No Soap on the Nipple
Always ensure to not use any soap on the nipple during your daily baths. Soap tends to dry out the nipples and it can lead to cracking of the nipple area.
5. Moisturising Creams
After you step out of the shower, it is a good idea to apply some moisturizing cream on the nipples if they feel too dry.
6. Nipple Protectors
Some women may suffer from sore nipples that can be hard to bear. You can get some nipple protectors, which can be used as a pad between the clothing and the nipples to prevent the soreness from being aggravated.
Precautions You Should Take
While some of the changes in the breasts come as a part and parcel of pregnancy, there are others that can be avoided with proper care and precautions. Taking the following precautionary measures can help you in your breast care routine during pregnancy.
- Always use warm water to wash your breasts. However, ensure to use water that is below 45 degree Celsius to avoid harm to your baby or skin burns.
- Change your bra on a regular basis, at least once in a day. This prevents discomfort due to sweat and leakage from the nipples.
- Check your breasts every day for any changes. If you notice any irregular changes that cause you to worry, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.
- Make simple exercises, like arm rotations, a part of your everyday work out to prevent the breasts from sagging during pregnancy.
Pregnancy can be a stressful time for new mothers and many women seldom find time to care for their bodies. However, ignoring parts of your body, such as the breasts, during this time can make them sag and look out of shape. Allotting a little time every day to take care of your breasts and nipples can go a long way during pregnancy and keep your post-pregnancy body in a good shape for many years to come.
References and Resources: MedicalNewsToday
Also Read: How to Deal With Cracked or Bleeding Nipples