Dark Nipples during Pregnancy – Reasons and Tips to Deal with It

A woman holding her breasts

All women know very well that one of the physical changes that accompany pregnancy is the increase in the breast size. They get a bit fuller than usual. But along with that, you might feel your nipples getting dark as well. Some women believe dark areolas are an early sign of pregnancy because of its connection with an increase in breast size. Let’s understand why this phenomenon takes place and how to handle it.

Is Nipple Darkening Normal during Pregnancy?

When any physical change occurs that is not to your liking, it will face the most questions. Many women are used to how their breasts look and tend to have their own liking to them, probably because of their partners like them, too. So any change that occurs might always not be the pleasant one, but it is absolutely normal. Dark areolas during pregnancy is a usual change that accompanies pregnancy in most women. Apart from getting darker, your nipples could get larger, too.

What Causes Nipple Darkening in Pregnancy?

As with all the changes taking place in your body, your first thought might be the right answer in this regard as well. Hormones, the be-all and end-all for anything that occurs in your body when you are pregnant. To understand when do you get dark nipples during pregnancy, it is necessary to know what the hormones affect. The pigment responsible for giving us the skin colour is termed as melanin. This is present in various parts of the body, including our hair and irises. Due to the effect of the hormones and the fluctuation in their levels, the melanin production in the skin begins to increase. This usually is stronger in areas where melanin is already present in higher quantities, which also includes your areolas and your nipples. At times, the melanin production can go off the charts resulting in any scars or freckles that you may have to get dark as well. You might even observe some dark patches forming on different areas of your body. None of these is causes to worry since it is all a result of your body changing itself to accommodate the baby. An evolutionary outlook at areola darkening harkens at making it easier for the newborn baby to spot the nipple with his weak vision and begin breastfeeding.

Is this Darkening of Nipples Permanent?

The number of physical changes that take place in your body might make you want to keep some and get rid of some. We all know what larger areas of the body we want to stay large. But many women wonder if their nipples and areolas will stay as large and dark as they are right now. In most cases, your breasts and nipples will return as close as possible to their earlier state following a few months of your delivery. Certain women might have those nipples as dark as they are for life.

Tips to Deal with Dark Nipples and Areolas during Pregnancy

A woman examining her breasts

  • The darkening of nipples and areolas along with other parts of your body is primarily a result of over-pigmentation of melanin. Therefore, it is necessary that the melanin does not receive any more stimulation to stop the darkening. This means taking care of your skin when you step out into the sun. You might be a fan of skinny dipping or skin bathing in the nude, but it is important to keep your breasts covered if you don’t want them getting darker. Exposure to sun causes melanin to produce even more to protect the skin from UV radiation. Make use of sunscreen as well to keep the skin healthy.
  • There are certain lotions and topical creams available in the market that take care of the darkened areas and help reduce the concentration of melanin in those regions. These are made up of different chemicals which react with the skin and its inner layers to carry out the lightening. These might be useful on other days but when you’re pregnant it might not be the best bet for you. It is best to get your doctor’s recommendation before using any of these lotions or creams since the presence of a particular element or chemical could cause harm to your baby or react adversely with your over-sensitive breasts.
  • The darkening of areolas is not just a physical response. It is emotional as well. Yes, it is due to the fluctuating levels of hormones but that fluctuation can also be a result of emotional health. If you have been taking undue stress about your pregnancy, or are being exposed to environments that build on your stress, such as workload at the office, or pressurising environments at home, the darkening can get worse. The key to your health, your baby’s health and your skin’s colour are all the same – enjoying your pregnancy. Revel in the fact that a life is growing inside your body and is going to call you his mother. Complement it with a diet that is properly balanced and nutritious and treat yourself by succumbing to a few cravings occasionally. When your mood is right, your nipple colour will be right as well.

Darkened areolas and dark patches on nipples during pregnancy are usually harmless. It is mostly a matter of mindset that causes most women to look at them as something unpleasant and affects their body image as well as self-worth. But learning to accept the natural body changes is how one should live and believe in the fact that a dark nipple does not change who you essentially are. You will still be loved as a mother and will always be beautiful no matter what.

Also Read:

Breast and Nipple changes during pregnancy
Breast and Nipple Care during Pregnancy