Pregnancy is all about changes; not just in the little ‘being’ growing in your belly, but also in you. Your body undergoes so many changes as it prepares for the birth of your baby. Leaking breasts can be one of them, and you need not be scared. Breasts usually leak when they are full of milk and they tend to overflow.
In the beginning, a woman does not start producing milk until one or two days after the baby is born. You may notice a yellowish liquid oozing from your breasts. This is colostrum, your baby’s first nourishment even before milk. It may be equally surprising to know that your breasts have been producing this ‘baby-food’ right from the 14th week of pregnancy.
Is Breast Leakage Common During Pregnancy?
Leaking breasts can be quite an embarrassment but it is perfectly normal. In case of breast leaking during pregnancy, a clear fluid called colostrum may ooze out and it is a healthy sign that your body is preparing your baby’s food. Colostrum is particularly nutritious for your baby and helps in early digestion. It contains high amounts of protein and is low on fats and sugar. It is also loaded with antibodies that protect your baby from falling sick.
When Do Your Breasts Usually Start Leaking in Pregnancy?
Because there is no thumb rule in pregnancy, every expecting mother will have a different experience. Some women may notice breast leaking during 2nd trimester, around 26 –30 weeks of pregnancy. This is quite common among pregnant women. However, there are also instances when women have leaking breasts as early as 12–14 weeks of pregnancy or it may not begin until the last trimester.
As the due date approaches, this leaking may also increase in some women. There may also be cases where there is no leaking until after delivery. Whatever the case may be, you needn’t fret over it. This is no indication of whether or not you can breastfeed your little one. Some women may not experience leaking even right after delivery. If it still worries you, feel free to discuss this with your doctor.
Are Leaky Breasts During Third Trimester of Pregnancy Normal?
Yes, breast leaking during the 8th month of pregnancy or during the final weeks is normal. It may differ from woman to woman. Do not panic if you spray some milk while showering or when you are changing your clothes. During the third trimester, your body has high levels of the hormone called prolactin. This hormone helps in producing milk in the breasts and is responsible for prepping the food for your baby. The breasts generally spurt some milk when they are stimulated. So you may end up oozing even when having sex during the third trimester.
Is It a Sign of Labour?
Leaking breasts are commonly mistaken for signs of oncoming labour as they usually occur during the last trimester of pregnancy. Sometimes, breast leakage is also accompanied by uterine contractions when having sex. This definitely does not mean preterm labour as breasts play no part in indicating symptoms of preterm labour.
How to Deal With Breast Leaking While Pregnant?
- Stop worrying. Leaking breasts can be a pain, but don’t let them be one. Brush it off with some good-natured humour and add it to your kitty of funny pregnancy anecdotes.
- Feed your baby regularly. Breast leaking generally comes down if you frequently breastfeed your baby. But if you are still producing a lot of milk, then the best thing would be to express it out. Otherwise, it may lead to clogging.
- Use breasts pads. Breast leaking becomes a nuisance especially when you have to step out of the house. The market is flooded with a range of reusable or disposable breast pads. Take your pick. Also, change them frequently during the course of the day to maintain hygiene.
- Maternity bras to the rescue. Cotton maternity bras are more comfortable than regular ones and may be just the thing for you. They are particularly helpful during the nights.
- Keep spares handy. Always carry an extra bra and t-shirt or dress in your bag and ‘spare’ yourself the embarrassment.
- Patterns trending. Camouflage those leakage stains with patterned tees. Make a style statement while you are at it.
When to Worry?
As you can see, breast milk leaking during pregnancy is a normal phenomenon. However, if the oozing milk is not the thick, creamy liquid, then there is cause for worry. You must rush to your doctor if the milk is either bloody or may be foul-smelling. You might want to rule out the chances of intraductal papilloma or bacterial infection. In very rare cases, this may also be the first signs of breast cancer. Therefore, it becomes imperative to consult your doctor.
Sometimes, in the last trimester, it may be detected that the baby’s growth may not be adequate or may be born with Down’s syndrome or with a cleft palate, etc. In such cases, your doctor may advise you to express the early colostrums during pregnancy. Follow your doctor’s directions for expressing and storing of the colostrums.
As irritating as it can be, don’t let breast leaking ruin your pregnancy experience. And do not compare with others. Some women may leak a lot while others may not. Women who have been pregnant before may begin leaking earlier and in much more quantities. It may be quite different for you if you are a first-time mother. What you must remember is that leaking does not affect your health or that of your baby. Trust nature to take care of you and your baby.