Lumps in the Armpits When Pregnant - Is It Harmful?

Lump in Armpit during Pregnancy – Is It Dangerous?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy both internally as well as externally. If you come across a painless lump in the armpit when you are pregnant, no doubt it will leave you worried. This lump will be weird to look at, but it can also indicate a problem that would manifest later on. Knowing what it truly is can help you stay calm and relaxed.

In this article, we will take a look at the reason behind lump under armpit during pregnancy and if you should see a doctor yet or not. Let’s read!

Also Read: Breast Pain during Pregnancy

What Are Pregnancy Armpit Lumps?

The lump under armpit in pregnancy are non-cancerous growths of breast tissue that develop in the armpit during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and increased breast development. Though a normal anatomical variation, they can cause discomfort or pain for some women. In rare cases, there may be inflammation or infection. Consult with your doctor for evaluation and treatment.

Is It Common to Have Lumps in Armpits When Pregnant?

Armpit lumps are common and normally caused by a swollen lymph node or gland under your armpit. There are numerous reasons for armpit lumps, some of which may need immediate attention.

What Causes a Lump in the Armpit While Pregnant?

Coming across a pea-sized lump in the armpit during pregnancy will leave you all worried and tensed. But there is no reason to stress yourself. Among many other changes that your body goes through during pregnancy, this is one of them.

It is important to note that the lump is also a part of the breast. Yes, it may be strange to hear this since we believe that the breast is usually the portion that is present in the chest region. In reality, the actual section can extend to the armpit as well, reaching the point of division quite easily. The lines that occur when this happens, resembling a valley of sorts, are termed as milk ridges. Breasts undergo expansion during pregnancy and even when lactation sets in after the child has been delivered. This can cause the breast tissue to expand in the area of the armpit as well.

As with any section of the breast, these expand as well and even result in the formation of milk glands within them, causing them to be enlarged evidently. You can feel these glands in the form of lumps when you press the armpit region.

Also Read: Swollen Lymph Nodes during Pregnancy

How to Make Sure That the Lump Tissue Isn’t Cancerous?

The existence of a sore lump in the armpit during pregnancy is strange and you will wonder if this strange growth of tissue is a sign of cancer. As mentioned before, it is a part of the breast and not cancerous. However, there are ways to put these doubts to rest.

The moment you notice an increase in the breast area and the formation of lumps in the armpits, let your doctor or maternity care provider know about it. They will check the area properly and determine if it is harmless or needs to be diagnosed further. Most of the times, the lumpy feeling is due to the presence of milk ducts. These are generally soft in nature and the ducts are visible when stretched. If you have soft lumps on both the sides, it is usually not cancerous and just a result of breast expansion. However, if the lump is present only on one side and is hard and firmly placed in one location without the possibility of any movement, it can be cancerous. So, it is good to get it examined by a medical professional.

How to Prevent Lump in Armpit While Pregnant?

Here are some ways to prevent lump in armpit while pregnant:

  • Maintain good breast hygiene.
  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing to avoid pressure on the armpit area.
  • Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet during pregnancy.
  • Perform gentle breast massages to promote circulation.
  • Avoid risky sexual behaviour.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

When to See a Doctor?

While lumps may be developed in the armpit with milk ducts within them, most of the times breastfeeding and childcare can continue unabated. In rare cases, a nipple might develop in that particular region and begin to leak milk. Even if not, the milk production can take place within it and, since it has no place to exit, the engorgement can start becoming painful, or even get infected. A doctor will need to intervene and take necessary action in this case.

Coming across a soft lump in the armpit during pregnancy can be easily ignored by some pregnant women who are used to strange pregnancy phenomenon. On the other hand, some may worry and wonder what the cause of the lump is. Nevertheless, getting professional medical advice can help you diagnose any situation in time and take corrective action in time.

References/Resources:

1. Breast lump or breast changes: Early evaluation is essential; mayoclinic.org; https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/breast-lump/art-20044839

2. Breast changes during and after pregnancy: breastcancernow.org; https://breastcancernow.org/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/breast-changes-during-after-pregnancy

3. Armpit lump; medlineplus.gov; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003099.htm

4. S Jalilzadeh Afshari, A Saad Abdalla Al-Zawi, P Idaewo; Axillary lymphadenopathy in a pregnant woman: a case report; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7450423/; September 2020

5. Breast Changes During Pregnancy; fhs.gov.hk; https://www.fhs.gov.hk/english/health_info/woman/30117.html

Also Read:

Breast Cancer during Pregnancy
Boils and Painful Bumps in Pregnancy
Effective Tips for Proper Breast Care during Pregnancy

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.