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Normal Breast Changes during Pregnancy

Updated on June 19, 2013

The production of milk for Breastfeeding is called Lactation. The normal breast changes in appearance and feel throughout the course of lactation but also it can have some abnormal changes.

Below is a list of normal breast changes throughout pregnancy and what the abnormal signs to look for.

Normal Breast Changes in pregnancy

Before you have your baby, in the antenatal period, you may notice a few breast changes:

  • The colour of the nipple and areola may darken
  • The Montgomery's tubercles (small spots on the areola) may become more pronounced.
  • A previously inverted nipple may become everted
  • Your breasts may become enlarged and change shape
  • They may become heavy with some tenderness
  • You may get stretch marks on them
  • Marbling - (a visible network of veins)
  • Leaking of colostrum

Breast Changes Following Delivery

For the first few days after delivery the following Breast changes are normal:

  • The breasts will become heavier and firmer and change shape
  • May feel more tender
  • Fluctuate in size in between feeds
  • The Nipple may be very sensitive and sore
  • Stretch marks and prominent veins will become more noticeable
  • Colostrums and milk will leak from the breast

Once Breastfeeding is established the following Breast changes occur:

  • The breasts revert to a softer feel and may even return to a smaller size
  • Breast and Nipple tenderness lessens
  • Leakage of milk may stop

Unusual and abnormal Breast changes -What to look for.

  • An extra nipple may secrete milk
  • Piercings and tattoos would need to be observed for infections
  • Scars from previous breast surgery or trauma (breast reduction, enlargement, abscess, Lumpectomy)
  • Any obvious swellings or lumps
  • Swelling and shininess of the skin indicating that the breasts are engorged (Over full)
  • Hot, hard and or painfulness could be an indication of milk stasis (Blocked ducts)
  • Redness indicating inflammation/infection
  • Breaks in the skin of the nipple and areola
  • changes in pigmentation of the skin of the nipple area
  • Any unusual discharge from the nipple.
  • If you have any of these symptoms you need to inform your medical professional to have an examination. (Midwife or Doctor)


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