Pregnancy and childbirth change a lot of things about your life. You may have to shuffle your schedule around or leave your job (at least temporarily) to stay home with your new baby. Pregnancy also brings lots of physical changes, including weight gain, stretch marks, and an expanding midsection.
While many people focus on the changes that happen to the stomach area during and after pregnancy, having a baby also changes your breasts. If you decide to breastfeed, the changes to your breasts can be even more dramatic. Here’s what you can expect to happen to your breasts throughout this process, from the time you discover you’re pregnant through breastfeeding.
Tenderness During Pregnancy
For some women, the first sign of pregnancy isn’t morning sickness or a plus sign on a pregnancy test, but a change in the way their breasts feel. As your body starts producing more and more hormones, the breasts are likely to feel tender or even sore to the touch. Some women also notice a tingling sensation in their breasts during the early stages of pregnancy.
Color Changes During Pregnancy
Another change some women notice during pregnancy is a change in the color of their nipples or areolas. Often, the nipples will become darker in color during pregnancy. For some women, the change is permanent, but others see their nipples return to the original color after giving birth.
Since there is often increased blood flow to the breasts during pregnancy, it’s also somewhat common for any veins in the area to become more visible. You might be able to see blue veins just underneath the skin of your breasts while you wait for your baby’s birth.
Size Changes During Pregnancy
The breast change that women talk about most during pregnancy is the change in size. Many women see their breasts get bigger when they are pregnant. Often, the breasts can swell and increase in size by about two cup sizes. The initial change in size is usually due to an increase in hormone levels.
For many women, the increase in breast size during pregnancy means that they need to invest in a few new bras. You might need to buy a bunch of different sizes over the course of your pregnancy, as there is a possibility that your breasts’ size will fluctuate slightly. You might notice that you have to buy different styles of bra, as well. For example, due to the bigger breast size, many women find themselves wearing full-coverage or extra supportive bras while pregnant.
After you’ve given birth, you’re also likely to notice a change in your breast size. This is especially true if you decide to breastfeed. As your milk comes in, something call engorgement takes place. Your milk glands swell with milk, making your breasts bigger.
Shape Changes After Breastfeeding
As they say, what goes up must come down. Many women see an increase in breast size while breastfeeding. Once they finish breastfeeding, they are likely to see a change in the shape and size of the breasts. The swelling of the glands during breastfeeding can stretch out the skin in the breasts. While it’s possible for the skin to bounce back or regain its original shape after pregnancy and breastfeeding, many women notice that their breasts just aren’t as perky as before.
If you have noticed that your breasts have become saggier or look deflated after pregnancy and breastfeeding, a breast lift can help to restore them to a more youthful position and perkier shape. It’s a good idea to wait to schedule your breast lift until after you’re finished having children, as future pregnancies can affect your results.
Sensation Changes During Breastfeeding
Just as some women feel tenderness or tingling in the breasts while pregnant, many women also feeling a tingling sensation in their breasts when they breastfeed. The tingling is often caused by the flow of milk in the breasts and usually occurs right before a baby starts feeding. For some women, the sensation is strongest when they first start to breastfeed and becomes less noticeable as they continue to feed their babies.
Although you wouldn’t give up your baby for the world, you might want to get your pre-baby breasts back. If you’ve noticed increased sagging or that your breasts have gotten smaller after breastfeeding, you might be a good candidate for breast surgery.
Dr. Paul Viteans specializes in breast surgeries at his Houston, Texas-based practice. To learn more about how you can get your pre-baby body, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.