In the next 12 weeks of pregnancy (2nd trimester – weeks 13-24) you may notice the biggest change of all in your breasts; they are making milk! Milk is being made in your breasts from around 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Some women never see a drop of milk come from their nipple prior to the birth of their baby yet other women notice drops of milk leaking after warm baths or sex, and other women notice a dry or sticky residue on their nipples when they wake up in the mornings.
What Breast Changes During Pregnancy are “Normal?”
Each one of us is different but still going through the same processes in our breasts to make milk for our babies. Some women are concerned that as they are leaking in pregnancy that they could run out of colostrum.
There is a hormone, which is present during pregnancy, known as progesterone. Progesterone ensures your breasts do not start producing large volumes of mature milk until your baby and placenta are born. Therefore you will keep making small amounts of colostrum each day and not run out, there will be the right amount of colostrum for your baby.
Consider a Maternity Bra
As your breasts are now making milk it is important to get fitted for a maternity bra. A maternity bra is not just a bra which can open easily for breastfeeding, maternity bras are made to be comfortable and not press in any bra wires on your breast.
Unlike a normal underwired bra which could possibly press in against your breast tissue and cause soreness or even blockages in the milk ducts a maternity bra is the safer option as it will leave you comfortable and not at risk of pressing on the delicate breast skin. As your breast size is likely to continue growing in pregnancy and very likely to increase after birth you may need a few fittings for bras over the next few months.
You may also notice that you develop some stretch marks on your breasts. These are really normal as rapid growth is happening to both your tummy and breasts right now in order to make room for your baby and their milk! Stretch marks will fade over time, but know they are part of your body transforming to create a new life and very normal. Most women have them, even if they may not talk about them!
Don’t Forget to Check Your Breasts Regularly
As we mentioned in our blog on breast changes in the 1st trimester, it is still really important to continue to check your breasts as you would do normally each month for lumps and unusual changes. It is likely your breast will feel different now.
If you do notice any new lumps, pain, redness, skin or nipple changes (other than darkening or size increases) or any coloured substance (which is not yellow, clear or white) from your nipple then it is advisable to discuss this with your doctor.
For more information, check out the following video.
What breast changes during pregnancy did you experience? What questions do you have about the benefits of breastfeeding? Please join the conversation on the Medela Australia Facebook page.