How Your Breasts Change During Pregnancy

Breast changes during pregnancy

Verywell / Alexandra Gordon 

You may have heard that one of the first pregnancy symptoms many women have is changes in their breast tissue. It is true that your breasts will respond to you being pregnant by changing in preparation for breastfeeding. So what do your breasts feel like in pregnancy? Most pregnant people would say that their breasts feel heavy and sensitive in pregnancy, particularly early on (which is not always a bad thing).

Common Breast Changes During Pregnancy

Learn about some of the changes you can expect in pregnancy from your breasts.


Moms Share How Their Breasts Changed During Pregnancy

Sore Breasts

Early in the first trimester, you may notice that your breasts are sore or tender. For some women, this is also a sign of an impending period, so it may go unnoticed. You may have a slight tenderness when you touch your breasts or you can have severe pain whenever you wear a bra.

Both variants are normal and are usually most intense in the first trimester. This is one of the reasons that sex in the first trimester is often avoided by some women. Sex in pregnancy is safe, you may just want to avoid having anyone touch your nipples.

Nipple Changes

Your nipples may become larger and darker as your pregnancy progresses. You may also notice small, goosebump or pimple-like white areas on your areola. These are normal. They are called Montgomery's tubercles. Avoid popping these bumps, as they provide a protective substance to keep your breasts healthy.

Larger Breasts 

Towards the end of the first trimester or the beginning of the second trimester, you may notice that your breasts begin to grow. This is again the tissues inside the breast preparing for nursing.

Towards the end of pregnancy, you will want to be fitted for a nursing bra to help accommodate the larger breasts. This may also help ensure that you are more comfortable. Some women find that a special sleep bra is very helpful to them as well.

Leaking Colostrum and Discharge

Colostrum is the first milk your body makes. It will provide your baby with everything he or she needs to start life, including a dose of immunities and protection from jaundice. Towards the end of pregnancy, some women may find that their breasts leak this golden color fluid. Or you may notice that your nipples have a film or caked substance, this is all colostrum.

You can use a breast pad if it becomes noticeable or if it makes you feel more comfortable. Be sure to use breast pads that are breathable so that you don't leave your nipples in a moist environment and get thrush or a yeast infection.

When No Breast Changes Are Present 

You may be one of the people who have only slight symptoms or no symptoms of breast changes in pregnancy. Don't panic. It has nothing to do with your ability to have a successful pregnancy. There may be some concern over something called insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) or breast hypoplasia.

Be sure to talk to your midwife or doctor about this and insist on a breast exam. This will help you identify any potential problems that you may have before your baby is born.

A Word From Verywell

Changing breasts are a part of pregnancy. Learning to cope with the changes you notice, both in the sense of the physical symptoms and in the clothing arena, is a must for having a positive pregnancy. With this knowledge, you can enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy from the standpoint of breast health.

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Article Sources
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  1. American Pregnancy Association. Breast Changes During Pregnancy. Updated July 15, 2019.

  2. Bryant J, Thistle J. Anatomy, Colostrum. In: StatPearls. Updated June 13, 2019.

  3. Hanna L, Cruz SA. Candida mastitis: a case reportPerm J. 2011;15(1):62–64. doi:10.7812/tpp/10-088

  4. Arbour MW, Kessler JL. Mammary hypoplasia: not every breast can produce sufficient milk. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2013;58(4):457-61. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12070

Additional Reading
  • Cassar-Uhl, D. Finding Sufficiency: Breastfeeding With Insufficient Glandular Tissue. Praclaerus Press, 2014.

  • Galbarczyk A. Unexpected Changes in Maternal breast Size During Pregnancy in Relation to Infant Sex: An Evolutionary Interpretation. Am J Hum Biol. 2011 Jul-Aug;23(4):560-2. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21177. Epub 2011 May 4.

  • Mohrbacher, N. Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple: A Guide for Helping Mothers. Hale Publishing, 2010.