Swollen Breasts During Pregnancy

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Swollen breasts during pregnancy are a common occurrence, as there is an increase of blood flow to the breasts, the lobes that make milk develop and colostrum begins forming. Understand the changes that occur in the breasts during pregnancy with helpful information from a certified nurse-midwife in this free video on pregnancy.

Part of the Video Series: Pregnancy Information
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Video Transcript

Well breast changes, we know about breast changes in pregnancy, they do happen. This is Mavis Schorn, nurse midwife and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and I'm going to try to talk to you a little bit more about those, exactly what happens with your breasts. So one is yes, they do grow. They become full and early in the first trimester around the six to eight week time period, they can be really tender. The nipples themselves can be so tender you don't want a bra on, you don't want any clothes and you sure don't want anybody touching them. That will fade as your hormones change in pregnancy, it usually peaks around 8 weeks and then it gets better. Now some other things that you'll see changing with your breasts are the nipples themselves will get darker and they stay that way through the rest of pregnancy and then they'll get back to normal color after pregnancy. The skin becomes, it looks thinner so you can see the blood vessels easier, there's a large increase of blood flow to the breasts during pregnancy so not only is it looking a little bit thinner, but there actually is more blood flow. The hormones estrogen and progesterone increase the amount of duct work and also the lobes that make milk. So whether you plan on breastfeeding or not, your breasts are going to grow in pregnancy. As early as 16 weeks so you're just in just around that third, fourth month, you already being forming colostrum. That's that clear, kind of yellowishy, thin stuff, you might even see a little bit on the inside of your bra if you're not sure if you're making it. If you don't see it, not to worry, you've got it but if you see that on your bra, that's what it is. Now you won't get in to making full blown milk until after your hormone change when the baby and the placenta actually delivers then that triggers making milk. But you will make colostrum as early as then. Your breasts will change primarily in the first trimester and then not so much again until after the baby is born and they get more filled with milk.

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