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Pregnant woman cradle baby bump wearing comfy pregnancy underwear }

Breast Changes During Pregnancy: What to Expect When You're Expecting

Posted on May 31, 2019
Female Health, Healthy Living

Whether you’ve just found out you’re expecting or you’re so far down the track that you can’t even remember what your toes look like, pregnancy is one of the most unique and transformative journeys you will ever go through.

Throughout pregnancy, your body will change in a number of ways. One of the most notable differences you’re likely to experience are changes to your breasts. Providing them with the right care and support during each trimester can help you feel more comfortable and confident in your body during this transformative time. Below, we discuss the most common pregnancy breast changes, and how to keep your breasts supported at every stage. However, it’s important to remember that every mother is different, and your journey will be unique. Listen to your body, and see a medical professional if you experience ongoing pain or discomfort.


Breast changes during early pregnancy (Weeks 1-12)

In the first few months of pregnancy, your breasts begin the changes they need in order to produce milk and eventually, feed your baby. They will start to increase in size, and will continue to grow throughout your pregnancy. Breast size fluctuation and fluid retention is common in pregnancy, and can lead to stretch marks - but these will fade and become less notable over time. During the first trimester, your breasts may feel sore and tender as your hormones surge and your milk ducts grow. The veins on your breasts may deepen and darken as more blood is supplied to support the changes in breast tissue. These changes can lead to itchiness, tenderness and hypersensitivity. Don’t worry - for most women, these issues lessen as pregnancy continues and your body adapts. The right fitting wirefree bras will help during this time, warm or cold compresses may also help.

First trimester bra tips

As your breasts change during pregnancy and your bra size fluctuates, the bras you’ve been used to wearing everyday just won’t cut it. Instead, look for comfortable pregnancy bras like those in our range, with soft styles that adapt to your shape. Schedule in some ‘me-time’ and head to your nearest Triumph store, David Jones or Myer for a professional fitting. Make sure the bras you choose are fitted on the tightest hook and eye fastenings to allow for growth across the back and diaphragm. To help alleviate pain and sensitivity, do away with molded, under wired styles and opt instead for wirefree bras with comfort and support. Pregnancy bras such as our Fit Smart Bra Top can be ideal as they maintain a firmly fitting style while also using soft jersey to adapt to your bust.


Breast changes in the second trimester (Weeks 13 - 28)

Many women find the second trimester of pregnancy the easiest of the three. Even if you’re feeling a little more like ‘you’, under the surface the changes are still in full swing! As your breasts prepare for motherhood, your nipples and areolae may darken. Little bumps or pimples in the area might also become more prominent, but these are nothing to worry about – they’re there to protect your breasts and help to fend off soreness and infection if you decide to breastfeed. Your breasts may also start leaking a yellowish, thick substance known as colostrum. This substance will eventually provide your baby with essential antibodies to fight off infection in their first few months. Nursing pads in your bra can help deal with leaks. If you do choose to exercise during this time, it’s best to check with a health professional first and make sure your breasts are properly supported to avoid strain or damage. As milk starts building up in your breasts in this trimester, you may find yourself developing red, tender-to-the-touch, or hard lumps in your breasts. These are caused by clogged milk ducts. Warm compresses and massages can usually clear these in a few days, but if you’re experiencing continued pain tell your doctor on your next visit.

Second trimester bra tips

Buy bras slowly but regularly during this trimester, and make sure you check your fitting each time as your breasts change. If you’re continuing to exercise through your second trimester, a good maternity sports bra will help you avoid pain and ligament damage. Our Triaction Seamfree Crop Top is made with circular knit technology that can support your changing breasts, while moisture management fabric wicks sweat away from the body. For an everyday option try our Body Make-up Soft Touch Wirefree Bra, designed with a smooth silhouette that’s perfect under t-shirts or work clothes. The 3D breeze foam means the cups are extra-soft against your skin.


Breast changes in the third trimester (Weeks 29 - 40)

By now, your breasts are likely to be larger than before pregnancy – some women will go up one cup size whilst others might jump three or four. Bear in mind that your frame size will reduce after birth, but that the breasts themselves will increase as the milk comes in, so it’s important to make time for regular professional fittings throughout your pregnancy. Pregnancy breast changes that have started in earlier trimesters may continue. For some women, breasts may start feeling heavy and sore again as the amount of milk increases.

 Third trimester bra tips:

If your breasts are noticeably bigger during pregnancy and you feel you need some light support, you might find it comfortable to start wearing a bra in bed. The sloggi Zero Feel Bra Top is a seam-free, super comfortable wire-free top, that is light and ideal to sleep in. Towards the end of the third trimester, it’s time to invest in some maternity bras with dropdown cups that unclip, making breastfeeding your baby much more convenient. Bras such as our Gorgeous Maternity Bra are supportive and comfortable, with six hook and eye adjustments to accommodate changes in your breast size during and after pregnancy.


Breast changes after birth and beyond

When you first start breastfeeding after delivery, you may find your breasts temporarily grow again, another cup size or two. You’ll feel your breasts becoming fuller and firmer during this time. They may also become uncomfortable or even painful over this period, a condition called engorgement. Usually this wears off after a few days as you continue to breastfeed, but if it persists talk to your doctor. For the first three months, your breasts will likely still feel quite full and firm, but as your baby grows your breast size is likely to start decreasing. This doesn’t mean you're making less milk, but instead your body is producing milk more efficiently. When you do eventually stop breastfeeding your baby, your breasts will become smaller and eventually return to a size similar to that before your pregnancy. A condition to watch out for during this time is mastitis, which results from a blocked duct or bacteria entering your breasts. This can cause breast pain, swelling, warmth and redness and even fever or chills. To help prevent this, make sure your baby latches on properly when feeding and has time to empty your breasts.

Breastfeeding bra tips

While you’re breastfeeding, a maternity or nursing bra is a must for comfort and convenience. As your breast size starts reducing, you’ll need to make sure new bras you buy are a great fit for their current size. Continue to avoid tight, wired bra styles until you’re no longer breastfeeding. Motherhood is an amazing and fulfilling journey, but pregnancy breast changes can still feel like a constant rollercoaster as your body prepares for its new role. Getting the right bras for each stage of your pregnancy and then into breastfeeding will help you feel more comfortable and confident during the process. If you need help finding the right bra for you, book an online bra fitting with one of our experts.