What Happens To Your Breasts During Lactation
During the first three months or so of breastfeeding, your breasts will probably still feel quite full before a feed. As your baby grows, you may notice they dont feel as full any more, but this doesnt mean youre making less milk. If youre breastfeeding exclusively and on demand, and your baby is growing well, you should still be making plenty.
After six months of breastfeeding, expect your breasts to start becoming smaller, explains Dr Kent. This is not an indication that youre producing less milk, but it may be that youre losing some of the fatty tissue in the breast. By the time your baby is 15 months old, you can expect your breasts to be the same volume they were before conception, but not smaller. This is true whether youre still breastfeeding or not you may still be producing 100 to 300 ml of milk per day.
This seems to be because your breasts work more efficiently after six months, which Dr Kents study found may be due to a redistribution of breast tissue.5
What Are Some Less Common Signs Of Early Pregnancy
There are some additional signs of early pregnancy that arent as common. Just like with the most common symptoms, these signs of pregnancy may or may not happen. Its important to remember that everyone is different and will experience unique symptoms.
Less common signs of early pregnancy can include:
When Does Morning Sickness Start
“Morning sickness” is nausea and vomiting that typically come in the morning in early pregnancy. This usually happens between weeks two and eight of pregnancy. It’s somewhat a misnomer because the nausea and vomiting can actually happen at any time. It’s thought that changes in levels of estrogen may play a role in developing nausea.
Another early pregnancy sign may be food cravings or aversions. Women may have an unusual urge to eat a particular food, even one she previously did not like, or she may be completely repulsed by a food she used to love. This is common, and usually the food aversions fade at the end of the first trimester.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
- If you’ve given birth within the last week and your breasts are swollen or hard
- If you’ve noticed a new lump associated with the pain that does not go away after your menstrual period
- Have persistent, unexplained breast pain
- Discharge from your nipples, especially blood or pus
- Any signs of a breast infection, including localized redness, pus, or fever
What Part Of The Breasts Hurt In Early Pregnancy
Normal breast pain in pregnancy is commonly described as an all-over aching, swelling, tenderness or change in sensation in the breast or nipple.
You might have experienced breast pain before or during your period. Breast pain in pregnancy can be a similar feeling.
Some women report a more intense version of their usual premenstrual or menstrual pain.
Although a level of discomfort is a part of pregnancy, there are some other breast changes that arent caused by pregnancy and require medical attention.
You should seek a professional opinion from your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following breast changes during early pregnancy:
- A lump in your breast or underarm
- Nipple discharge
- Itchy, scaly, red, dimpled or puckered skin.
Don’t Miss: When Do You Get Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Are Home Pregnancy Tests The Best Way To Check For An Early Pregnancy
Home pregnancy tests are generally very reliable. These tests involve urinating on a small test strip and then waiting for a symbol to appear in the result window. This window will usually show a test image . This symbol appears first and means that the test is working. Always check the packaging and instructions of your test to make sure it is working correctly. Within a few minutes, the test will show either a positive result or a negative result. Some digital tests will display a word or phrase .
Blood tests for a possible pregnancy are done in your healthcare providers office. This version of the test looks for hCG in your blood. You still need to wait for hCG to build up in your body before taking this type of pregnancy test. Your healthcare provider may recommend this option in some cases. Call your provider if you suspect youre pregnant and discuss the best type of test.
When To Call Your Doctor
- If you have given birth recently and your breasts are swollen or hard, postpartum breast tenderness could mean that there is an infection, and only an examination can find out what is going on.
- If you notice a new lump associated with the pain that does not go away after your menstrual period
- If you experience persistent, unexplained breast pain
- If you see discharge from your nipples, especially blood or pus
- If you have signs of a breast infection, including localized redness, pus, or fever
Recommended Reading: What Kind Of Headache Medicine Can I Take When Pregnant
Heightened Sense Of Smell
If your favorite dish suddenly smells like dead fish, you may be experiencing one of the more bizarre early signs of pregnancy. Often associated with morning sickness and all the lovely things that come with it, having a super sniffer isnt exactly a blessing. Most of the time, the strong smells will seem nauseating to the mom-to-be.
Your Sports Bra Might Be To Blame
Nipples are also quite sensitive things, so soreness may be because of irritation or the lovely condition known as “jogger’s nipple.” Friction against the nipple while you’re exercising can cause it to get sore, red and itchy, or have its skin flake off. Recommended fixes include better sports bras, non-chafing balms like Vaseline, and covers applied to the nipple area before you exercise.
It may, however, also be a sign of what’s called “contact dermatitis,” or extremely sensitive skin inflamed by some particular substance. If you’ve got hurting, itchy nipples, think back: did you recently change your shampoo, body lotion, soap, bath oils, laundry detergent, or anything else that could come into contact with your nipples? If so, stop it and see if the situation resolves itself.
Don’t Miss: What Could Stop You From Getting Pregnant
Breast Pain After Your Period
If you have breast pain after your period, then it may not be related to your period. Instead, it may be noncyclic pain caused by something else. It may affect one or both breasts. Some possible explanations for breast pain after your period include pregnancy, trauma to the breast, a poorly fitting bra, mastitis, and fibrocystic breast changes. Costochondritis and back, shoulder, or neck sprains may also feel like breast pain. Taking certain medication such as antidepressants and oral contraceptives can also cause breast pain after your period. Having surgery on your breast and the resulting formation of scar tissue can also result in breast pain.
Most breast cancers dont cause pain. But if you experience breast pain after your period that doesnt get better, you should consult your health care provider immediately, particularly if you have any of the following signs and symptoms.
- A lump in your breast
- Any clear or bloody discharge from your nipple
- Symptoms of a breast infection including pus, fever, redness, or tenderness
- Pain or lump in your breast without any cause or that doesnt get better
You Might Be Pregnant
Soreness in the nipple area is one of the clearest folk medicine signs that you’re pregnant. But, crucially, it won’t just be the nipples that get sore: it will be the whole tissue of both breasts. The tissue in this part of your body is very sensitive to hormonal shifts, and pregnancy is one of the biggest upheavals your body’s hormonal system will ever have. Breasts become heavier because pregnancy hormones increase your blood volume. That said, you may just be menstruating or about to get your period. So, no, these changes do not guarantee that you’re pregnant. Pee on a stick for certainty in that area.
Don’t Miss: Is It Normal To Bleed During Pregnancy
Breast Pain Before Your Period
Breast pain before your period may come with tenderness and swelling. This is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome . In less common cases, extreme breast pain before your period along with tenderness and swelling may also indicate fibrocystic breast disease.
Most cases of sharp breast pain before your period are caused by fluctuating levels of hormones. The levels of hormones estrogen and progesterone change during your normal menstrual cycle. These hormones prepare your reproductive system and breasts for a potential pregnancy. Estrogen causes the breast ducts to enlarge. Progesterone causes the milk glands to swell. Your breasts may feel sore because of these changes.
Estrogen levels peak during the middle of your cycle, and progesterone levels rise during the week before your period.
The main signs and symptoms of breast pain before your period are heaviness and tenderness in both breasts. Some people experience dull aching in their breasts. The breast tissue may feel coarse or dense to the touch. Symptoms may appear a week before your period and disappear gradually after. Most people dont experience severe breast pain before their period.
Breast pain before your period may improve as you approach menopause because of the natural changes in hormone levels that occur as you age.
In some cases doctors suggest treating breast pain with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medicines may also help relieve menstrual cramps.
Unexpected Reasons Your Breasts Or Nipples Might Be Sore
What does it mean when your breasts are still sore after your period ends, and why do my nipples hurt so bad?
Its common for women to have sore breasts or nipples some time or another, and they may also experience tenderness, throbbing, and pain.
Doctors rarely provide a cancer diagnosis when a patient has pain in their breasts, and there are various reasons why women experience breast or sore sensitivity.
For instance, this can depend on their medications, their menstrual cycle, or the type of bra they are wearing, among others.
Lets go through the reasons why your breasts or nipples might be sore. Well also be discussing some of the frequently asked questions, such as what happens when you have sore nipples but youre not pregnant? or what does it mean when your nipples hurt when youre not on your period?
Recommended Reading: When Does Breast Milk Come In During Pregnancy
Reason #: Youre Wearing An Ill
Choosing the wrong bra size is one of the most common problems that is associated with breast and nipple soreness in women.
Bras provide support for heavy, fatty tissue in your breasts therefore, if youre not wearing the correct size or youre wearing old bras that are stretched out, they may not provide enough support to your breasts.
As a result, wearing an ill-fitting bra can lead to back pain, neck discomfort, and shoulder pain.
You should also avoid wearing tight bras or those that come with a small-sized cup, as these can cause a lot of pressure to your breasts, increasing sensitivity.
If you think youre wearing the wrong bra size and have difficulty measuring yourself, we recommend visiting a department or lingerie shop, as these offer accurate measurements.
What About Breast Cancer
Continuing with self-breast exams during pregnancy is important. Unfortunately, during pregnancy, it is more difficult to accomplish because of all the changes your breasts are going through. Your breasts are growing in size, are tender, and sometimes may even be lumpy. It is still important for you to examine your breasts during pregnancy every 4-5 weeks.
Very common lumps found among women during pregnancy are clogged milk ducts. These are red, tender-to-the-touch, hard lumps in your breasts. Warm compresses and massages will probably clear the duct in a few days. If you are unsure of any new lump, tell your doctor on your next visit.
Keep in mind breast cancer is rare among women younger than 35. If you are planning on having a baby and are over the age of 35, you may want to consider asking your doctor about a mammogram before you get pregnant.
Want to Know More?
Don’t Miss: What Should Eat When You Are Pregnant
Nipples 6 Common Nipple Changes During Pregnancy
When you become pregnant there are many things about your body which will change and theres little option but to make peace with this fact.
Some of the most obvious changes happen to the breasts, specifically the nipples.
Many women are surprised and shocked by these changes but most of them are very normal and are simply due to your body preparing to feed your baby.
Its important to be aware of what to expect so that you can be reassured that the changes are normal, and also so you can look for things that maybe arent normal.
To give you an idea of some common things to look out for, here are six things you need to know about your breast changes during pregnancy, specifically the nipples.
Reason #: You Have A Cyst
You may have breast cysts, which are round and oval lumps, and these can develop in one or both breasts.
They can cause pain and tenderness and can increase in size and become more painful before the period starts.
A doctor can determine if the cyst is what is causing your symptoms or if it is something serious.
Some women dont require treatment as they dont experience any symptoms. However, if you do have symptoms, these can be helpful to ease the pain:
- Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- Applying a cold or hot compress
- Consuming fewer foods that contain salt as they can retain water which can lead to swelling
Early Signs Of Pregnancy
Can’t wait to find out if you’re pregnant? These first symptoms of pregnancy may clue you in on the big news even sooner than you’d think.
When youre TTC , each passing month brings the same batch of questions: Did we hit the baby jackpot? Are those cramps, that bloating, that breast tenderness early signs of pregnancy or just signs that its time for your monthly tampon run? The best way to confirm that you have a baby on board is to take a pregnancy test . But while youre waiting, check out these early pregnancy symptoms. None is pregnancy proof positive, but they can offer intriguing clues.
First Signs of Pregnancy
Even early on, your body doesnt stay mum on whether youre about to become a mom. These conception clues may let you in on the happy secret before the home pregnancy test gives you the readout of your dreams. Keep in mind that most early pregnancy symptoms can be pretty similar to those monthly PMS symptoms , which means youll definitely need that HPT for confirmation:
Discharge Can Be A Sign Of Bigger Problems
Many adult women will, when they squeeze their nipples, see some kind of discharge. It’s normal these are milk-making machines, and even if you’re not pregnant, you’ll likely have a bit of fluid in there anyway. But discharge that’s unprompted can actually be a pretty good way of signaling other problems in the body.
“Nipple discharge is common in women. We often see during mammogram when womenâs breasts are compressed,” says Dr. Elliott. “But discharge should not come out spontaneously without squeezing. This can mean there is a problem. Breast cancer can present as spontaneous nipple discharge, but it’s uncommon.”
There are seven different types of discharge that the breast can create, and the causes depend heavily on which one’s happening to you. They are: milky, sticky, pus, watery, yellow, pinkish, or bloody.
The milky discharge of anybody who’s not pregnant can be a sign that you’ve developed hyperthyroidism, a condition of the thyroid where it over-produces thyroid hormones. There are a lot of other symptoms for that, though, so milk on its own isn’t a clear sign. In a tiny proportion of people, it may also mean a tiny pituitary gland tumor, inside the gland in the brain that controls human growth and development. But in most people, this is benign, and a visit to the doctor will clear it up.
This article was originally published on November 2, 2015
You May Like: When To Call Doctor When First Pregnant
Introduction To Pregnancy Symptoms
A missed menstrual period is often the first recognizable sign of a possible pregnancy, but there are other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy as well. Some subtle signs appear in the first week, and more may be apparent in the weeks before your first missed period.
Keep in mind that not all women have all symptoms or experience them in the same way. Some of the most common first trimester pregnancy symptoms are discussed in the following slides.
What Happens To Your Breasts After Birth
Around two to four days after your baby is born , youll feel your breasts becoming much fuller and firmer as your milk comes in.4
This fullness isnt only caused by the extra milk youre starting to produce the amount of blood circulating around your breasts has also increased and there can be more lymphatic fluid in them too, explains Dr Prime. This is all happening in response to the decreasing levels of pregnancy hormones in your body , which allows your milk-production hormones to get to work.
Your breasts might become uncomfortable or even painful over this period, a condition called engorgement. This is very common and usually wears off after a few days, during which time you should continue to breastfeed. Take a look at our tips on dealing with the discomfort and swelling, and if the problem persists speak to a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist.
Also Check: How Do You Know Pregnant