Educational Resources

How the body changes

During pregnancy, the skin on the breast will become more elastic and the nipple and areola (dark area around the nipple) will become darker in color. There are lubricating glands (Montgomery glands) on the areola that clean the area, fight germs and keep it soft and pliable. Because the nipple cleans and lubricates itself, there is no need to use soap or other drying agents, such as alcohol or witch hazel, on the breast. Lubricants which cover the nipple pores will impair the function of the natural glands and interfere with skin respiration. In the past, expressing colostrum or regular nipple preparation was frequently encouraged. There is no evidence that such preparation in helpful and is no longer recommended.

During the early months of pregnancy, there should be an increase in breast size. Swelling and tenderness are two indications that the breast is changing appropriately. The amount of breast change will vary between women. Those who have small breasts before pregnancy may notice more change than those with large breasts. If there is very little or no breast change, it is important to discuss it with a health care provider knowledgeable about breastfeeding.

The breast may become lumpy during pregnancy as glandular tissue grows. Each woman can examine her breasts and become familiar with the changes which occur. She will then be aware of any differences which could indicate a deviation from normal. Any questions should be directed to her doctor or health care provider.

Wearing a well-fitting bra is important. It should fit without binding or causing pressure on breast tissue.


This educational material is provided courtesy of Ameda Egnell.  Permission to use and/or reproduce this copyrighted material has been granted by the distributor, Hollister Incorporated.