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Breast Changes and Leaks During Pregnancy: What to Expect and How to Manage


The journey of pregnancy is a profound tapestry of physical transformations, and among the most noticeable changes are those related to the breasts. Designed to nurture the next generation, these changes prepare the body for breastfeeding. As an obstetrician, I often find that while mothers-to-be anticipate breast changes, the nuances of what to expect and how to manage them can sometimes catch them off guard. Let’s delve into the intricate journey of breast evolution during pregnancy.

Breast Changes: What to Expect

  • Tenderness and Sensitivity: Often one of the first signs of pregnancy, many women notice increased sensitivity, soreness, or a tingling sensation in their breasts.
  • Growth and Enlargement: Hormonal fluctuations stimulate the growth of the milk ducts, leading to fuller and larger breasts.
  • Darkening Areolas: The areolas (the skin around the nipples) may darken in color. This change is believed to help newborns locate the nipple for breastfeeding.
  • Visible Veins: As blood flow increases to support the growing breast tissue, you may notice more pronounced veins.
  • Colostrum Leaks: Colostrum, the first milk, may start to leak from your breasts during the second trimester. This nutrient-rich fluid provides the baby with its initial post-birth nourishment before regular milk production begins.

Managing and Embracing These Changes

  • Invest in Supportive Bras: As your breasts grow, a well-fitted, supportive bra becomes indispensable. Consider maternity bras, which are designed for the evolving shape of pregnant breasts.
  • Use Breast Pads: If you’re experiencing leaks, breast pads can be placed inside your bra to absorb the colostrum and prevent wet spots on your clothing.
  • Maintain Hygiene: If your nipples begin to leak, keeping them clean helps prevent infections. Gently wash with water and avoid using strong soaps or scented lotions.
  • Nipple Care: If your nipples become sore or chapped, applying pure lanolin can help soothe and heal them.
  • Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: Good hydration and a balanced diet not only support overall pregnancy health but also promote healthy breast tissue development.
  • Educate Yourself: Consider joining a breastfeeding class. This can help you understand the changes in your breasts better and prepare you for post-birth nursing.
  • Embrace the Changes: Every transformation your body undergoes during pregnancy is with purpose. Your breasts are preparing to nurture your baby in the most primal and beautiful manner.

When to Consult Your Obstetrician

While most breast changes during pregnancy are routine, always keep an open line of communication with your obstetrician. Seek advice if:

  • You notice any unusual lumps.
  • There’s intense pain not related to general growth.
  • You observe signs of infection, like persistent redness, warmth, or discharge.

The metamorphosis of the breasts during pregnancy is one of nature’s many marvels, signaling your body’s readiness to welcome and nourish new life. Understand these changes, manage any discomfort, and above all, cherish the journey.

As you navigate the incredible journey of pregnancy, know that every change, every moment is a step towards the beautiful world of motherhood. If you have further questions or need guidance, please reach out. Together, we will embrace every facet of this extraordinary experience.


You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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Greenslopes Obstetrics & Gynaecology is closely aligned with the Greenslopes Private Hospital which opened Brisbane’s newest maternity facility in February 2013.

To speak directly with a team member please call 07 3188 5000