Yep, just when you thought you’d got to know every pregnancy symptom intimately, this one arrives. Along with the fatigue, nausea, and the oh-so-urgent need to pee, boobs leaking during pregnancy is one of the many phenomena you might experience.
Okay, mama. Hang on tight. We’re going in.
In this article: 📝
- Leaking breasts during pregnancy — the lowdown
- How early do breasts leak in pregnancy?
- When do you start leaking colostrum?
- Does leaking breasts during pregnancy mean a good milk supply?
- Should you ever be concerned about leaking breasts?
Leaking breasts during pregnancy — the lowdown
First things first, leaking breasts during pregnancy is totally normal. It’s your body preparing for the big task ahead.
Consider this the prep for the opening of your new milk bar.
That’s all fine and well — but it might not be so fun when your breasts are leaking in the grocery store.
Or in a board meeting. Or at a dinner party.
Yep, pregnancy is not without its memorable moments.
The good news is, popping an absorbent breast pad in your bra can go a long way when it comes to soaking up the milk.
Also called nursing pads, these miracle workers are pretty easy to get hold of at drug stores.
And if you haven’t experienced the wonder of leaking breasts yet, the next question is: when does milk start leaking during pregnancy?
Let’s dive in.
How early do breasts leak in pregnancy?
As with most things pregnancy, there’s no one way to do this.
Some breasts leak right towards the end.
Some leak a few months before you’re due.
And some never leak at all.
So what’s actually happening here?
The truth is, without you knowing it, your body has been preparing itself for this moment your whole life.
You are born with your milk-duct system in place. When you hit puberty, changes in levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen cause your breast tissue to form into mammary glands.
When you get pregnant, your hormones get to work again to grow your mammary tissue, and by around month five of pregnancy, your body has all the mechanisms in place to feed your baby.
Once you give birth, the hormones directly involved in breastfeeding — prolactin and oxytocin — get to work.
Until then, your body is striking a delicate hormonal balance.
Sometimes, the milk-producing hormone prolactin can get overly enthusiastic about your baby’s arrival and your breasts start leaking ahead of time.
But it’s usually only a leak.
The other pregnancy hormones — estrogen and progesterone — are doing their best to keep that prolactin in check until it’s its time to shine.
When do you start leaking colostrum?
Colostrum is the good stuff.
This is the first milk your body produces to feed your baby.
It sometimes goes by the name of liquid gold because it’s packed with all the nutrition your baby needs to get through those very early days.
It’s yellow in color and stickier than the milk you’ll start producing a few days after your baby is born.
Your body may start producing colostrum as early as the end of the first trimester.
But you might not know about it until much later.
Some mamas-to-be start leaking colostrum as early as five months.
For others, it only happens towards the end of pregnancy.
Another fun fact? You may notice that your breasts leak when you’re aroused.
If your breasts are stimulated during sex, you may notice some extra leakage.
It’s those hormones battling it out to see who can produce what effect.
In this case, oxytocin might be winning.
Does leaking breasts during pregnancy mean a good milk supply?
While leakage is one of the signs milk is coming in during pregnancy, it doesn’t have to happen for you to be able to feed your baby.
If your breasts are not leaking during pregnancy, that’s also fine.
They’ll get to the job when they’re ready.
Other signs your milk may be coming in?
Your breasts may feel full and firm, they might swell, and you might notice the skin tightening around your nipples.
If your breasts feel swollen and sore, and you have some tingling in your nipples, there are ways to find relief.
A cold compress can help relieve the aches.
And talk to your doctor about pain relief.
Tylenol is usually the first choice — but it’s always a good idea to check in first.
Should you ever be concerned about leaking breasts?
Having leaking boobs during pregnancy is typically nothing to worry about — but there are some situations where you should check in with your doctor.
If you notice any blood leaking from your nipples, or if they are leaking excessively, give your healthcare provider a call.
Other than that, simply pat yourself on the back — you’re literally oozing liquid gold. 💛
🍼 More from The 411:
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Cervical Mucus in Early Pregnancy: Key Info
Your Cervix in Early Pregnancy
What to Do About Early Pregnancy Headaches
The First Trimester: What to Expect in the First Weeks of Pregnancy
First Trimester Ultrasound: What to Expect
When Does a Pregnant Woman Start Producing Milk?
Boobs Sore After Period? What to Know
The 411 on Breast Massage