Breast Changes in Early Pregnancy: What to Expect

Team Peanut
Team Peanut3 months ago7 min read

Breast changes in early pregnancy may be one of the first symptoms you notice. So what do your breasts look like in early pregnancy?

Breast Changes in Early Pregnancy

Like our boobs, early pregnancy symptoms come in all shapes and sizes.

A missed period? Check.

Fatigue that no amount of coffee can touch? Check.

Breast changes in early pregnancy? Um, check.

So what breast changes in early pregnancy can you expect? And what do they feel like?

In this article: 📝

  • What do breasts look like early pregnancy?
  • What do breasts feel like if pregnant?
  • How soon do you notice breast changes in pregnancy?
  • What kind of breast pain indicates pregnancy?
  • How soon do your breasts swell when pregnant?
  • Early breast changes in pregnancy: the bottom line

What do breasts look like early pregnancy?

The truth is, the world of breasts is a diverse one—and there’s no one way for them to look and feel.

That being said, there’s no denying that they go through some big changes during your pregnancy as your body prepares for mamahood.

Throughout your pregnancy, your breasts may get bigger as they get ready to produce milk for your baby.

In this study, for example, breast volume increased by about 3.2oz from the start to the end of pregnancy.

You might also notice some darker veins, bumps around your areola, and darker, harder nipples.

Normal areola vs pregnant

First off, the areola is the area around your nipple ‒ the circular patch that’s roughly the same color as your lips.

Early pregnancy areola can look darker than usual.

Some people notice these areola breast changes during pregnancy happen a bit later on than early pregnancy ‒ some during the second or third trimester.

What do breasts feel like if pregnant?

With your growing breasts in early pregnancy, you can usually expect a little pain or discomfort.

You might notice a feeling similar to tender breasts before your period.

Some of our Peanut moms-to-be also tell us they’ve felt a tingling sensation ‒ sort of like pins and needles ‒ across their breasts as they change in early pregnancy, and throughout their pregnancy journey.

How soon do you notice breast changes in pregnancy?

So how soon can you expect construction to kick into gear on this project?

As it turns out, very early on.

You may notice changes to your breasts as early as week 1 of your pregnancy.

Yep, that means that these changes can be one of the first signs that you’re pregnant.

In these early days, your breasts may feel a little tender, tingly, or achy.

So what’s going on here? What are they trying to tell you?

Basically, they’re transforming themselves into milk-producing machines, and they want to get a head start on the job.

To understand this, let’s head back to your younger days.

Your milk duct system has been with you since puberty.

With each of your periods, thanks to the estrogen your body produces, that system grows and matures.

Progesterone joins the party to help you develop milk glands called lobules.

These processes are part of your body’s monthly preparation for pregnancy.

Yep, that’s why PMS can be accompanied by that tender breast feeling—and sometimes some additional lumps and bumps.

When you become pregnant, your breast tissue increases as the milk-producing system matures and grows rapidly.

Ducts grow (thanks to estrogen) and many more lobules are formed (thanks to progesterone).

Added to this, there will be an increase in blood flow.

By the time you hit month six, your breasts are capable of producing milk.

(And yes, leaks happen.)

So what does this all look and feel like for the owner of the boobs?

Here’s some of what you might expect for breast changes in early pregnancy:

  • With all these changes afoot, your breasts might feel more tender, achy, and tingling.
  • They may also feel swollen as that increase in tissue causes some overcrowding.
  • Blood vessels in your breasts may look more pronounced as blood flow increases to this area.
  • You may have to go bra shopping as your breasts increase in size. But don’t worry if this is not the case. Some breasts don’t grow much at all—and that’s totally fine.

And as for your nipples? That’s a whole other topic in itself.

What do pregnant nipples look like?

You will probably notice that your early pregnancy nipples get bigger and darker.

The same goes for your areolas—that’s the darker-colored skin around your nipples.

They also may look a bit more textured than before, with tiny bumps appearing on your areola.

These bumps are called Montgomery Glands, and their primary job is to produce an oily substance that helps to keep the area clean and lubricated.

So if you think the white spots on nipples are a sign of pregnancy, you might be right!

Other nipple changes in early pregnancy

Another change you might notice?

You might just be feeling a little more turned on than before.

Let’s be real. Those nipples are feeling sensitive.

Unless you have been advised otherwise by your doctor, having sex while you are pregnant is safe.

And can be amazing.

And if you’re not into it, that’s also fine.

Particularly if you’re feeling very uncomfortable and sore, it could be the last thing on your mind.

Do what feels right for you.

You may also have sore nipples in early pregnancy ‒ again, this is totally normal, and can be due to the sensitivity of your nipples.

Itchy nipples can also be a sign of pregnancy, again, due, in part, to being extra-sensitive.

Hard nipples may also be a sign of early pregnancy, so if your nipples are feeling constantly hard with no (ahem) external stimulation, that could be the reason why.

What kind of breast pain indicates pregnancy?

It’s hard to say ‒ every pregnancy journey is different, as every body is different.

But many of our Peanut moms-to-be say the breast pain that they felt during early pregnancy was similar (if not the same) as the tenderness they felt as part of their PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms.

Others say they didn’t feel much breast pain during early pregnancy, instead more of a tingling, fuzzy sensation.

Which part of the breast hurts in early pregnancy?

So what part of the breast hurts in early pregnancy?

For some people, all over.

For others, just the nipples can be painful during early pregnancy.

And for others still, their areola might feel itchy.

After all, we’re all different, and no two boobs are alike!

How soon do your breasts swell when pregnant?

For some pregnant people, their breasts get bigger within days of being pregnant.

For others, it can take up to about week 13, at the end of the first trimester.

As your breasts get bigger, it’s important to make sure you have the right support with a maternity bra, to avoid discomfort and back pain.

Early breast changes in pregnancy: the bottom line

Finally, while it’s normal to experience breast changes in pregnancy, if you experience any symptoms that seem out of the ordinary, check in with your doctor.

Some things to watch out for? Bloody discharge from your nipples.

This could be a sign that your ducts are clogged.

And if you notice any abnormal lumps in your breast, whether you are pregnant or not, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.

In rare cases, lumps can be a sign of pregnancy-associated breast cancer.

Early diagnosis here is key.

There’s no one way for your breasts to look and feel.

Your body is going through some pretty incredible changes right now.

Full permission to do this your way, at your pace, in your body.

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