Medically reviewed by Dr Kristy June Dinampo.
When you become pregnant there are many things about your body which will change and there’s 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.
It’s 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 aren’t 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.
1. Sore Nipples (and Sore Breasts)
One of the first signs of pregnancy for many women is sore breasts with very tender nipples.
This is due to the boost of hormones during early pregnancy, when you go from 0 to 100 on the hormone scale.
Blood flow is also boosted which can add to soreness and they can be extremely sensitive. For some women the whole breast is affected and for others the sensitivity is more so around the nipples.
This soreness often starts around four weeks after conception and can last right to the end of the first trimester itself or even later.
You might find that you can’t bear for your nipples to be touched, even by your clothing.
Some women whose nipples get this sensitive find the extra padding of some soft bamboo breast pads very helpful.
2. Bigger Breasts And Prominent Nipples
From around six weeks onwards you may notice that your breasts become larger and they continue to grow considerably bigger until your pregnancy is over.
It’s not unusual to notice that you need several cup sizes bigger than usual.
This is also down to those hormones preparing you for nursing your baby after delivery.
As the skin stretches due to growth, you’ll notice itching, and you might even start to notice stretch marks after a short while.
Your nipples will also be more prominent due to this breast enlargement – don’t worry, it’s totally normal.
3. Tingling Nipples
One of the stranger symptoms of pregnancy is a tingling sensation in the nipples.
Again, this is due to the extra blood flow and huge dose of hormones coming your way. It is totally normal, although possibly slightly annoying.
There isn’t an awful lot you can do about tingly nipples, but after the first trimester when your breasts have gone through the most changes, this symptom reduces for most women.
If it doesn’t go away or is accompanied by other symptoms such as discharge or itchiness talk to your doctor about it.
4. Prominent Veins and Changes in Color
It won’t just be the feel of your nipples and breasts which will be different, but they will also look different too.
Many women will also notice more prominent veins than before. These can be dark green or purple and run rigth through the nipple area.
You may also see a change in color to the areola and the skin around them. It’s common for them to go darker.
This tends to happen after the first few months.
Again, this is your body making changes in anticipation of nursing and it’s also about the increased blood flow which is whizzing around the area in order to make those changes happen.
5. Bumpy Areolae
Aside from the skin immediately around the nipples becoming darker, you may also notice tiny, pin-prick bumps on the areolae too.
These may be tiny and hardly noticeable, but if you run your finger over the skin you will feel the slightly raised sections. In some women these bumps can become very pronounced.
It’s likely that you already have bumps across your areolae but they will be more prominent during pregnancy.
What are these bumps?
They’re small glands called Montgomery Tubercles which produce oil.
During pregnancy, these glands produce more of the oil which results in the increased size.
6. Possible Leakage
Yes, it’s very possible although it doesn’t happen to everyone.
Many women notice their nipples leaking milk, colostrum or a clear fluid after the third month of pregnancy.
Again, this is normal and nothing to worry about.
Some women never leak at all, whereas others experience it throughout pregnancy.
Is it Normal?
These are six possibilities you need to be aware of your about nipples during pregnancy.
Remember, if you don’t develop these symptoms it isn’t a sign that something is wrong.
Every woman is unique and so are the pregnancy symptoms she experiences .
You will have your own set of symptoms which are individual to you.
If you do notice any breast or nipple changes and they become troublesome then remember you can always have a chat with your midwife or doctor.
In the meantime a good quality, supportive bra and some soft breast pads will solve many of your problems.