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The Ways Pregnancy Changes the Breasts


Posted August 31, 2021 in Breast Lift

Second only to puberty, pregnancy is the point in a woman’s life when her breasts change the most. The perky, youthful-looking breasts she enjoyed prior to becoming pregnant can become less visually appealing due to the many changes that occur throughout pregnancy. In this blog, board certified plastic surgeon Scott Green explains some of the common changes that affect the breasts during and after pregnancy.

Changes During Pregnancy

In the first trimester, breast tissue is likely to swell and feel more tender to the touch. The nipples may start protruding more than usual as well.

During the second trimester, most women notice their breasts enlarge, and they usually need to wear a larger bra to provide adequate support. The areolas may also enlarge, while also getting darker. Because more blood is flowing to the breasts, the veins in the breasts become more visible. Fortunately, the tenderness of the breasts should subside by this point.

The breasts continue to become more voluminous in the third trimester and may start to feel especially heavy. Stretch marks may also form if the skin is not elastic enough to expand along with the breasts.

Changes While Nursing

The breasts become even larger in the first few months of breastfeeding, primarily due to breast engorgement. Engorgement occurs when the breasts are overfull with milk, which can also be painful. The swelling and firmness associated with breast engorgement may make it more difficult to breastfeed.

After the baby has been weaned, the breasts usually start to get smaller. Women who return to their pre-pregnancy weight often find that their breasts go back to their previous size, but some notice their breasts are either somewhat larger or look more deflated. The shape and position of the breasts usually look significantly different than before pregnancy, with the breast volume resting lower creating a sagging appearance.

Women should be aware that pregnancy — not the act of breastfeeding — is the main reason the breasts change. The fluctuation in estrogen, progesterone and prolactin during pregnancy are the primary factors at play. A woman who chooses to forego nursing in favor of feeding her baby formula from a bottle will not avoid the majority of the changes to her breasts.

What Can Be Done about These Changes?

Most women agree that their breasts do not look the same after pregnancy. Thankfully, there are breast surgeries that can make adjustments to restore their former appearance. Breast lift will elevate the breasts to a more youthful position, counteracting the sag that so many new mothers experience. Breast augmentation can add volume to breasts that look deflated and give them a more appealing shape. These procedures can even be combined for a more complete transformation.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Green

If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts after having a baby, discuss your surgical options with Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Green. His skills have helped many women regain confidence in their bodies after becoming mothers. For an appointment, please call his office at (916) 929-1833.