Your body changes in a million and ten ways while pregnant. Your skin becomes drier, your hair thicker, your belly bigger, and of course, your boobs. We've spoken to many women who have googled "How big will my boobs get while pregnant?"
For most women, breast swelling and tenderness occurs monthly as a sign of PMS. When women become pregnant, breast swelling and tenderness is another early sign of pregnancy as estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body fluctuate. Estrogen stimulates growth of the breast milk duct cells and generates the secretion of another hormone called prolactin. Prolactin is responsible for breast enlargement and milk production, whereas progesterone supports the formation and growth of milk-producing cells within the glands of the breasts.
After labor, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease and prolactin levels rise, resulting in lactation.
On average, women will go up 2-4 band sizes and cup sizes during their pregnancy. The biggest changes come in the first and second trimester and stabilize around the third trimester...only to increase again when your milk first comes in after the baby is born.
During the first trimester, as extra blood volume is pumping in the pregnant women's body, you may see veins appear more visible than before. The swelling of veins may cause your breasts to become larger and continue to grow in size. Your nipples may become larger and more sensitive in the first trimester. Another very common occurrence is for the areola to darken and even appear larger.
During the second trimester as estrogen levels continue to rise, your breasts may start to feel heavy and full. Frequently the discomfort felt in the first trimester is elevated in the second trimester as the heaviness becomes much more noticeable to women.
"I was worried about having sagging breasts from pregnancy and weight gain, every time I took off my bra for a shower it felt like a weight was pulling my breasts down and it was so uncomfortable"
Time to find a new bra here!
A lot of women at this point will need a new bra size. Both the band and the cup size may have changed by now thus making your pre pregnancy bra uncomfortable
. Consider purchasing one to two bras (morning and day) for this stage of pregnancy because your breasts will continue to change from here and may only be in this stage for a short period of time.
Some of our favorite bras for this time period are the Titov bralette
for night time because of the stretchy material and the Natori Pure Luxe bra
for shape and comfort during the day.
Your breasts will also start to produce colostrum during the first few weeks of the second trimester. Colostrum is the first form of breast milk. Some women notice colostrum starting to leak from their nipples as early as the second trimester while others don't notice anything. Both are completely normal and are not indications of lactation capabilities. You may not be aware that your body is producing colostrum, or you may begin to experience leakage of breast milk at this time. It’s fine to check to see if there is colostrum coming out, but avoid overstimulating the nipple as it could put you into premature labor.
By the third trimester women are used to feeling different than their pre pregnancy selves, and can feel like they have changed so much and don't recognize themselves already. Weeks 27-40 become the most uncomfortable for most women. As female bodies prepare themselves for birth, breasts will become even heavier and denser than the earlier two trimesters. Nipples become more pronounced and larger and may also change shape as the surrounding areolas darken.
Time to find a new bra here!
Bras and Pregnancy:
Every body is different. Some women can continue to wear normal bras throughout their pregnancy and just change (read: increase) their size in both band and cup. Some women begin to feel discomfort from underwires sticking into their rib cage and switch into a more comfortable yet supportive nursing bra around week 30.
Keep in mind that after delivery, your breasts will increase in size again as milk comes in and will fluctuate throughout a single day, even hourly if you are nursing or pumping. Having a comfortable bra during this process is key. Pre pregnancy bras that are structured and supportive will be less flexible and comfortable as they won't adjust as easily as a maternity bra that is specific to nursing/pumping.
Bratadah is here to help you find your nursing and maternity bra across all of the manufactures on our site!
When purchasing bras during pregnancy, it's important to feel like yourself and have access to nursing.
It is important to:
- choose soft, natural fabrics, such as cotton
- look for bras that feature a snug, supportive band under the bust line and wide shoulder straps
An important consideration when buying a maternity bra is the ability to insert nursing pads that help with leaking breasts and still provides coverage so you don't run into overfilling of the breast issues with your bra
Will My Breasts Ever Be the Same?
Short answer: maybe. We surveyed a thousand new moms on Facebook and the results were split.
"My breasts increased in size after ever pregnancy even though my weight returned to the same pre pregnancy weight each time"
Breast shapes and size may change after pregnancy and it is possible that you won't return to your pre pregnancy size or shape
. Factors that determine this include genetics, weight fluctuations during pregnancy, how quickly you lose weight after pregnancy, and the length of time you breastfeed or pump.
If your bust line is changing due to pregnancy, try our new fit calculator to discover your new size.
Comment below and let us know what your favorite features are in maternity/nursing bras.