Your guide to the best breast care
During pregnancy, your belly isn't the only body part expanding at an alarming rate.
As your breasts prepare to make milk, you may notice some significant changes. The most common complaint is tingly and itchy skin beginning at around six to eight weeks into your pregnancy. "This is perfectly normal," says Dotti James, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of the Perinatal Master's Specialty in Nursing at Saint Louis University in Missouri. "To help treat uncomfortable skin, drink plenty of water and forgo soap, which is too drying." A rich moisturizer can offer relief.
Larger, darker areolas, caused by increased hormone levels, are common too. After nursing, areolas almost always return to their previous size and color.
You may also notice veins spreading across your breasts, thanks to an increased blood supply during pregnancy. These conspicuous veins are normal as well as temporary, says Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books (Wiley). They'll eventually fade on their own.
Like most pregnant women, you're probably experiencing sore breasts. To combat achiness, wear a supportive bra that's seamless to prevent nipple irritation. Avoid styles with underwires during pregnancy and especially while nursing since they can contribute to clogged milk ducts. If you're already making milk, tuck a pair of absorbent pads like Medela Disposable Bra Pads, $10 for 60, into your bra to soak up seepage, and change damp pads frequently to minimize infection risk.