Pregnancy is the time when your body goes through a number of changes to accommodate and provide for the new baby. Changes in the breasts and the areolas, or the area around the nipples, are a definitive part of pregnancy. However, if proper care is not taken, these changes may cause discomfort and also alter the shape of your breasts significantly after pregnancy.
Breast Changes during Pregnancy
Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy will cause your breasts to feel tighter, fuller and grow bigger, at least by a couple of cups. Since your body is preparing your breasts to feed your baby, the milk and fat glands develop, contributing to the increase in your breast size. The nipples also tend to become tender and sensitive. The areolas, the dark area around the nipples, become slightly darker than before.
Breast Care Tips during Pregnancy –
- During the first-trimester, increase in breast size is very rapid. Take care to wear a rightly sized bra, so that you do not develop stretch marks. Since this will continue to happen till you stop feeding the child, keep changing the bra accordingly.
- Avoid wearing under-wired bras, as they might hamper the functioning of the milk glands. Similarly, wearing a very tight bra, may press down the nipple and block the milk ducts.
- Sometimes the nipple might become too rough and might develop cracks. Lightly massage your nipples with coconut oil to bring down this problem.
Breast care tips after the baby is born-
- After your baby is born, your hormones cause your breasts to start making milk within the first two to five days, and you may experience engorgement. The more often you breastfeed your baby in the early days the sooner your full milk production will occur.
- Sometimes milk letdown happens when you hear a baby cry. Nursing pads can be worn inside your bra to soak up the milk. These should be changed often, to keep your nipples clean and dry.
- Whether or not you choose to nurse, your body will still prepare to breastfeed you new baby. After your baby is born, your hormones will cause your breasts to start making milk. During this time, wear a good support bra. If your breasts leak milk or feel heavy (2-5 days after the baby is born), wrap a snug towel or cloth around your chest. This will help to stop production of breastmilk.
If you had an episiotomy or vaginal tear during delivery, the wound might hurt for a few weeks. To ease discomfort while you’re recovering:
- Sit on a pillow or padded ring.
- Cool the wound with an ice pack, or place a chilled witch hazel pad between a sanitary napkin and the wound.
- Use a squeeze bottle to pour warm water on your perineum as you’re passing urine.
- Sit in a warm bath just deep enough to cover your buttocks and hips for five minutes. Use cold water if you find it more soothing.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Talk to your gynaecologist about using a stool softener or laxative to prevent constipation.
If you had a caesarean section,
- Try to go to the bathroom within 24 hours of the surgery to get accustomed to moving around with the incision.
- Urinating after catheter removal may be painful. Take pain relieving medication if needed.
- Keep the incision site dry for the first 3 days. After that, massage gently with coconut oil.
- Be alert of any increase in pan, redness or swelling at the incision site which may indicate local infection.