Why Do Nipples Get Darker During Pregnancy?

Why Do Nipples Get Darker During Pregnancy
Visual Changes in the Breasts – As a pregnancy progresses, the nipples and skin that surrounds them (areola) become darker in color as a result of hormones that affect skin pigmentation. Veins in the breast may also become more prominent as the blood supply to the breast is increased.

This is due to the fact that a woman’s overall blood volume is increased to aid the baby’s development. Changes to the nipple and areola include the development of glands on the areola called Montgomery tubercles. These glands are sebaceous glands that become raised, bumpy and more obvious to the eye.

Their function is lubricate during breastfeeding, thus protecting the nipples from irritation, and also to keep germs away from milk before being ingested by the baby. In some cases, these glands can become infected. Medical attention should be sought if redness, swelling or pain is experienced around the nipple.
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Do all women’s nipples get darker with pregnancy?

Updated January 5, 2021. With all the bliss that comes with becoming a new mom, come some pitfalls. You’re ready for the weight gain, stretch marks, nausea, and soreness that come with carrying your future bundle of joy to go away. And still, there’s a lesser known — and less talked about — side effect of pregnancy you might not anticipate: nipple changes.

Fear not. We’re here to help you navigate this curious aspect of pregnancy — what to expect, why it’s happening, and how to deal. For most women, the breasts as a whole will grow larger (increasing in weight by 1-1.5 pounds over the course of your pregnancy), while the nipples will experience changes in size, shape, and sensitivity.

Typically, they will get progressively larger and darker and women often notice little bumps on the surface of their nipple area. You should expect your nipples to get progressively darker throughout your pregnancy and be the darkest when your baby is born.

  1. Your nipples will also begin to produce and may leak colostrum, a precursor to milk, towards the end of your pregnancy.
  2. Hormonal changes, increased breast tissue production, and fat storage play a part in both breast and nipple changes.
  3. Much of this occurs as your body prepares to provide nourishment (milk) to your baby.

To accomplish this, milk ducts multiply, milk sacs (alveoli) grow, and blood supply increases in your breasts throughout pregnancy. And oh, remember those little bumps we mentioned above? Those are enlarging glands, known as Montgomery glands, These glands provide a soothing and antibacterial lubricant to protect the nipples.

They also give off a scent that helps the newborn baby find the nipple at birth and initiate breastfeeding. Usually, most of the discomfort is tenderness from the swollen breast tissue and tends to occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. Wearing a well-fitted bra (without an underwire) can help to support your growing breasts.

A soft, sports cotton bra can provide some comfort at night, as well as prevent rubbing of sensitive nipples, in general. If your nipples feel dry and sensitive, there are over-the-counter nipple creams that lubricate and help your nipples heal.
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Do your nipples go back to normal color after pregnancy?

Color Changes – The hormones in your system may change the way your breasts look while you’re pregnant. Many women find that the areola – the area around the nipple – gets darker during pregnancy. This is normal. The color may or may not lighten after you give birth.
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How long do your nipples stay dark during pregnancy?

Treatment for Darkened Areolas and Dark Nipples – There isn’t too much you can do to prevent your skin from darkening while you’re pregnant or nursing. The change of color is not a life-or-death situation; it’s just a natural part of being pregnant and giving birth.

  • Darker areolas during pregnancy will in most cases return to their original color after childbirth, although they will most likely stay dark as long as you are breast-feeding.
  • For some women, the darkened skin is permanent.
  • Some medicated creams can be unsafe to use during pregnancy, so it’s important that you consult your healthcare provider before applying any type of cream or ointment to your breasts, darkened areolas or other parts of your body to treat skin problems or changes.

Should I Get the Flu Shot While Pregnant? Tips for First-time Moms on Pre-pregnancy, Pregnancy & Postpartum ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Hechtman started her medical career at Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth Dominica. After medical school she started an anesthesiology residency in Chicago at RUSH University, where she met the love of her life, Dr.

  1. Jason Hechtman.
  2. After completing two years of Anesthesiology, Jill decided that she desired to be an OB/GYN, and transferred to Wayne State University for her four year residency in OB/GYN.
  3. After completion, both Jason and Jill moved to Tampa.
  4. Since moving to Tampa, Jill is a physician with AdventHealth, and she was previously the Medical Director of Tampa Obstetrics and is currently also serving as the Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St.

Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa. She is the past Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brandon Regional Hospital and served on the hospital’s Board of Trustees for 2 years. She is a frequent face in local media as “Dr. Jill” and is also answers reader questions as our Dr.
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At what stage of pregnancy do nipples darken?

Darker areolas – The areolas are the colored circles around the nipples. Over the course of the second and third trimesters, the areolas often become larger and darker. Darkening areolas are likely to result from hormonal changes. Often, the areola returns to its prepregnancy color after breastfeeding, but it sometimes remains a shade or two darker than it was originally.
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When do you start producing milk?

When Does Breast Milk Come in During Pregnancy? – If you’re pregnant, you may be making early breast milk and not even know it! Milk production generally begins around the midpoint of pregnancy, somewhere between weeks 16 and 22. At this stage your body is producing what’s known as colostrum —a yellowish milk that’s rich in calories and disease-fighting antibodies—which will serve as baby’s first food after birth.
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Do nipples stay big after pregnancy?

Breasts after pregnancy – Your breasts after pregnancy receive signals from the hormone prolactin; immediately after birth, estrogen and progesterone levels fall. Prolactin causes the breasts to begin making milk. Your baby’s sucking or crying may also stimulate milk production.

It typically takes a couple of days or more for the body to produce milk, In the meantime, your baby breastfeeds and receives colostrum, the milk precursor we mentioned earlier. The breasts become larger between three and five days after giving birth. This happens due to lymphatic fluid that builds up in the vessels of the breast.

By this time, milk is being actively produced and filling the ducts. For many new parents, feeling comfortable with breastfeeding takes time. If choosing a comfortable position for you and your baby is posing a problem, discuss it with your health care provider.

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Common issues may also affect the breasts after pregnancy. If your newborn does not attach to the whole areola, your nipple may become sore or cracked. This can occur when using a breast pump. If you develop any discomfort, seek advice from your health care provider. Breast engorgement is a common postpartum condition and happens when the breasts overfill with milk.

Your body is adjusting to the demands of producing milk, and any pain or tenderness can be alleviated by breastfeeding or using a breast pump. Blocked milk ducts due to compression or a sudden decrease in feedings may cause further issues. These small but painful lumps can be prevented by massage, switching positions when feeding, and avoiding wearing tight-fitted clothing.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for up to six months of your newborn’s life and can be continued if you both wish. When and how to stop breastfeeding will vary based on each person’s lifestyle and goals. Once your little one has weaned, your nipples and breasts may return to their previous size, and your body will absorb the remaining milk.

Body weight is another factor that influences whether your breasts will return to their pre-breastfeeding size. It’s perfectly normal if your weight after pregnancy is different than before, and increased breast size can influence this.
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Do breasts get saggy after pregnancy?

How to Perk Your Breasts After Pregnancy – Pugash MD Being a mother is one of the greatest joys in life, but it can also bring a number of unwanted changes to your body. Even a healthy, moderate amount of weight gain during pregnancy can stretch out the skin and leave unsightly stretchmarks.
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Do areolas shrink back after pregnancy?

The Areola’s Function – During pregnancy, the Montgomery glands, which are located in the areola, tend to become raised and more noticeable. These small lumps are sometimes described as looking like goosebumps. This change in structure is completely normal and not a cause for concern.

  1. A primary function of this change (and of the areola in general) is thought to be to aid with nursing.
  2. The Montgomery glands secrete oil to lubricate, clean, and protect the areola and the nipple, which is especially important when breastfeeding.
  3. The glands also produce a slight scent.
  4. Like the darkening of the areola, the scent of the Montgomery glands is believed to help the newborn find the nipple and begin breastfeeding more easily.

Once breastfeeding has ended, the Montgomery glands usually shrink back down and the texture of the areola returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
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How far into pregnancy do your areolas darken?

If you’ve noticed enlarged or dark areolas (the area around your nipples), you may be witnessing one of the first signs of pregnancy, But why does this happen? And should you be concerned? The good news is that this is usually completely normal and can occur as early as a week or two after conception.

Want to get the scoop on this surprising early pregnancy symptom? Read on to find out more about the causes of dark areolas—and when to seek medical attention. If you’ve suddenly realized that your areolas are looking different, you might feel concerned or confused. So what are the causes of dark areolas? Like many pregnancy symptoms and side-effects, dark or black areolas are most likely a result of your rising levels of hormones—namely, estrogen and progesterone.

These two hormones may increase the production of pigment in your skin. “Some scientists believe there may have been an evolutionary purpose for the growth and darkening of the areolas, which was to help the newborn baby find the nipple easier and facilitate latching,” explains Temeka Zore, MD, a California-based ob-gyn and reproductive endocrinologist with Spring Fertility in San Francisco.

It’s also not just dark areolas that you might begin to see in early pregnancy—the area immediately surrounding your areolas may begin to darken as well, almost resembling a web, which can make the areola look even bigger, says Sara Twogood, MD, an ob-gyn at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Some women may also notice bumps (resembling goose-bumps) pop up on the perimeter of their areolas. These are called Montgomery tubercles, sometimes also called Morgagni tubercles, and they become more visible during pregnancy and breastfeeding because your breasts get larger, Twogood says.

Those Montgomery tubercles are your friends! They help lubricate your nipples, which will be welcome when baby latches on to nurse. “Their purpose is to secrete oil during breastfeeding to decrease bacteria transfer to the baby,” Zore explains, “and to provide lubrication to your areola and nipples, which may become cracked or dry during breastfeeding.” It’s important to know that there are a few other causes of dark areolas that have nothing to do with pregnancy.

Some people experience darkening nipples as a result of taking certain oral contraceptives or during menstruation. It’s not common, but this could also be a sign of Paget’s disease, a rare form of breast cancer. It never hurts to reach out to your doctor if you experience darkening nipples or any other troubling symptoms.
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What are the bumps on my nipples during pregnancy?

What are Montgomery’s tubercles? Montgomery’s tubercles are sebaceous (oil) glands that appear as small bumps around the dark area of the nipple. Studies have found between 30 and 50 percent of pregnant women notice Montgomery’s tubercles. Their primary function is lubricating and keeping germs away from the breasts.
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How much do boobs grow during pregnancy?

Breast changes in the third trimester – Your breasts may start to feel heavy or sore again during the last trimester. Wearing a sleep bra in bed might make you more comfortable, and it’s a good idea to wear a supportive sports bra when you exercise to avoid breast pain and ligament damage.

  1. Remember to get a couple of breastfeeding bras the month before your baby is due.
  2. If possible, buy from a shop that has a fitter experienced in nursing bras, or consult an online fitting guide,
  3. Every woman is different, but your breasts are likely to be around one to two bra cup sizes bigger than before pregnancy.

Your band size will probably increase too, as your ribcage expands to make room for your baby. Your fitter should recommend a size that allows room for your milk to come in once your baby is born too. A style with clips that you can undo one-handed can make positioning your baby easier.

Amazingly your milk is ready in your breasts before your baby is born. This means your nipples might start leaking a little colostrum – early breast milk – which is rather thick and sticky. It can happen as early as 14 weeks, but is more common in late pregnancy. You can wear nursing pads inside your bra to stop damp patches showing through.

“If you have pre-existing or gestational diabetes, your healthcare professional may advise you to hand express some colostrum and freeze it. A recent study showed this is safe to do after the 36th week of an otherwise healthy pregnancy,” 3 advises Dr Prime.
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How do I become a wet nurse?

France – The bureau of wet nurses in Paris Wet-nursing was reported in France in the time of Louis XIV, the mid-17th century. By the 18th century, approximately 90% of infants were wet-nursed, mostly sent away to live with their wet nurses. In Paris, only 1,000 of the 21,000 babies born in 1780 were nursed by their own mothers.

  1. The high demand for wet nurses coincided with the low wages and high rent prices of this era, which forced many women to have to work soon after childbirth.
  2. This meant that many mothers had to send their infants away to be breastfed and cared for by wet nurses even poorer than themselves.
  3. With the high demand for wet nurses, the price to hire one increased as the standard of care decreased.

This led to many infant deaths. In response, rather than nursing their own children, upper-class women turned to hiring wet nurses to come live with them instead. In entering into their employer’s home to care for their charges, these wet nurses had to leave their own infants to be nursed and cared for by women far worse off than themselves, and who likely lived at a relatively far distance away.

The Bureau of Wet Nurses was created in Paris in 1769 to serve two main purposes: it supplied parents with wet nurses, as well as helping lessen the neglect of babies by controlling monthly salary payments. In order to become a wet nurse, women had to meet a few qualifications, including physical fitness and good moral character; they were often judged on their age, their health, the number of children they had, as well as their breast shape, breast size, breast texture, nipple shape, and nipple size, since all these aspects were believed to affect the quality of a woman’s milk.

In 1874, the French government introduced a law named after Dr. Theophile Roussel, which “mandated that every infant placed with a paid guardian outside the parents’ home be registered with the state so that the French government is able to monitor how many children are placed with wet nurses and how many wet-nursed children have died”.

Wet nurses were hired to work in hospitals to nurse babies who were premature, ill, or abandoned. During the 18th and 19th centuries, congenital syphilis was a common cause of infant mortality. The Vaugirard hospital in Paris began to use mercury as a treatment; however, it could not be safely administered to infants.

In 1780, it began the process of giving mercury to wet nurses, who could then transmit the treatment in their milk to infected infants. The practice of wet-nursing was still widespread during World War I, according to the American Red Cross, Working-class women would leave their babies with wet nurses so they could get jobs in factories.
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What happens if your breasts don’t leak during pregnancy?

Some mamas leak; some don’t. It’s really that simple. Not leaking doesn’t have anything to do with your ability to breastfeed. Rest assured that your body is already producing colostrum (the thick, nutrient-rich milk that baby will receive in her first few days) — it just might not come out until baby starts to suck.
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Do your hips get wider after pregnancy?

Your body – Your body may have become wider during pregnancy. This is because it was making room for your growing baby. Your ribs may have expanded, and your hips will often widen to make it easier for the baby to exit the birth canal. For some women wider ribs and hips will be permanent.

As your baby grows during pregnancy you will gain weight, This helps to support your baby before and after birth. Once you have delivered your baby, it’s safest for you to take it slow when trying to lose weight. Weight loss normally happens gradually after birth. If it’s your goal to return to your pre-pregnancy weight, remember it can take several months, or longer.

Healthy eating and gentle exercise can help lose the weight, but it’s important to remember you won’t change overnight.
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When do hips widen during pregnancy?

Why Your Hips Expand During Pregnancy – You won’t just wake up one morning and have grown wider hips. It’s a process. Your hips will start expanding around weeks 10 to 12 of pregnancy when relaxin, a protein that loosens the ligament fibers in the body to accommodate a baby, begins to increase.

  1. Women’s hips are already wider than men’s to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal,” says Dr. Tran.
  2. During pregnancy, hormones the joints and ligaments around the birth canal to make the passage larger and more flexible.
  3. This natural process contributes to the overall widening of the hips.” Your pelvis slowly expands to facilitate a baby’s passage through the vagina during childbirth.

“The main left and right hip bones join at their lower end at the ‘pubic symphysis,’ a (usually) immobile joint made mostly of collagen,” Dr. Tran explains. ” widening allows increased mobility of the pubic symphysis, more and more each week. This allows the gap between the left and right hip bones to become wider.”
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Does pregnancy age you?

W omen undergo significant physical, hormonal and physiological changes during pregnancy and childbirth. Now, researchers are trying to understand how these major life events affect the female aging process that follows. The research is still in its early stages and is a broad area involving the investigation of several biological markers of aging.

These include telomeres, or the end caps of chromosomes that have been shown to shorten as we age; epigenetics, the study of whether certain genes get turned on and off; and microchimerism, a fascinating phenomenon where cells from mom and baby go back and forth across the placenta during pregnancy, with some colonizing long-term in one or both bodies.

So far, the results are varied. Some studies report that pregnancy and childbirth dramatically accelerate aging in women at the cellular level. Other research, though, suggests that motherhood and pregnancy may slow down the aging process, These types of contradictions are bound to be found during the early stages of research, said Dan Eisenberg, a biological anthropologist at the University of Washington, who does work in the area.

Any single study could be wrong even when the scientists are doing everything right,” he said. “Part of the way that science works is that people look at similar questions all around the world. Then we combine those studies to look at trends and narrow in on what is true.” Last year, Eisenberg and his colleagues published a paper in the journal Scientific Reports, which found that with each pregnancy a mother’s telomeres appear to be about four months to four years older than those of her peers without children.

Telomeres sit at the end of chromosomes, the threadlike structures that contain our genetic material. Telomeres are kind of like the hard end of shoelaces and serve as a form of protection for the chromosome. When telomeres get too short, cells die and stop replicating.

Shorter telomeres are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other health conditions, Although telomeres are known to shorten in all humans with age, certain things, such as cigarette smoking, a high body mass index and major stress may accelerate the shortening process.

Good sleep, regular exercise and a Mediterranean diet have been associated with longer telomeres. Eisenberg’s study was conducted on over 800 women in their early 20s in Cebu, Philippines. Roughly 60 percent never had children. The remaining had given birth to one or more children.

The study also looked at the epigenetic age of women, a measurement taken by looking at DNA extracted from white blood cells. By studying the population of cells in the DNA, researchers can determine a person’s epigenetic age. The results were similar to what the telomeres indicated: The more pregnancies a woman went through, the “older” her epigenetic age.

“These are very young women though. We don’t know if this effect persists as they get older. Maybe they just bounce back over time,” said Calen Ryan, a biological anthropologist at Northwestern University who led the epigenetics portion of the same study.

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Paradoxically, Ryan, Eisenberg and their colleagues found that if a woman was pregnant at the time the measurements were taken, she looked epigenetically “younger” than expected. However, they did not find the same effect when they looked at telomere length. “Why would a woman look epigenetically younger during a pregnancy and epigenetically older after multiple pregnancies?” Ryan said.

“Could it be that mom’s blood is getting contaminated with baby’s blood, or cells of baby’s blood, and if so is this an artifact of that? These are things we need to understand.” Eisenberg is involved in a new study looking at this, known scientifically as microchimerism, in a subset of the same population of women he previously studied in the Philippines.

  • He would also like to analyze telomere length in women before and after pregnancy, to see how it changes.
  • Some of the results his team is finding could be specific to the population in the Philippines, where mothers are younger and fertility rates are higher than in the United States, he said.
  • We tend to have better health care and better access to health care and less infectious disease” in the United States, he said.

“It’s not fully clear whether we’ll see this as clearly in other populations.” At least one study on telomere length of American women has found results along the lines of what Eisenberg and Ryan found. Published in the journal Human Reproduction, the study relied on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and looked at telomere length in nearly 2,000 American women between the ages of 20 and 44.

The researchers found that women who had live births had telomeres that were an average of 4.2 percent shorter than their counterparts with no children. This equates to around 11 years of accelerated cellular aging, said Anna Pollack, an epidemiologist at George Mason University and the lead researcher of the study.

Strikingly, this decrease in telomere length is greater than what researchers have previously found in people who smoke cigarettes or have a high body mass index. “It was surprising to me that we found such a strong association,” Pollack said. “What we don’t know is exactly when the shortening occurs,” she added.

“Is it that first year when you’re the parent of an infant and you’re never sleeping? And is it due to a lack of social support?” Pablo Nepomnaschy, an epidemiologist at Simon Fraser University thinks that the amount of social support a mother gets might be a factor, based on his finding that indigenous women in Guatemala with children actually had longer telomeres than those without.

His study, published in PLOS One in 2016, looked at 75 women from two neighboring rural communities and measured telomere length at two points over 13 years. “In this indigenous Mayan society in Guatemala, children are seen as Godsends, as blessings,” Nepomnaschy said.

  1. Women were expected, until recently, to have many children and in fact, there may be a lot of stress associated with not having children in that society.” The Guatemalan women help raise one another’s children, and often the oldest daughter in the family helps care for the younger ones.
  2. That sort of extensive support structure is not something many American women have, he said.

It is purely hypothesis, he said, but the community support may reduce stress levels in mothers and result in increased telomere length. It could also help explain the discrepancy between his findings and the other studies. The increased telomere length could also be due to the dramatic increase in estrogen in women who are pregnant, Nepomnaschy said.

  • Estrogen may serve as an antioxidant that prevents the shortening of telomeres.
  • When you are pregnant your estrogen levels rise up,” he said.
  • Those prolonged periods of estrogen exposure may be protecting women against aging.” There is also other research, relying on data collected by the UK Biobank and based on neuroimaging, which suggests that the more live births a woman has, the “younger-looking” her brain looks.

Results from the study are available on the UK Biobank website, but have not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed publication. Eisenberg said that while he thinks it is more likely than not that pregnancy and childbirth do result in some sort of accelerated aging, he doesn’t think it is something to worry about.
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Why aren’t my nipples dark yet?

Just as breasts come in all shapes and sizes, nipples can vary greatly from person to person, too. Nipple color is usually related to your skin color, but changes in hormone levels and other factors can cause the color of your nipples and areolae (the darker circle of skin around your nipple) to change at certain times.
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What do women’s nipples look like during early pregnancy?

The nipples and the area around the nipples (areola) become darker and larger. Small bumps may appear on the areola. These bumps will go away after you have your baby.
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What color do nipples turn in early pregnancy?

Visual Changes in the Breasts – As a pregnancy progresses, the nipples and skin that surrounds them (areola) become darker in color as a result of hormones that affect skin pigmentation. Veins in the breast may also become more prominent as the blood supply to the breast is increased.

  • This is due to the fact that a woman’s overall blood volume is increased to aid the baby’s development.
  • Changes to the nipple and areola include the development of glands on the areola called Montgomery tubercles.
  • These glands are sebaceous glands that become raised, bumpy and more obvious to the eye.

Their function is lubricate during breastfeeding, thus protecting the nipples from irritation, and also to keep germs away from milk before being ingested by the baby. In some cases, these glands can become infected. Medical attention should be sought if redness, swelling or pain is experienced around the nipple.
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