when do nipples darken during pregnancy?

(July 7, 2010)

Nipples Darken In Pregnancy

During pregnancy women tend to experience a large number of changes in their body both internally and externally. The pregnant woman’s breasts may also undergo changes and they may become swollen, sore or tender. These changes in the breast mostly occur from pregnancy week 6 onwards. Progesterone is one of the hormones that are responsible for brining about changes in the breasts of the pregnant woman whereas the other hormone estrogen help develop the milk glands and ducts. Many pregnant women experience a tingling sensation in their breasts when the blood circulates through their breasts during pregnancy and in some women bluish veins may also appear on the skin. As the pregnancy progresses and the changes in the breast increase, women will observe that their nipples darken during pregnancy and will move from pink to red brown or brown. The nipples themselves undergo a change during pregnancy and tend to become more erect and larger so that the baby is able to feed easily. The small bumps on the areola which are also known as Montgomery’s tubercles also tend to get bigger and start secreting a fluid that lubricates the nipples.

Additionally in the second trimester of pregnancy the milk glands start secreting a thin yellow colored fluid that is known as colostrum which will increase in quantity during the rest of the pregnancy. This colostrum is rich in antibodies that provide the baby with nourishment and immunity. Darkening of the nipples also happens due to an increase in blood circulation during pregnancy and an increase in the levels of estrogen and progesterone which are known for skin pigmentation. Some women also may find stretch marks develop on their breasts as they grow during pregnancy as the skin may lose its elasticity. Pregnant women should always keep their breasts and nipples clean by wiping them with a clean cloth dipped in some warm water. This will prevent any milk from getting caked on the breasts and cause any skin problems. Similarly cracked nipples also need to be addressed by the doctor immediately as they may result in problems while nursing the baby. Pregnant women’s breasts at times get so sensitive to touch that even the slightest touch may result in discomfort in the pregnant woman. The darkening of the nipples usually starts during week 6 of pregnancy and will typically continue till pregnancy week 12. As this may not be the same for all pregnant women as each pregnancy is different.

Submitted by P T on July 7, 2010 at 02:03

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