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Breast care during pregnancy should be started as soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant and aims to reduce pain and discomfort due to their growth, prepare the breasts for breastfeeding and prevent the appearance of stretch marks.
During pregnancy the breasts change to prepare for breastfeeding, getting bigger, heavier and painful. In addition, the areola becomes darker and more sensitive and the veins of the breasts become more prominent, so it is important to take care of it.
The main changes and necessary precautions are:
1. Breasts become sore or tender
With weight gain, belly growth and the beginning of breast milk production, it is normal for breasts to become larger and a little sore or more sensitive.This sensation usually starts between the 6th and 7th week of pregnancy, but in some women it may appear later, depending on the breast growth.
What to do to relieve: A great solution is to wear a supportive bra during the day and night, as it helps support the weight and volume of your breasts. The bra should preferably be made of cotton, have wide straps, support the breasts well, not have a support iron and it is important that, as the breasts grow, the pregnant woman increases the size of the bra.
From the third trimester onwards, the pregnant woman can wear a nursing bra to get used to, as she will have to wear it after the baby is born. Check out other tips to reduce the discomfort of breast growth during pregnancy.
2. Halo gets darker
Due to hormonal changes and increased blood vascularization in the breasts, it is normal for the areolas to be darker than normal. This new coloration should remain throughout the breastfeeding, but return to normal after the baby stops exclusively breastfed.
3. Polka dots around the halo become more prominent
Some women have polka dots around the entire areola. These balls are actually Montgomery's tubercles, a type of fat-producing gland that is very necessary in breastfeeding to protect mom's skin. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is normal for these small glands to be more prominent, which is nothing to worry about.
4. Stretch marks may appear
Rapid enlargement of the breasts during pregnancy can lead to the appearance of stretch marks that also cause an itchy skin.
What to do to avoid stretch marks: You should apply a stretch mark cream on your breasts at least twice a day, avoiding the areola and nipple. There are good brands that can be found in pharmacies or drugstores, but also applying sweet almond oil is a good strategy. Learn how to make and use homemade stretch mark cream.
5. Colostrum appears
In the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, especially in the last weeks or days of pregnancy, if the woman presses the nipple properly, she can observe the presence of small drops of milk, which is actually colostrum, a very rich milk that has everything the newborn baby needs to feed in the first few days. After a few days the milk becomes stronger and comes in greater quantity, becoming whiter and less watery. Understand what colostrum is.
6. Veins become more evident
The vascularization of the breasts becomes more evident because with the growth of the breasts, the skin stretches a lot and makes the veins more evident, which can have a greenish or blue color, being completely normal.
How to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding
To prepare the breasts for breastfeeding, the pregnant woman should:
- Get 15 minutes of sun a day on the nipples: The pregnant woman should sunbathe until 10am or after 4pm, putting sunscreen on her breasts, except for the areolas and nipples, helping to prevent nipple cracking and making the skin more resistant to cracking during breastfeeding.A great alternative for pregnant women who cannot sunbathe is to use a 40 W lamp 30 cm away from the nipples;
- Wash the nipples and areolas only with water: pregnant women should avoid hygiene products, such as soaps, as they remove the natural hydration of the nipples, increasing the risk of cracks in the nipples. nipples;
- Leaving the nipples exposed to the air as long as possible: is important because this way the skin is more intact and he althy, preventing cracks and fungal infections that can arise during breastfeeding.
Another tip to prepare the breasts for breastfeeding is to massage the breasts 1 or 2 times a day, from the 4th month of pregnancy, as the massage helps to make the nipple more prominent for breastfeeding, facilitating baby sucking milk. To do the massage, just hold the breast with both hands, one on each side, and apply pressure from the base to the nipple, about 5 times, and then repeat, but with one hand on top and the other under the breast.Check out other tips to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding.