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14 Things You're Too Scared To Ask But Really Want To Know About Boobs And Pregnancy

Sexually stimulated nipples = milk.

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Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, MD – a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine – has helped answer some of our most curious questions about getting pregnant, childbirth, and just being pregnant in general. So, of course, she was our go-to person for facts about boobs during and after pregnancy.

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1. Your boobs might get lumpy.

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The lumpiness is caused by mammary glands in the breasts, which Dr. Minkin says are like "cousins to the sweat glands." They look like bunches of clustered grapes and they make milk. Breasts can get lumpy during breastfeeding and pregnancy because the mammary glands are engorged with milk.

2. And your nipples might get larger and darker.

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"Pregnant women's nipples tend to get larger and more prominent, and they also get somewhat darker. The estrogen tends to have an effect on pigmentation," says Minkin.

3. Some women's nipples also get hairy.

"We do see [hairy nipples] occasionally, but we don’t see it all the time. Some people have said that if you’re carrying a male fetus the testosterone causes it, but I don’t think there’s much truth to that."
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"We do see [hairy nipples] occasionally, but we don’t see it all the time. Some people have said that if you’re carrying a male fetus the testosterone causes it, but I don’t think there’s much truth to that."

4. During pregnancy, colostrum can leak from your boobs – after pregnancy, actual milk can leak from your boobs.

Minkin says it's a good idea to get nipple shields or pads. "Colostrum has the same consistency as milk, but is going to have a yellow color to it which is pretty common."
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Minkin says it's a good idea to get nipple shields or pads. "Colostrum has the same consistency as milk, but is going to have a yellow color to it which is pretty common."

5. And a hot shower – or sexual stimulation – could make your boobs leak A LOT.

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Minkin says, "Hot water tends to increase blood flow to the nipples and your breasts will get more engorged with the heat, causing milk to leak out." In addition, if your nipples are sexually stimulated, they can leak as well.

6. Expect your boobs to get itchy.

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"In general, much of the itchiness is because the skin is stretching. The breasts will engorge during breastfeeding, but the breast size doesn’t get too much bigger. You’re probably going to be your max size when you deliver. Some women don’t change cup size, but most women will change at least one cup size, sometimes two."

7. And some people get stretch marks on their boobs.

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"It’s common to get stretch marks since your boobs are growing and stretching, but not everybody gets them. Some people tend to moisturize – which is a pretty good idea – but, unfortunately it doesn’t stop the stretch marks."

8. It is very common for nipples to chafe during breastfeeding.

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This varies from person to person, but it’s reasonably common. Minkin says, "I usually counsel people to use Lanolin on their nipples. I also encourage people to not let their baby sit on the breast for hours because it's not good for your nipples. Yes, the baby is hungry, but a baby empties a breast in about seven minutes. I wouldn't let the baby suckle for more than ten minutes per breast."

9. Your boobs can produce different tasting breast milk, depending on what you eat.

Minkin says, "The taste depends on what people are eating. If they eat a lot of spicy foods, the milk may a have a little spice in it."
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Minkin says, "The taste depends on what people are eating. If they eat a lot of spicy foods, the milk may a have a little spice in it."

10. The veins on your boobs will be more prominent.

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Minkin says, "There’s more engorgement and more blood flow, so the veins will show up more."

11. One boob can get larger than the other, and one boob can produce more milk that the other.

This is extremely common. According to Minkin, "A lot of babies seem to have a preference for one breast over the other which can cause one breast to be larger than the other."
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This is extremely common. According to Minkin, "A lot of babies seem to have a preference for one breast over the other which can cause one breast to be larger than the other."

12. Your boobs will hurt when your milk dries up.

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"Unfortunately, when you decide to stop breastfeeding, it’s going to take several days for your milk to dry up...and it is painful." Minkin says to stay away from hot showers and instead to place ice on the breasts and wear a tight, supporting bra.

13. And after your milk dries up, your boobs will likely shrink.

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A lot of people experience breast shrinkage after breastfeeding. "Unfortunately, the breasts usually get smaller than they were prior to the woman's pregnancy," Minkin says.

14. All boobs make milk during pregnancy...and some people can make milk even if they aren't pregnant.

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"There are very few pregnant people who make no milk at all. Suckling tends to promote breast milk, and if the baby is having trouble latching on, pumping can help promote more breast milk coming in. You want to make sure you’re adequately hydrated; people who are dehydrated may not make too much milk." Minkin also says that some people who adopt want to breastfeed, so they take a medication called Reglan. It’s actually a drug for nausea, but it can raise prolactin levels so women who have never been pregnant can breastfeed. "I don’t think it’s universally successful, but I’ve had a couple of patients who have adopted and were able to successfully breastfeed after taking it."

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