Moms-to-be experience a lot of physical changes as the body goes into overdrive to accommodate a developing baby. Have you had lumps in breast during pregnancy? First, let's better understand lumps.
Most notably, the breasts will undergo a series of transitions as they expand to produce colostrum – also known as “liquid gold” for baby’s first meal – if you choose this route that is.
Finding a breast lump during pregnancy can be extremely alarming due to concerns about breast cancer. As women, we’re told to look out for drastic changes, particularly hard lumps as these may be a sign of the disease. The good news is that lumps in the breast during pregnancy are extremely common. But you should also take caution. In this article, we’ll explore the causes of breast lumps in pregnancy and when to see a doctor.
According to the American Cancer Society, getting breast cancer during pregnancy is the exception, not the norm. Your risk especially decreases if you’re less than 35-years-old.
Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, your breasts may feel clumpy, dense, and firm. During the second and third trimester, the lumpy and clumpy texture may be the result of blocked or enlarged milk ducts.
Clogged milk ducts cause firm lumps that may be red and painful to touch. These lumps generally disappear over the course of a few days. If it doesn’t, don’t panic. It may simply mean that the milk ducts are infected. To be safe, your doctor will complete a physical examination or run a few tests to calm your fears.
To alleviate pain and discomfort caused by clogged milk ducts, place a warm compress directly on the affected area. Warm showers also offer relief when accompanied by a gentle massage.
Medical experts recommend wearing a supportive bra throughout pregnancy to reduce the incidence of lumps and other painful breast changes.
Underwire bras, especially, can exacerbate the issue, so these should be avoided at all costs. On the other hand, maternity bras made of cotton are suggested for helping to keep the breasts cool, comfortable, and supported.
Lumps caused by breast cancer are distinguished by the fact that these are not red or tender to the touch at first. If you’ve tried the remedies outlined and the lumps don’t go away, see your doctor.
Benign lumps are sometimes caused by cysts, including fibroadenomas or galactoceles cysts. A lump can be tested to determine if it is indeed cancerous or benign.
If a doctor suspects breast cancer, there are some limitations to testing. According to the American Cancer Society, an ultrasound, mammogram, or MRI may be used.
These are considered to be relatively safe for the baby as a lead shield is typically used to reduce radiation exposure to the fetus. As a last resort, a biopsy may be performed to analyze if a noticeable lump is cancerous.
Expecting mothers may notice a few more breast changes, in addition to lumps.
As the breasts grow to some extent during the gestational period, stretch marks and itching often come with the territory. To alleviate itchiness, use a moisturizer at least twice per day.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, the body starts manufacturing milk. You may notice a thick, creamy texture, and this is completely normal. Healthcare experts however warn pregnant women to see a doctor if the nipples leak blood.
It’s also common for the color of the nipples and areola to get darker in pregnancy. If you see tiny bumps around the areola region, these are defense mechanisms for stopping bacterial growth. These tiny bumps are referred to as Montgomery’s tubercles.
More common in the first trimester, sore breasts during pregnancy is usually caused by the rapid increase of estrogen and progesterone during this time. The sore sensation tends to dissipate as you enter the second trimester.
Due to increased blood flow during pregnancy, the veins expand to meet this amped up volume. Visible veins will fade over time following the birth.
If your family has a history of breast cancer, and you do find a painless lump in the breast that does not go away, be sure to consult a doctor right away.
Experts warn against taking a wait-and-see approach until after delivery or when the baby is weaned. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the better the chances for treatment and recovery.