Pregnancy can be full of surprises. While one is prepared to endure morning sickness, weight gain, body aches and other hormonal changes, how about breast leaking during pregnancy?
A woman’s breasts fill up with milk and prepare to breastfeed the baby soon after birth. Some women may notice one breast leaking during pregnancy or both breast leaking during pregnancy. Is it normal? Should you be worried about it? Come, let’s learn more about pregnancy breast leaking.
Book an Appointment with Dr. Smitha A P for all Gynecology related concerns.
First, let’s understand why breasts may leak during pregnancy.
It is perfectly normal for breasts to start leaking a few days or even a few weeks before the baby is due. In most cases, it is the colostrum that starts leaking. Colostrum is the first milk that comes from the breasts and is proven to be very nutritious for the baby. However, if your body starts producing it before the baby arrives, there is nothing much you can do about it.
This does not mean your pregnancy breast leaking milk will spill all the colostrum or wet your clothes. It will be just a few drops now and then.
Just as every pregnancy journey is unique, so are the issues a woman faces during pregnancy. During pregnancy, breast milk leaking can start at different stages for different women. Some women may experience breast leaking during pregnancy 2nd trimester, some may experience breast leaking during pregnancy in 3r trimester and some women may have their breast leaking at 27 weeks pregnant.
In most cases, the leaking breast during pregnancy is due to hormonal changes. The hormone prolactin is responsible for producing milk when a woman gives birth. If this hormone increases more than estrogen and progesterone, then your breasts may start leaking.
Some of the other reasons for breast leaking during pregnancy can be:
● Overstimulation of the nipples due to foreplay
● Chaffing of the nipples against clothing
● Hot showers relax the muscles and may cause nipples to leak a little
If you notice breast leaking during pregnancy trimester, it could be due to the increase in estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen can make your breasts feel full and heavy with milk as the milk ducts develop and fill up.
Check to see if it is only a few drops of colostrum. Be careful as to not overstimulate the nipples or squeeze them too hard to check if milk is flowing in or not. If you notice a few spots of blood with it, check with your doctor immediately.
If you notice breast leaking during your 3rd trimester, it can indicate the arrival of the baby. The body prepares to start feeding the baby. If your breasts leak close to your delivery date it could be one of the pre labour changes. However, leaking breasts during pregnancy is nota sign of labour.
If you notice the breasts are leaking more colostrum, then it can indicate your body is getting ready for the baby. Your hormones might be increasing or going out of sync as they prepare to support the birth process.
In case you are wondering if you can stop the breast leaking during pregnancy, then the answer is-
Yes, to a certain extent, the following might help:
● Avoid stimulating the nipples in any form
● Avoid wearing rough or tight clothing that can rub against and irritate your nipples
● Apply a warm compress over the breasts
If you notice your breasts are leaking a lot of colostrum you can collect and store them to feed the baby after birth. You can express the colostrum by expressing it with your hand. Using a breast pump could be too harsh on the breasts and might even cause bleeding. Collect the colostrum in a breastmilk bag and freeze it for future use.
However, expressing the milk will release more oxytocin which will increase the milk let-down and compress the womb. Doing more of this can stimulate contractions. If you are planning for cesarean delivery or if your pregnancy is not close to term, your doctor will advise you against expressing milk. It might stimulate early labour.
If there is a lot of milk, you can collect and store it, if it is just a few drops, you can just wipe it off with tissues, just ensure you are not hard on your nipples as friction can cause them to leak more.
You can try to use breast pads or padded bras to prevent staining your clothes. Apart from this, there is nothing much you can do. If the leak does not stop and is bothering you, you can consult your OBGYN.
No, not all women experience leaking breasts during pregnancy. Some women experience more hormonal production than others, which can lead to leaking breasts during pregnancy. During pregnancy breast milk leaking is quite common and nothing to worry about unless you start seeing spots of blood in the milk.
Here are some tips and tricks to manage those pregnancy breast leaking with confidence:
● Wear maternity or padded bras as mentioned earlier. You can even start wearing a nursing bra if you are not keen on spending too much on your clothing
● Use disposable breast pads. Carry a few extrasin your bag and change them if required.
● Wear dark-coloured tops with patterns on them.
● Opt for layers that you can add if and when needed.
● Carry spare tops if you plan to spend a lot of time outside. If at work, stash a spare in your vehicle or office.
Leaking breasts during pregnancy is nothing to be embarrassed or worried about. You are pregnant, your body is undergoing a lot of change and nothing is under your control. Everyone around will be empathetic and understanding. If you do stain your clothes, laugh it off and go attend to it with confidence.
Want to consult the best gynecologists in India? Please find the links below.
Want to book the best Maternity Packages in India? Please find the links below.