Breasts during pregnancy week by week

How Much Weight Gain is Alright During Pregnancy?

The question of how much weight gain is alright during pregnancy is difficult to answer with a number. You see, every woman needs to gain weight during pregnancy – even a woman who’s overweight when her pregnancy begins.

Women have a lot of issues with their weight – whether they’re pregnant or not. So rather than focusing on a particular number, it’s more important to focus on being healthy and eating healthy. In other words, how you gain the weight is more important than how much you gain, so long as you’re gaining enough. If you’re eating to fullness and eating healthy, nutrient rich food, then you’ll generally gain an appropriate amount of weight for your body and your baby.

In addition, the amount of weight gain that’s alright for you during pregnancy will be different than the amount of weight gain that’s right for other women. Only your health care provider can help you determine a target that’s right for your body, your health status and your pregnancy.

But you still want a number, right? OK. The average weight gain for a woman of average weight and health carrying a single baby is 25 to 35 pounds. Notice the words “average” there, and notice that there’s a 10 pound range of healthy. Even the most overweight woman will need to gain about 20 pounds to properly nourish her baby and account for additional blood volume, amniotic fluid, the placenta, and the preparation of the breasts for breastfeeding. A woman who is underweight will need to gain more weight, maybe as much as 40 pounds. But again, these are all numbers for carrying a single baby. If you’re carrying more than one baby, those numbers will increase.

So you can see that the amount of weight gain that’s alright during pregnancy can be very different from woman to woman. Pre-existing health conditions – like diabetes – may influence how much weight you’re able to put on during your pregnancy. Certain genetic factors may also play a role in determining how big you’ll get. The only person who can give you a weight gain range that’s alright for you is your health care provider.

But let us stress again that more important than how much you gain is how you gain your pregnancy weight. If you gain only 25 pounds, but you do it eating nothing but chips and soda, the weight you’ve gained isn’t going to be healthy for you and your baby. On the other hand, you’ll find it hard to gain excessive amounts of weight if you avoid sugar and junk food and concentrate on eating lean protein, a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy and healthy fats.

If you eat a healthy diet, you’ll likely gain around five pounds during your first trimester, and then gain weight slowly and gradually until delivery. Ideally, your weight gain should parallel that of the growth of your baby – your health care provider can help you determine whether you’re on track with your baby’s development or not.

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New Health Advisor

During pregnancy, there will bechanges in the levels of hormones in your body. Such changes will make you experience several body changes during pregnancy, like breast changes. Your breasts will become enlarge mainly due to estrogen. You may also notice some swelling, which happens because the milk ducts in your breasts startgrowing in preparation for breastfeeding. The increased blood supply is another reason why you notice breast changes in early pregnancy. Still, is it normal to have all those changes? Can you do something to reduce the discomfort? Keep reading to learn more.

Breast Changes in Early Pregnancy

Your first trimester is from week 1 to week 12 of pregnancy. During this time, you will notice your breasts feel tender and swollen. Your nipples are more likely to stick out and your breasts may even tingle a bit. Here are more details about breast changes in pregnancy week by week.

Week 1 to 3

During the first 3 weeks, you will notice the rapid growth of milk ducts as well as alveolar buds. Around week 2, the breast changes peak, because your egg is fertilized and implants itself in the uterus at the late luteal phase of your cycle. After the conception, some of you may notice tenderness on breasts. And your breasts will become more sensitive, especially on thesides, which is mainly because the internal mammary artery is on the same side.

Week 4 to 6

You will notice tingling and prickling around the nipples with the start of week 4, which is due to an increase in the blood supply. It is also common for breasts to tingle with a change in temperature. By the time you enter week 6, your nipples will become more prominent and areolas will become dark because of an increase in pigmentation. Your breasts may become slightly uncomfortable and look fuller due to progesterone, estrogen, and human placental lactogen. The mild ducts will also swell more in preparation for lactation.

Week 7 to 9

As you enter week 7, you will start to gain weight quickly. Some women gain over 1.5lbs in each breast, because pregnancy hormones encourage accumulation of fat and growth of milk ducts during this phase. By week 7, the alveoli will expand considerably and form lobules. Your breasts will become sore, tender, and nodular in week 8. It is easier to notice blood vessels under the skin of your breasts. Around week 8, you will also see small pimples around your nipples, called Montgomery’s tubercles. The areolas become darker in week 9 with a second areola appearing around the lighter-colored tissue. Your inverted nipples will also correct themselves during this stage.

Week 10 to 12

Breast tenderness will still be present in week 10 with pimples around your nipples becoming prominent. If this is your first pregnancy, your nipples will protrude fully by week 12. Women with cosmetic breast implants feel especially tender in week 12 of pregnancy.

When to Seek Medical Help

You will notice breast changes in early pregnancy and most of these changes are very normal. It is however important to understand that there are always chances of developing breast cancer or noticing tumor growth during this time. If you notice any lumps, you should talk to your doctor immediately. It is also a good idea to ask for complete breast examination throughout your pregnancy to ensure everything is progressing normally.

How to Relieve Discomforts in Breasts During Early Pregnancy

Breast changes in early pregnancy can lead to tenderness and soreness and severe discomfort. You can just seek for some remedies to reduce the discomfort.

1. Select a Right Bra

Just do not stick to your old bra when your breasts are constantly increasing in size. Wearing a right bra will reduce discomfort and also support your back muscles.

Get a good quality maternity bra that comes with extra rows of hooks – this makes it easier to adjust the size as per the size of your breasts. Yet, just say no to under-wired bras during pregnancy. Change it if it irritates your nipples, and look for cotton bras because they are more breathable and comfortable. Synthetic fabrics and satin should be avoided because they may add friction and irritate your skin.

2. Nighttime Support

You can always try a pregnancy sleep bra to provide your tender breast with added support during the night, and a cotton one is preferable.

3. Use Breast Pads

You can also buy some breast pads to reduce discomfort. These pads are also effective when you leak colostrum. It is a good idea to let your breasts air-dryafter taking a shower.

29 Weeks Pregnant

All About Baby

Your baby is filling out this week. She’s adding fat to insulate her body for the day she leaves her cozy home. You can probably distinguish between feet and hands, head and bottom when your baby-to-be moves inside you. She takes practice breaths but won’t breathe air until delivery.

Your baby’s growth has begun to slow down now, but she will still gain approximately four pounds between now and birth. If she were born now, she would be able to breathe, but might tire easily and need assistance. Her little eyes are sensitive to light.

All About You

You’re making a turn towards the homeward stretch! Time to start considering some big decisions. In addition to the breast or bottle question, what will you do about circumcision? In some religions and cultures, circumcision, cutting a baby boy’s foreskin, is a matter of custom and belief. In others, boy babies are never circumcised. For many people without clear cultural guidelines, circumcision is a difficult, but important choice to make.

It is also a good time to start working with your birth support partner or healthcare team to plan your birth. As part of your preparations, it’s not too early to begin perineal massage to help prevent an episiotomy or tearing during delivery. You may not be able to reach by yourself — have your partner assist you.

As your baby-to-be grows bigger, you may find your pregnancy pains increasing. By the end of the day your back aches and your feet become swollen. Frequent potty breaks are probably becoming a nuisance as your wiggly baby presses down on your bladder.

Ready for Breastfeeding?

Increased breast size is one of the first signs of pregnancy. Even before your bump makes an appearance, pregnancy hormones send messages to your breast tissue to get ready to feed your baby come delivery day. If this is your first baby, or you’ve had trouble nursing in the past, breastfeeding may seem foreign. You may still be unsure whether or not you want to breastfeed. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to nurse your newborn.

When milk comes in: From the first days of pregnancy your breast tissue is building and readying to feed your baby. Between your fifth and sixth month of pregnancy you might notice clear to yellowish liquid occasionally coming from your nipples. This beginner milk, called colostrum, is made up of antibodies, the perfect diet for a newborn. After your baby’s birth, your breasts will produce colostrum for three to five days until your milk comes in. Your breasts will most likely feel fuller and heavier as breast milk replaces colostrum.

Why breastfeeding is good for your baby: Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby — a carefully concocted mix of fats, proteins, and antibodies that help your child grow. The makeup of breast milk changes over time to meet your baby’s growth needs and also changes during individual feedings. When your baby begins nursing, she first receives foremilk — a more watery, but still high-fat mix — which is replaced with regular milk in the middle of the feeding and then thinner milk as the feeding comes to an end.

Babies easily digest breast milk, which is why you should expect to feed your baby every two hours for the first few weeks. Her body breaks down the nutrients from your breast milk quickly and she’s ready for more.

Why breastfeeding is good for you: When you breastfeed, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which signals your uterus to contract, explains Dr. William Camann, MD, director of obstetric anesthesia at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and coauthor of Easy Labor: Every Woman’s Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth. These contractions pull at your uterus, bringing it back into pre-pregnancy position (these contractions may be painful at first). Along with pulling your belly back into place, breastfeeding requires calories. Your body will use up fat stores to produce breast milk, meaning nursing should help you lose pounds and return to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Breastfeeding can also help you grow closer to your baby. During feedings you can stare into his eyes and memorize his features while he in turn looks at yours. Nursing gives you an excuse to slow down and spend a few quiet moments together.

Convenience comes with nursing as well. You won’t need to measure the right amount of milk into bottles or mess with heating up your baby’s breakfast. Breast milk comes at the perfect temperature, ready to eat, and is free.

Breast evaluations by your physician: “There are two reasons a doctor will examine a woman’s breasts during pregnancy,” says Dr. Camann. “First, to check for any abnormal growth. It’s not common, but some women have been diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy.” And second, your healthcare provider will be looking for any anatomical issues that may make breastfeeding tougher, for instance if you have flat or inverted nipples.

How to Get Started

You may want to attend breastfeeding classes before your baby’s birth. For some mother-child pairs, nursing comes naturally, but there are often difficulties for mother or baby. Learning more about how to nurse before your baby’s birth will go a long way toward making nursing a success. In class you’ll learn different ways to hold your baby for feedings and how your baby should be placed on the breast. This knowledge will help you feel more comfortable nursing from the start. Call your hospital’s lactation consultant if you have any questions or concerns. The La Leche League is also a great resource for information and support.

Got questions about Week 29? Other women have asked…

Q: I’m pregnant and I feel sick and dizzy. What’s going on?

The large blood vessel that runs behind the uterus, called the vena cava, is responsible for carrying the blood from the lower part of your body back to your heart. It can also be the cause of your feelings of nausea and dizziness. Read more about dizziness during pregnancy.

Q: Is forgetfulness a common pregnancy symptom?

Forgetfulness is a common perception during pregnancy. I have heard it called ‘pregnancy brain’ or ‘placenta brain.’ Studies on cognition, though, show that brain function during pregnancy is not different than when not pregnant. Read more about pregnancy brain.

Q: Does the mask of pregnancy ever go away?

Melasma does tend to fade over time, but may reappear with sun exposure, especially if you use estrogen-containing contraceptives. If you have another baby, melasma is likely to recur. Sunscreen may not be totally effective, so we tell pregnant women that in addition to using a good sunscreen, other products should be used. Read more about face products to use during pregnancy.

Your Partner

Nursing: Not As Easy As You’d Think!

Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest things parents can do for their baby. It is not only good for your little one’s growth and development, but is equally beneficial for your partner. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers breastfeed at least through Baby’s first year and preferably for up to two years (while giving complementary foods after six months).

However, nursing can be very difficult for some families. Many people think breastfeeding should just happen naturally, so when a new mother has trouble, she may blame herself and feel depressed and guilty. But the truth is that nursing is a skill both babies and mothers need to learn together. And this is where dads can help!

Help your partner nurse by making sure she has enough to drink during the day and especially during or just after she nurses. If she has trouble nursing, you can help her seek out a lactation consultant (a professional who can facilitate the breastfeeding process; many make home visits) by calling her OB office, the hospital where she delivered, or your newborn’s pediatrician. But the most important thing you can do is to remind her that she is not at fault if trouble arises. Many women struggle with breastfeeding, and some are never able to successfully nurse. Listen to her and offer her lots of love and support throughout the experience.

Whether nursing goes smoothly or not, talk with your partner about pumping milk once breastfeeding is well established so you can do one or two feedings a day (or at night!). One of the most important ways fathers bond with their babies is by meeting their core needs. By feeding Baby, you’re showing her that you’re not just a supporting role, but a primary caretaker. This can make a real difference as you begin building a strong relationship with your child.

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