A woman’s breasts develop during puberty, yet that is not the only point in her life when her breasts change significantly. Pregnancy, an experience that most women go through in their lifetimes, marks another period where her breasts change in appearance. Dr. A.J. Khalil, a top Beverly Hills breast surgeon, explains what kind of changes women can expect during and after a pregnancy.

How Breasts Evolve During Pregnancy

Changes to the breasts begin as early as the first trimester. Breast tissue becomes tender due to swelling, especially to the touch. The nipples gradually protrude more from the breast, too.

Breasts should appear visibly larger by the second trimester, so a woman needs to wear larger bras to support her breasts. Simultaneously, the areolas grow in circumference and often become darker in color. Moreover, since more blood is flowing to the breasts during pregnancy, veins are easier to see through the skin. By this stage, the discomfort from breast tenderness should subside.

By the third trimester, the breasts have grown so large that they can start to feel heavy and develop stretch marks because the skin has had to expand quickly to cover the new size of the breasts.

How Breasts Evolve While Breastfeeding

A woman’s breasts get even bigger than they did during pregnancy during the first few months of nursing. This is due to the breasts having an excessive amount of milk, known as engorgement. Unfortunately, engorgement can be painful and make breastfeeding more challenging for a mother and baby.

After the baby is old enough to wean, the mother’s breasts will start to shrink. If the woman has returned to her pre-pregnancy weight, her breasts should appear approximately the same size as they were before she became pregnant, but that is far from a guarantee. Many women discover that their breasts are a different size and appear deflated. The density of the breast hangs lower than it used to, giving the breasts a sagging or pendulous appearance.

What is important to understand is that breast drooping is mainly the result of pregnancy, not breastfeeding. Because breasts grow throughout pregnancy, which stretches the breast skin, drooping is inevitable for women who do not have very elastic skin once the breasts return to their normal size. Hence, a woman who decides to feed her child formula rather than breast milk will not avoid most of the changes to her breasts.

Improving Your Breasts After Pregnancy

If you miss the way your breasts looked before becoming pregnant, you are likely a great candidate for plastic surgery. Breast lift is a highly effective surgery that removes loose skin from around the breasts to elevate them to a more youthful position. It can also adjust the nipples and areolas so that they have a perky, proportional appearance near the center of your breast. You may also be interested in breast augmentation to improve the size and shape of your breasts after seeing deflation.

To speak with a top Beverly Hills plastic surgeon about cosmetic breast surgeries, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Khalil by calling 310-385-8601.