The mammary glands begin their preparation for lactation from the first month of pregnancy. Hormonal restructuring activates the work of the glands with an increased level of prolactin. The ducts expand, the breast fills up, and releases a special substance – colostrum.
Breast leakage is not an alarming symptom. This is a normal part of preparing for breastfeeding. Allocations can be plentiful and meager. Sometimes they are completely absent. These are all variants of the norm.
When Does Breast Leaking Start in Pregnancy?
A woman may notice the first symptoms of breast leakage at the end of the second and at the beginning of the third trimesters. The breast fills and leaks more actively 4-5 days before and after childbirth. Signs of heavy discharge and leakage rarely occur in the first trimester. Colostrum is mainly produced after delivery.
EXACT WEEKS IT MAY HAPPEN
Breast leakage can occur from the 21st week of pregnancy. The symptom manifests itself more noticeably after the 31st week. The breast fills as much as possible and periodically produces the secret of the mammary glands at the 36th-38th weeks.
The release of colostrum may occur earlier (by the end of the 14th week). This phenomenon is almost imperceptible for a woman, so the number of recorded complaints about the symptom is very low.
When will it end?
The symptom does not appear regularly. Its cessation may indicate the normalization of prolactin levels. Leaks disappear during the period of jumps of this hormone. This happens after the 14th week. Then at the beginning of the third trimester – after the 31st week of pregnancy.
The production of colostrum becomes more intense with each week of approaching childbirth. The end of the symptoms is not provided for by the mechanisms laid down by the body.
How Does it Feel?
A woman may miss this symptom altogether when her breasts are not leaking much. The highlights will be barely noticeable. You can see the plaque on the nipples and stains on the underwear. The woman does not feel any extra symptoms. This occurs in the absence of anomalies and the acute manifestation of symptoms.
The breast begins to leak already from the end of the second trimester. The woman feels moisture in the nipples. This makes her uncomfortable. Sometimes a woman has to change her underwear frequently. Stains remain, especially noticeable on a light bra.
The discharge is not abundant and is confined to the end of the third trimester. They do not cause discomfort to a woman. The pregnant woman does not notice the symptom. The discharge increases only when the nipple is pressed without arbitrary leakage.
Do not confuse breast leakage during pregnancy with pathological discharge.
There is nothing unhealthy about breast leakage. This is a natural process that accompanies a pregnant woman. There is no need to deal with this symptom. You can only take several preventive measures that will help reduce the intensity of the manifestation of leakage. They are not aimed at eliminating the symptom and only reduce its activity. Ways to prevent breast leaking:
Elimination of problems with the mammary glands
It is better to undergo a breast examination before conception. It is necessary to exclude the presence of neoplasms, diffuse mastopathy, and fibroadenoma. They must be eliminated when problems are identified: undergo a course of therapy, medical or surgical treatment. The presence of problems with the health of the mammary glands increases secretion and activates the discharge.
Stabilization of the hormonal background
It is advisable to take tests for the level of female hormones as an additional examination in preparation for pregnancy. If there are violations, they must be eliminated. Methods for stabilizing the hormonal background are extensive: treatment of the endocrine system, taking hormonal drugs, vitamin therapy, and proper nutrition.
Nervous strain, emotional instability, anxiety, and other malfunctions of the nervous system provoke a surge of hormones. The menstrual cycle suffers the most due to stress in a woman. Exacerbation of PMS may occur. Calmness and balance help in solving most of the psychosomatic problems.
Why Breast Leaking Occurs in Pregnancy?
Discharge from the breasts occurs under the stable influence of hormones. The hormone prolactin is responsible for the production of colostrum and milk. An increase in its level during the gestation period provokes leakage of the breast. A special secret of yellowish or grayish color is allocated. This is colostrum. It precedes the appearance of milk.
The ducts in the mammary glands expand from the beginning of pregnancy, their structure and shape change, and there is an active preparation for lactation. This is a program laid down by nature that provides a further resource for the existence of a child after birth. Rarely, a mother does not have colostrum and milk after childbirth.
Breasts can leak more abundantly due to provoking factors: strong physical exertion, tight clothing, hot showers, and sex.
It is not necessary to stop the discharge from the breast in the form of colostrum. This is a natural process that does not require correction and treatment. You can use proven methods to help with severe leakage: improve hygiene, choose the right underwear, and eliminate irritants. Consider the most effective means of protection against breast leakage during the gestation period:
You can buy them at any store for expectant mothers or at a pharmacy. They are thin round discs made of natural absorbent material. Most often they are used at the end of pregnancy or during lactation. It is worth using this tool if the leakage during gestation is strong.
You can start wearing specialized underwear long before the breastfeeding process. This will help to better keep the nipples clean and monitor the abundance of discharge. Comfortable underwear will allow you to check at any time if there is a discharge, remove it or rinse the nipple.
Strictly observe the hygiene of the mammary glands. Do not provoke excessive secretion by massaging while bathing. Wash your breasts gently with warm water, without soap or washcloths. Don’t dry with a hard towel. Enter an additional procedure for washing the nipples if the discharge is profuse. Do not let the plaque dry up on the nipples and stay there for a long time.
WHEN TO CONTACT A DOCTOR?
Breast leakage should not be confused with pathological manifestations. Pay attention to the nature of the discharge when symptoms appear. They should not be purulent, dark, bloody, and too plentiful.
The released liquid should not have a sharp and unpleasant odor. The breasts will normally be sensitive, without seals and external deformations. You should immediately consult a doctor if any of this is noticed.
What Not to Do
Do not analyze your future lactation with breast leakage. There are a lot of myths about colostrum and the period of its appearance. They don’t have any scientific basis. A woman may not observe a symptom of breast leakage, but then it is fine to breastfeed her baby. Do not jump to conclusions and do not make mistakes when a symptom appears.
Do not massage your breasts
It is forbidden to do breast massage to improve lactation and colostrum production. Blood and lymph flow may be affected. This will affect the internal structures of the mammary glands.
Lift and carry heavy things
Stop carrying weights from the first days of pregnancy. An increased load on the pectoral muscles can cause problems with milk production and lactation.
Take a hot shower, sauna, or bath
It is forbidden to apply heat to the mammary glands. This greatly expands the vessels and provokes blood flow. Discharge may increase.