During pregnancy, your breasts will undergo considerable changes. In fact, one of the first symptoms of pregnancy for many women is breast tenderness.
Some women experience increased nipple sensitivity, while others feel increased sensation and heaviness in the entire breast.
During pregnancy, the most important thing you can do for your breasts is wear a good fitting, supportive bra.
If you have never been professionally fitted for a bra before, pregnancy is a good time to do so.
You need a breast that fits your rib cage snugly but not tightly, and cups that fully enclose your breast tissue without compressing it. Avoid underwire bras, as these can compress delicate tissue at the base of your breasts.
Do not use any special creams or lotions on your nipples, especially during the third trimester. Do not use soap on your nipples as this can cause dryness and cracking. Simply rinsing your nipples with warm water as you bathe and shower will be sufficient.
Sometimes you will find a dry, crusted substance on your nipples during the last weeks before delivery; this is colostrum which has leaked from your breasts as they prepare to produce milk for your baby. Just gently rinse the colostrum away.
During the last six weeks or so before delivery is a good time to purchase bras for breastfeeding. Again, someone trained in fitting nursing bras can be a big help in determining the right size to order. You want to support the breast without compression, which will inhibit milk production.
Avoid excessive nipple stimulation during your last trimester. Nipple stimulation can cause uterine contractions in some women, helpful if you are trying to jump start labor, but dangerous if you are trying to avoid preterm labor.