Ask Dr. Marla: Breast changes with pregnancy

By Dr. Marla Shapiro on May 31, 2010

Question:

If I breastfeed and my breasts get bigger, when I decide to stop will they sag or shrink back or will they stay that size?

Answer:

Breastfeeding often gets blamed for the changes that happen to breasts. Actually, as many of my consultants point out, it is pregnancy itself where the changes begin. The changes may in part be related to genetics, the innate elasticity of the skin and the weight gain during pregnancy. The changes that a woman’s breasts undergo with pregnancy and breastfeeding are extremely variable. All women experience an increase in size that lasts until the period of breastfeeding is complete. If a woman chooses not to breastfeed, the breasts will return to a smaller size more quickly. There are usually permanent changes in breast shape after pregnancy, but not all women will develop a saggy shape or stretch marks. Many women’s breasts shrink back to a shape that is very similar to their previous appearance. The one consistent change is that the breasts are usually smaller than before once the effects of pregnancy have resolved.

Breastfeeding and gradual weaning make it more likely that fat will be re-deposited in your breasts, which might help them regain more of their pre-pregnancy appearance. Usually by about six months after weaning, your breasts will have returned to more of their pre-pregnancy look. They also will feel more dense, as fatty tissue begins to fill them out again. I encourage all mothers to breastfeed their infants.


Published June 2010


By Dr. Marla Shapiro| May 31, 2010

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