Should you know about pregnancy-related nipple leaks? Definitely, yes! A sudden nipple leak can catch you by surprise during pregnancy, but there’s no need to panic. Let’s delve into why this is common and what steps you can take to manage it.
Pregnancy can cause a wide variety of unwelcome physical changes, including but not limited to skin tags, acne, congestion, and hair growth. However, some women experience the unexpected problem of nipple discharge, which is the leakage of fluid from the breasts or chest. Though often discussed, this phenomenon actually occurs rather frequently. Keep reading to get some answers concerning this strange occurrence during pregnancy.
Why Do Pregnant Women Have Dripping Nipples?
To begin with, it’s not that unusual. While it’s not common, hormone imbalances are often to blame when it does occur. Patrick Duff, M.D., states, “During pregnancy, your body makes prolactin, which is a key hormone that makes milk.”
Colostrum, an early form of milk typically creamy white or yellow in color, will begin to fill your breasts as prolactin levels rise. Colostrum has antibodies that protect your newborn from infection because of its high protein content.
The placenta’s estrogen and progesterone are working hard to suppress your milk supply until after the baby is born. However, there are times when the hormones are out of whack. It’s like pressing the accelerator and the brakes simultaneously; occasionally the accelerator wins out.
How Soon Could It Occur?
Although most women don’t start producing colostrum until the 14th week of pregnancy, some women may start leaking earlier. Sharon Phelan, M.D., an emeritus professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque, emphasized that “seeing a few drops of liquid is normal,” even if many women never do.
Stimulating your nipples will usually cause you to leak. This is common during foreplay but can also occur during other activities where your nipples are rubbing against your clothes, such as a quick walk or a Zumba class. As your body prepares for birth, this likelihood increases in the later stages of pregnancy.
How Do I Prevent Leaking Nipples?
No. There’s little you can do about the leakage, but you can reduce the likelihood of embarrassing stains on your bra and clothing by wearing nursing pads under your bra.
Am I in Need of an Appointment with a Doctor?
If you notice significant leakage from one or both nipples or a thick discharge with blood, you should schedule a visit with your OB-GYN. Generally, these symptoms are not serious, but it’s best to have them checked out. However, they can also suggest “mammary duct ectasia, or a clogged milk duct,” which is readily repaired by your doctor, adds Dr. Duff. Usually, they are caused by the huge changes your milk ducts undergo as they prepare for lactation.