Why do nipples get darker during pregnancy?

Ah pregnancy.  That time in your life when you control nothing about what is happening to your body.  Your hips widen to prepare for the baby’s arrival, your hair becomes fuller thanks to hormone changes, your skin stretches in places you didn’t even know existed, a line appears down the front of your belly, and your nipples get darker.

pregnancy belly,

You probably know that your breasts are going to get a bit fuller during pregnancy, but did you know that “the gals” can experience other changes as well? Your nipples might get larger, they might feel a bit more tender than usual and they might even start leaking colostrum before delivery. In addition, you may find that your nipples are looking a bit darker than usual. If you’re used to having pink areolas, this may come as a surprise. But it’s totally normal for nipples to get darker during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the pregnancy hormones that are present can cause nipples to get darker or have more pigmentation. Nipples are particularly sensitive to the pregnancy hormone, progesterone which causes the cells surrounding the nipple to produce melanin. This process is happening in order to prepare a mother’s body for breastfeeding and as a result, temporary changes in pigmentation are seen throughout pregnancy. Not only do nipples darken during pregnancy, but they may swell and become more sensitive than usual. It’s perfectly normal and part of the incredible process of preparing to nourish your infant.

About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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