Chances are you already know how important it is to check your breasts for lumps. You may even have a regular routine so you can be sure you check them monthly. But did you know that it’s important to continue these checks during pregnancy? If you haven’t checked your breasts before, now is a good time to start.
How to check your breasts
You should check your breasts every four to five weeks. You should expect your breasts to feel different each time during pregnancy, as your body prepares for motherhood. Experts advise checking your breasts in the shower, as the soap and water will allow your hands to glide smoothly over the breasts. You should lightly massage your breast using the flat of your hand, taking note of any lumps and bumps along the way. Be sure to massage the whole breast, including the nipple, right up to the armpit.
Remember, your whole body changes drastically during pregnancy, and your breasts are no exception. You are likely to notice a host of changes during these nine months, as your breasts prepare for breastfeeding.
What to look for
You should look out for any lumps, bumps, skin texture changes, skin dimpling and pain. Breast tenderness is common during pregnancy, but significant pain should be reported to your healthcare provider. Pregnancy hormones cause a number of breast changes, but these usually occur in both breasts. If you can feel lumps or bumps in just one breast, you should inform your healthcare provider.
Remember, most bumps and lumps turn out to be nothing, but it is always worth getting checked out. Your healthcare provider will perform a breast examination to investigate the breast changes you have noted. More than likely, you will go home feeling relieved. If your healthcare agrees that the lump is suspicious, an ultrasound, mammogram or biopsy may be performed. This will depend upon the location of the lump, your stage of pregnancy and other risk factors.
Around 1.5 percent of breast cancer sufferers are pregnant when diagnosed. Pregnancy can mask the symptoms of breast cancer, leading to later diagnosis. This can mean that the cancer is more advanced at the time of diagnosis. By regularly checking your breasts during pregnancy, you can increase your chances of detecting problems early.
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.