Dark Areolas During Pregnancy
Many women see during pregnancy that the areolas (skin around the nipples) and the nipples change into a darker color than before the pregnancy. This pregnancy symptom of areolas color change is very common and happens usually between 8-12 weeks, nearly to all pregnant women. In this short review, the dark nipples and areolas symptom will be explained.
Skin Pigment Change During Pregnancy
While the first pregnancy month, there are many body changes preparing the body for the new baby and the first month of breastfeeding. The changes are caused by the hormonal change in the body, that is taking charge of all the other pregnancy signs you probably felt already.
One of these pregnancy body changes is the extra production of the melanin in the skin cells. The melanin in the body, is the amino-acid producing the colors for the cells, the melanin gives the eyes their color, the skin and hair their unique pigment.
Because during pregnancy there is an excessive production of melanin, most women have skin color side effects like the pregnancy-mask (called also Melasma) which is dark skin patches over the forehead and cheeks, and more red or brown skin freckles.
Change Of Nipple Color During Pregnancy
The melanin is also causing the change in the nipple and areolas skin tone during the pregnancy. Most women will see that the areolas get darker, and the nipple gets darker too. The dark color on the breasts will stay all the pregnancy month, and unlike the other skin discoloration side effects, the areolas darkening will be permanent.
The Melasma (pregnancy mask) usually fades after the pregnancy is over when the hormones levels go back to normal, and so does the melanin production.
This does not happen for the areola darkening. In many cases even when the dark nipple color does ‘fade’ away, it usually never fades back to the color they had been before the pregnancies.
This might worry many as the breast enlargement during pregnancy usually comes with back pains and nipple tenderness that causes more breast pain agony. Some of these pains and discomfort can be easily treated with a supportive pregnancy bra.
Having 2-3 supporting pregnancy bras or sleeping bras may help the breast changes pain, and the nipple tenderness discomforts, take a look at these Supporting Pregnancy Bras to see your best match.
Why Is The Nipple Darkening Permanent
Unlike the rest of the pregnancy symptoms which are side effects of hyper hormone levels, the darkening of the nipples during pregnancy has a biological reason. The body wants the nipples to be darker and wants them to stay dark for a few month after the birth of the baby, as this is part of the DNA connected to the survival of human existence.
The women’s breasts skin tone is usually light with less melanin production, (even lighter than the rest of the body) and when the areolas and the nipples become dark, they are like to two glowing dark circles on the breasts.
This is exactly how nature wants the pregnant womens breasts to be, with two dark spots over fair background skin (see picture) because the new born baby’s sight is good for only a few inches! The baby vision in the first weeks is un focused, they see clearly for about eight to 15 inches / 20 to 30.5 centimeters.
At these first few weeks, the baby sight can track only high-contrast items (like chess boards) so the dark areolas and nipples are part of the baby’s survival kit, helping it to find the nipples for feeding.
As far as the body concern is, the new mom is going to be breastfeeding for a few month, so the dark areolas color is not planned to fade off, though it may ‘glow’ less a few month after the labor as the baby’s sight gets better and they do not need the high contrast dark nipples to find the breast for feeding.
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