Boobs, breasts, knockers, jugs, hooters, lady lumps--no matter what you call them pregnancy almost guarantees a change in their shape and size. But just as doctors insist every pregnancy is different, there is no standard expectation for how yours will look when you've got a bun in the oven. Still, you can most likely anticipate your pregnancy breasts will be bigger than they were before a plus sign popped up on that stick.
"The pregnancy hormones progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) cause an increase in blood volume, making breast tissue swell--possibly by as much as two cup sizes larger," says James E. Ferguson II, M.D., professor and department chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
But experts are quick to point out that there is no general rule of thumb when it comes to predicting how big yours will get. "It's really hard to say," says Sharon Phelan, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center School of Medicine. "The immediate enlargement typically occurs in the first three to four months, but it can vary from woman to woman." Those blessed with an especially large bosom to begin with might not see any changes or they could experience a significant increase, and the same goes for those who start out smaller than A-cups. "I've seen women with small breasts hoping to finally experience cleavage be disappointed during pregnancy," says Phelan. "While others have reported weight gain in their chests of up to two whole pounds--it really is unpredictable," she says.
"On average, it's safe for women to expect to go up at least one bra size over the course of the pregnancy," says Patrick Duff, M.D., an ob-gyn at the University of Florida, Gainesville. That gives you a perfectly good reason to head to the lingerie department and have fun picking out new bras.
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