What to Know About Sagging Breasts After Pregnancy

It's normal (and expected) for your body to change post-pregnancy. Here's what experts want you to know about breast sagging after pregnancy.

Breastfeeding Positions
Photo: Lopolo/Shutterstock

Throughout the course of pregnancy, your body will change in ways you probably could not have imagined and in ways that you probably did. (Hello, new stomach shelf to rest snacks on!) But even after pregnancy your body can continue to change, and one of the most common changes people see is with newly-sagging breasts.

Every pregnant person starts out with a different body size and shape—breasts included—so the impact pregnancy has on breast sag will be different as well. Factors like genetics, your breast size before pregnancy, whether or not you nurse or pump breast milk, and even your age can impact how your breast tissue changes after birth. Some breasts may look unchanged, others may get bigger or smaller, and still others may sag in places they never did before.

There's no "right" or "wrong" way for your breasts to look after pregnancy. But if you're wondering what to expect, and if there's anything you can do to minimize breast changes like sagging, here's what the experts say.

Why Do Breasts Sag After Pregnancy?

Throughout pregnancy, your breasts may get bigger—as much as one cup size—as the result of estrogen enlarging your milk ducts and pregnancy weight gain. It's important to keep in mind that breastfeeding does not cause sagging breasts, but rather, it's due to the physical changes of your body during and after pregnancy.

But once milk production halts, the breasts shrink back down to their original size (or in some cases, smaller). However, the now stretched-out skin may not have the elasticity to shrink down to the smaller breast size. As the result of a higher ratio of skin to breast tissue, the breasts may sag, explains Constance M. Chen, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York.

Age and DNA also tend to be the determining factors when it comes to breast skin elasticity, Dr. Chen notes. “Some [people] naturally have more skin elasticity than others,” she says. “Younger women tend to have more skin elasticity than older women, but at the end of the day a lot depends on genetics.”

What Experts Say About Preventing Breast Sagging After Pregnancy

Sagging is a very normal and natural part of the breast changes that can occur with pregnancy, and there is nothing that you have to do to "fix" sagging breasts. Pregnancy can and does change the body—and those changes are nothing to be ashamed of.

Ultimately, the fact that many of the factors that affect how breasts change after pregnancy are out of your control means that prevention isn't necessarily in your control either. But if you're looking for some tips that may help minimize breast sag after pregnancy—and will help you be more comfortable while you weather post-pregnancy breast changes—here are a few expert-backed tips you can try on for size. (Along with a new bra, because odds are, your breasts will change in size too!)

Wear a supportive bra that fits you properly

“A good supportive bra can help minimize the pulling down of a heavy breast,” Dr. Chen says. While wearing a bra doesn't necessarily reduce the risk of breast sagging (and not wearing one doesn't cause sagging), wearing a supportive, well-fitting bra can help you feel more comfortable, especially if you have larger breasts, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Wearing a quality, well-fitting bra while you’re expecting and following your baby’s birth can support breast tissues and muscles, notes Heather Bartos M.D., FACOG, OB-GYN at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton in Denton, Texas. And the more often you can keep your breasts supported, the better. “I wore a nursing bra even at night,” Dr. Bartos shares.

Try targeted strength training or yoga

Once you have the go-ahead from a health care provider to hit the gym after giving birth, try incorporating workouts like yoga or strength training that strengthen your pectoral and back muscles, and specifically your latissimus dori muscles (aka lats), which are on the sides of your middle to lower back, advises Dr. Bartos.

While strength training won't change your breast tissue, strengthening the pecs that support the chest can provide the breasts with a bit of lift. Working the back muscles will also improve posture, which can help your breasts appear perkier.

“Practicing yoga will strengthen those pecs—and can induce weight loss which can sometimes make the fatty tissue of the breasts smaller—leaving the toned pectoral muscles holding up the smaller breasts,” adds Pamela Crane, a yoga teacher in Montclair, Virginia.

Crane recommends strengthening the pecs with poses like plank, side plank, and warrior 2. And for posture support, try chest-opening poses like supported fish, bow pose, and dancer.

Don’t underestimate the power of nutrition

You may have been focused on your nutrition throughout your pregnancy and after giving birth for the health of you and your baby, but as a bonus, eating a balanced, nutritious diet can also be a boon for your breasts’ appearance.

Mary Rosser, M.D., OB-GYN at ColumbiaDoctors and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, explains: “A nutritious diet and hydration will keep skin supple, helping to maintain and maybe improve the skin’s natural elasticity.”

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles