It is generally safe to squeeze your breast during pregnancy as long as you do it gently, particularly to alleviate discomfort or stimulate milk production.
However, it’s recommended to avoid heavy squeezes during your early stages (anywhere before the 36th week).
This is because squeezing during these times might make your body start labor earlier than it should, which isn’t ideal.
It’s also better to wear a good bra that fits you well so that your breasts are supported and you don’t feel too much discomfort.
On the other hand, there are some advantages attached to this therapy. One benefit of gentle massaging or squeezing is that it can help stimulate milk production prior to childbirth.
This method can also help prevent discomfort such as engorgement from happening later on.
Despite its benefits, we recommend that you seek advice from a healthcare professional if you choose to start intentionally doing this to express colostrum.
Colostrum is the first form of milk you produce, and it usually start from the 12th to 16th week of pregnancy.
What are the some considerations on proper breast squeeze during pregnancy?
In as much as this procedure is beneficial, there are a couple of caveats to take notes;
Tenderness and Sensitivity:
Breasts tend to become more sensitive and tender during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
Some women may find breast squeezing uncomfortable or even painful. So it’s good to be gentle and pay attention to your body’s signals.
As mentioned earlier, squeezing your breasts during these delicate times is generally not considered bad, but we advise that you avoid until the 36th week onwards, as it might induce early labor.
It becomes important to apply gentle pressure and avoid causing pain or injury while massaging breasts to stimulate milk production or to relieve discomfort.
Pregnancy is a time when breast health is particularly important. Regular breast self-exams can help detect any changes or abnormalities.
If you notice any unusual lumps, changes in breast size or shape, or nipple discharge, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider promptly.
It’s important to remember that every woman’s body is different, and what might be suitable for one person might not be for another.
Pregnant women should chat their doctors if they have questions about this procedure.
When can I squeeze milk out of my breast during pregnancy?
Some women can start expressing milk (colostrum) as early as 12 to 16 weeks into their pregnancy.
However, it is generally advised not to intentionally express milk until the 36th week. This is because nipple stimulation, which occurs during milk expression, can potentially trigger contractions and labor.
But if you’re considering breastfeeding during your next pregnancy, the advice differs. Breastfeeding while pregnant is generally considered safe.
There may be trace amounts of hcG hormones in the milk, but these are not harmful to your breastfeeding child.
To add, some people go on to “tandem nurse,” which refers to breastfeeding both the new baby and the older child.
If there is any question you need clarification, go ahead and talk it out with your breastfeeding expert for the best advice to your particular situation and needs.
Potential benefits of breast squeezing during pregnancy
Although many pregnant women do not actively practice this, there are some potential benefits that may come from the process in moderation.
For those experiencing colostrum leakage, expressing it gently may provide relief. Colostrum, which is the first form of breast milk, is rich in nutrients and antibodies.
It is essential for a newborn’s early nutrition and immune system. Collecting it with guidance from a doctor may be useful for feeding the baby after birth, especially if there are any concerns about initial breastfeeding.
Reduces breast engorgement:
Doing this gently may help alleviate breast engorgement, maintain healthy blood flow and promote the drainage of excess fluids during pregnancy.
Engorgement occurs when the breasts become overly full, causing swelling and discomfort. It may also help you relax and alleviate minor soreness.
Prepares you for breastfeeding
When done properly and in consultation with a healthcare provider or lactation consultant, gentle breast stimulation might help you become more familiar with your breasts and prepare for breastfeeding after giving birth.
Help you bond better with your body:
Engaging in self-care practices, such as gentle breast squeezing, can be a way for pregnant individuals to connect with their changing bodies.
It may foster a positive body image and help women become more comfortable with the physical changes occurring while pregnant.
Gentle massage or squeezing can promote relaxation and reduce stress. Pregnancy often comes with its share of physical and emotional stressors, and self-care practices can contribute to an overall sense of well-being.
You are able to properly monitor and assess breast health:
Regular breast self-exams during pregnancy can help individuals become familiar with the normal changes in their breasts.
Squeezing the breasts during self-exams may aid in identifying any unusual lumps or changes that warrant medical attention.
It’s important to note that while gentle breast squeezing is generally considered safe, it’s very important to monitor body’s response and avoid any discomfort or pain.
Additionally, if there you’re already managing some medical conditions or at risk of preterm labor, chat your doctor before incorporating any new practices into your routine.
Alternatives to breast squeezing during pregnancy
- Gentle massage with moisturizer
- Breast exercises
- Warm compresses
- Wearing supportive bras
- Supportive sleep positioning
- Breast self exams
Colostrum is the first form of breast milk which usually begins to form between 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. However, some women may not notice it until later.
Generally, it is safe but be gentle, as breasts might be more sensitive or tender during this period. Avoid intense squeezing or pressure, and communicate your comfort levels with your partner or doctor.
Yes, but consider your comfort and sensitivity levels. Communicate with your him about what feels good and when to be gentle because breast tenderness varies throughout pregnancy.
It is generally advised not to intentionally express colostrum until the 36th week. This is because, just like all other forms of nipple stimulation, squeezing can potentially trigger contractions and labor. Consult your healthcare provider for advice on what’s best for you.
Yes, some mothers use gentle compression techniques while pumping to improve milk flow and increase the amount of milk expressed. Follow proper guidelines to avoid injury, pain, or damage to milk ducts.
Whether or not to squeeze your breast during pregnancy basically depends on your personal circumstances, comfort, and stage or trimester you find yourself.
The production of colostrum, or first milk, signifies the body’s preparation to nurse a newborn.
Some women might naturally leak this substance during these later stages, and think of expressing it early to relieve discomfort or prepare for breastfeeding.
However, it’s important to remember that expressing milk, especially before the 36th week, can cause contractions and potentially induce labor.
Therefore, it is generally advised not to squeeze your breasts intentionally during this time without a healthcare provider’s consent.
When it comes to playing with your breasts during pregnancy, for self-pleasuring reasons or with your partner, this is generally considered safe.
However, some women experience increased sensitivity in their breasts so gentle touch is recommended. Always communicate clearly about what feels comfortable and safe for you.
The most vital aspect to keep in mind is the individual nature of pregnancy. Talking to your doctor anytime you need to make such decisions is crucial.
This will ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby. Providing the body the right care and attention it needs during this challenging and beautiful phase is of the best thing to do.
National Institutes Of Health (Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation)