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Women's Healthcare Q3 2023

Breast awareness during and after pregnancy

iStock / Getty Images Plus / ajijchan

Emma Forsyth

Health Information Manager, CoppaFeel! 

In our years of talking to young people about their breasts and chests, we noticed that pregnancy and breastfeeding were seen by many as a barrier to breast awareness.


At CoppaFeel!, we know how important it is for everyone to get to know their bodies and to talk to their doctor if they notice any unusual changes.

Pregnancy breasts and changes

Pregnancy — like puberty, menstruation and menopause — is a natural condition but often comes with breast changes. The difficulty knowing the difference between these natural changes and signs and symptoms of breast cancer is perhaps the reason why pregnant women with breast cancer are doubly likely to be diagnosed at stage 4.1

At CoppaFeel!, we are committed to addressing this health inequity by improving breast awareness during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

We want to move away from dismissing
breast conditions related to pregnancy
as ‘just pregnancy boobs’.

What breast changes are normal?

Hormonal breast changes such as sensitivity, leaking nipples and increased size are all natural in pregnancy. Despite the initial adjustment to these fluctuations, checking is the best way to get used to them and identify any potential problems. Breast conditions, such as mastitis or blocked ducts, should be properly diagnosed by a doctor. If in doubt, it is important that breast cancer is ruled out.

An ultrasound scan is a safe and effective way to do this. We want to move away from dismissing breast conditions related to pregnancy as ‘just pregnancy boobs’ and improve education about breast health for pregnant and breastfeeding people.

Breast awareness guidance

Our breast awareness message during pregnancy and breastfeeding remains the same, and our breast awareness tips are as follows:

  • Look and feel: Some symptoms of breast cancer are visible.
  • All breast tissue: Breast tissue goes up to the collarbone and under the armpits.
  • Check roughly once a month.
  • Get to know your normal: Breast awareness is not about looking for cancer, it’s about getting to know what is normal for you.

CoppaFeel! has created an information booklet about breast awareness during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

For more information about this and all our other resources, go to coppafeel.org 


[1] Reference: Public Health England National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, 2018.

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