Why Do Nipples Get Darker During Pregnancy?

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Pregnancy is probably the most wonderful time of a woman’s life – especially the ones who have been waiting for a long time for this miracle to occur in their bodies. This is a time when you start discovering new things about yourself and encounter brand new experiences, all of which begin to transform the life that you’ve lived so far. As a matter of fact, life as you knew it is never going to come back again, because a part of you – a new life that you have created, will soon be walking this earth. And nothing can be more intense and, at times, harrying than this.

But apart from the emotional and psychological changes that you are preparing yourself for, there are also going to be more prominent physical changes that might catch you off guard sometimes. Apart from the most obvious ones, which would be your tummy giving way to the cute and gorgeous baby bump, and the expected stretch marks (which can be managed by the way), there might also be this change, which is kind of unexpected – darker nipples (1).

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Sounds a little weird, right? Why should nipples get darker? Well, here’s why.

Your body is going through some major hormonal changes during this time, and there can be these little side effects (for the lack of a better word, but definitely not a bad thing at all) in some parts of your body. One of the things that get altered in your body is the production of melanin in your skin. This is all because of hormonal changes due to that cute little human growing inside of you.

Studies prove that this condition, called ‘chloasma,’ affects 50-70% of pregnant women (2). What happens then is that parts of the body that are naturally darker than the rest of the body – like the nipples, elbows, lips, etc. tend to get darker, as the pigmentation is more prominent in those parts. So, during your pregnancy, if you wake up one fine day and discover that your pink nipples have now become a couple of shades darker, don’t freak out. It is perfectly normal.

Apart from your nipples, even your genital area might show signs of darkening due to the same reason – the extra production of melanin. Other areas, apart from the ones mentioned above, that may be affected are your armpits and inner thighs. This is mostly because these parts go through a lot of friction as you walk or move your arms, and it is easier for these parts to darken.

You can expect the darkening to reduce once you have delivered your baby. However, in some rare cases, the nipples and areolas remain a tad darker than they were before the hormones struck. But this is absolutely okay, and you have nothing to worry about.

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However, during this time, it is advisable to be a little more careful about caring for your skin since your body will be more susceptible to the sun’s damage (3). Always opt for sunscreen when stepping out in the sun, especially if a trip to the beach is a part of your pregnancy itinerary. Try and choose clothes that cover arms and legs to protect your skin from the harsh sun (and some serious darkening). Also, choose lotions and creams that are milder and possess as few chemicals in them as possible, so that your skin is not subject to unnecessary drying. Dry skin may lead to irritation and inflammation, which will further contribute to your skin’s darkening.

Don’t fret too much about the changes that you are going through. Instead, focus on the positivity that this time of your life is bringing to you. Because there’s nothing that a little bit of makeup cannot fix, right?

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