In pregnancy the hormonal changes are responsible for the changes in the color of your skin. These hormones stimulate a temporary increase in the amount of melanin your body produces, which darkens the color of your nipples. Hormonal changes increase breast tissue production and fat storage too, which play a role in both breast and nipple changes.
It is normal for a woman’s nipples and areolas to become darker during pregnancy. Nipples often get darker due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. You should expect your nipples to get progressively darker throughout your pregnancy and be the darkest when the baby is born.
Why Do Nipples Get Darker When You’re Pregnant?
Increase in the amount of melanin production by the body
In pregnancy the hormonal changes are responsible for the changes in the color of your skin. These hormones stimulate a temporary increase in the amount of melanin your body produces. This is the naturally occurring substance that gives pigment to your hair, eyes and skin. This extra melanin can darken the color of your nipples, particularly in areas where there’s already more pigment, like your areolas, freckles and scars. Other areas can get darker too, like the skin around your genitals or parts of your skin that are often exposed to friction, like your armpits or inner thighs.
Increased breast tissue production, and fat storage
Hormonal changes also causes increased breast tissue production, and fat storage which play a role in both breast and nipple changes.
Scientists also believe that the darkening and enlarging of nipples are an evolutionary change that helps newborns locate the nipple for feeding.
Will they go back to normal?
For women who don’t choose to breastfeed, the color and size usually go back to normal fairly quickly because your body stops producing hormones. Breastfeeding moms will find that their nipples stay darker, longer, but begin to lighten once they stop. You should avoid using any anti-pigmentation creams as these can cause permanent nipple discoloration.
Is there anything that can minimize it?
As sun exposure can intensify these changes in pigment, staying out of the sun can help keep your skin from becoming darker.