What Are Montgomery's Tubercles?

Montgomery's Tubercules - Breasts
Photo © ARR

Pregnancy changes a lot of things about your body. Your breasts are one area that do not escape the bodily changes. In fact, your breasts may be one of the first places that you notice changes. Montgomery's Tubercles are one such change that you may see in pregnancy.

Definition: These are small goose bump like raised areas on the areola of your breast. This is not an additional nipple and is not a problem for you in pregnancy, nor in breastfeeding.

This is considered a possible sign of pregnancy. These small bumps can be found in varying quantities from a few to up to thirty. The number of Montgomery's Tubercles may vary from breast to breast and even pregnancy to pregnancy.

These small glands are thought to be protective of the areola and help keep it healthy during pregnancy and lactation. They are modified sweat glands which serve the purpose of lubricating the areola during pregnancy and lactation. 

You should simply rinse the breasts with clear water and avoid soaps and oils which can irritate the great tissue, this is particularly true in breastfeeding. This is one of the many changes you may notice in the breasts during pregnancy and one that will be helpful at maintaining elasticity in breastfeeding. You may also hear them referred to as Montgomery's Glands. These are one in the same.

"I was really worried that I had some sort of tumors growing on my breast," recalls one frightened first time mother.

"Thankfully I showed my doctor, while I was in tears. He was very kind and explained that it was nothing harmful I was so glad to learn that not only was it normal but it wouldn't interfere with my breastfeeding plans."

Many women worry about them or try to pop them. This is not necessary and can be painful or may cause an infection if you try to pop them.

Simply leave them alone. If you are concerned about them, ask your doctor or midwife for more information.

Examples: Early in pregnancy I noticed small bumps on my nipples, my doctor told me that they were Montgomery's Tubercles.

Sources:

Doucet, Sébastien; Soussignan, Robert; Sagot, Paul; Schaal, Benoist. "The Secretion of Areolar (Montgomery's) Glands from Lactating Women Elicits Selective, Unconditional Responses in Neonates". In Hausberger, Martine. 2009. PLoS ONE 4 (10): e7579. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007579. PMC 2761488. PMID 19851461.

Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM. Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, 7th ed. 2011.

Mohrbacher, N. Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple. Hale Publishing. 2010.

Montgomery, William F. An exposition of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, the period of human gestation, and the signs of delivery. London: Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper. 1837.

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