Breasts grow sporadically at different times in the life of a woman. At some times the growth is rapid, while at other times the growth is so slow that it cannot be observed. However, breasts do keep growing right from the fetal stage till a much later stage in the life of the woman. . . In order to better understand the process of breast development, scientists have divided the entire stage of development into five stages.
The development journeys from the newborn infant stage until adulthood. The development explained is not just in the size of the breasts; but also in their functionality and shape. . . The initial stage of development begins at infancy itself.
During this stage the breasts are flat and there is no major distinction between the breasts of male and female infants. But on minute observation, there is a thin milk line on the breasts below the nipples. There could even be a little discharge from this line for a few days after birth.
This is the only indication before puberty that the breasts will become functional later on in life. As the woman advances in years, it is this milk line which will develop into full-grown breasts. . . The milk line is actually an external termination point of the milk ducts that lie beneath it. The milk line could be present in both male and female babies at birth.
But in males, this milk line disappears later, whereas in females due to the presence of the female secondary sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone, the milk line continues to develop. In some men, the milk line may not disappear at birth due to hormonal imbalances. This is what causes the condition of men having breasts, known medically as gynecomastia. .
. In the period between infancy and puberty, the female breasts show very little development. They are visible only as mounds of flesh around the nipples.
This is actually undeveloped breast tissue. When puberty sets in, the tissues begin their development. This is seen as protuberances around nipples. The areolas and nipples appear raised. Milk ducts also begin to develop at this stage, but they will remain nonfunctional until the first pregnancy occurs.
. . Puberty occurs at different ages in different women. It could be as early as 8 years, or could be delayed in some women up to the age of 13 years. All through puberty the breasts increase in size and can be made out from the outside. However, the contours and the shapeliness of the adult breasts will not be present at this stage.
. . The fourth major changes occur just when the woman is stepping out of her puberty and entering into adulthood.
This could happen in the late teens and they are also called as the post-pubertal changes. During this period, the breasts gain in their firmness and the nipples and the areolas become more pronounced. This indicates that the woman's breasts have become ready for sexual intercourse and pregnancy. .
. But the final changes will be the ones that occur all through the first pregnancy and during lactation when the child is born. During the pregnancy due to hormonal triggers, the breasts will become larger in proportion with the increasing tummy. In the later days of the pregnancy, the milk glands will become fully developed and some milk may also start oozing out of the nipples when a few days are left for the baby to come. When the baby is born, the suckling produces definitive changes on the nipples and the areolas which last a lifetime. .
. It can be said that women who do not become pregnant will never have fully-developed breasts. Hence, pregnancy and lactation could be very important factors for the full development of breasts.
. . Natural breast development occurs due to hormonal changes that take place in the body at every stage in their lives. But some women try to enhance the shapes of their breasts by several methods. Herbal supplements are much in vogue today. Today, there are many herbs being used such as a kawa kawa, ginkgo biloba, ashwagandha, pueriria mirifica, saw palmetto, fennel, etc.
which can produce changes in the anatomy of the body. These could increase the hormonal concentrations of estrogen and progesterone, which could increase the size of the breasts. Massage and exercises of the chest are also known to bring about some development of the breasts. The simple circular massage technique is being used by women today in order to improve the circulation of the blood and improve their shapes. .
. Even the simple practice of wearing a good bra is important in determining what the final breast shape will turn out to be. But it is important to first determine what size of bra would be best for the woman. Too tight bras could stifle the breasts, while loose ones would give them a sagging shape. .
. But, just as all organs of the body are susceptible to age, breasts are too. Hence, when the woman reaches her old age, several changes take place in the breasts which are indicative of the breasts becoming aged with the woman. Breasts would lose all their functionality and sag.
At this stage, the sexual feeling of the breasts is also lost to some extent or the other. .
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