Pregnancies and breastfeeding are two important protective factors concerning breast cancer risk. Breast volume and breast volume changes might be a breast phenotype that could be monitored during pregnancy and breastfeeding without ionizing radiation or expensive equipment. The aim of the present study was to document changes in breast volume during pregnancy prospectively. In the prospective Clinical Gravidity Association Trial and Evaluation programme, pregnant women were followed up prospectively from gestational week 12 to birth. Three-dimensional breast surface imaging and subsequent volume assessments were performed. Factors influencing breast volume at the end of the pregnancy were assessed using linear regression models. Breast volumes averaged 420 ml at the start of pregnancy and 516 ml at the end of pregnancy. The first, second and third quartiles of the volume increase were 41, 95 and 135 ml, respectively. Breast size increased on average by 96 ml, regardless of the initial breast volume. Breast volume increases during pregnancy, but not all womens’ breasts respond to pregnancy in the same way. Breast volume changes during pregnancy are an interesting phenotype that can be easily assessed in further studies to examine breast cancer risk.
aDepartment of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-EMN
bInstitute of Diagnostic Radiology, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen
cDepartment of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck Campus, Lübeck, Germany
Correspondence to Peter A. Fasching, MD, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Erlangen University Hospital, Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Universitätsstrasse 21-23, 91054 Erlangen, Germany Tel: +49 9131 8533508; fax: +49 9131 853 3938; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received April 20, 2013
Accepted July 15, 2013