The breasts are the 2 swellings at the front of a woman’s body.
Each breast consists of:
Fat, mammary glands and ducts inside the breast:
- mammary glands: small organs that produce breast-milk;
- ducts: small tubes that carry milk toward the nipple;
The nipple and the areola on the outside of the breast:
- nipple: small knob in the middle of the breast;
- areola: dark circle around the nipple.
Functions of the breasts
The breasts have 2 functions:
- A woman can breast-feed her baby with breast-milk.
- The nipples are very sensitive. Touching or caressing the nipples can give a woman sexual pleasure. If a woman is aroused, the nipples harden. The nipples can also harden for other reasons. For instance: if the woman feels cold.
Types of breasts
Every woman’s breasts are different. Breasts can be small or big, round or slightly oval. What they look like is not important for the way they function.
Breasts during pregnancy
During pregnancy the breasts prepare for producing breast-milk. They:
- grow bigger;
- become more sensitive and sometimes painful;
- may already leak a little breast-milk.
More information or help needed?
You can talk to a family doctor about almost every intimate issue. If necessary the family doctor can refer you to a specialised health professional. Find a family doctor in your neighbourhood:
Community health centre (wijkgezondheidscentrum)
You can visit a family doctor in a community health centre. Other care professionals such as nurses and social workers also work at community health centres. Care is provided free of charge. Find a community health centre in your neighbourhood:
In Belgium, you can make an appointment directly with the gynaecologist without a referral from your family doctor. However, your family doctor can help you find a gynaecologist.