Post-Pregnancy Mammograms

Post-pregnancy mammograms should follow a personalized schedule discussed with your doctor.

Breasts undergo major changes during pregnancy. Some women who are at risk of developing breast cancer may be concerned and wonder when they should get a mammogram to ensure they are in optimal health after having a baby. Read on to learn about post-pregnancy mammograms.

Average screenings

The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women below age 50 speak with their doctors to create an individual mammogram plan. This will take into account family history of the disease to assess how frequently the woman should be screened. Ladies older than 50 and under 74 should have a mammogram every two years.

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Abnormalities

When you are pregnant, your breasts will grow to host milk to nourish your newborn. Your breasts will feel different to the touch as they change to account for lactation. It’s a good idea to be familiar with how your breasts feel before you become pregnant. You can do this by performing self-breast exams to check for lumps and pain. Some women have dense breasts that are naturally ridden with lumps, making it more difficult to tell if there are abnormalities. If you are pregnant or breast feeding and feel that something is wrong with your breasts, like a new lump has formed or there is redness or soreness, contact your doctor immediately. It is possible the change is related to your pregnancy hormones or is a product of breast feeding, but it’s a good idea to get it checked out.


a woman having a mammogram
Talk with your doctor to create a mammogram plan based on genetics and history.

Mammogram safety

A mammogram is an X-ray that uses a low dose of electromagnetic waves to create images of the inner makeup of your breasts. Many new or expectant mothers wonder if this process will somehow poison or otherwise affect their breast milk. La Leche League noted that mammograms will not harm or in any way alter your breasts or breast milk, so they are safe to undergo while breastfeeding. It should be noted, though, that lactating breasts are denser than usual, which can make reading an X-ray from a mammogram more difficult than normal. Talk with the radiologist before this screening to learn if you should bring your baby and breast feed right before the screening. This may reduce the size of the breast tissue and provide a clearer image.

Mammogram preparation

Many providers recommend that women have a mammogram immediately following their period. Breasts tend to be the most tender and swollen during the week before menstruation, which can make the screening process more uncomfortable. If you have breast implants, share that information with the radiologist so he or she can plan accordingly. Also, avoid wearing a dress as this means removing all your clothes for the imaging. Pants or a skirt and shirt are a better combo, plus they’ll keep you from getting cold! Deodorant, antiperspirant and lotion can all show up on a mammogram, so avoid using such products until after your appointment.